You’re not going to believe this, but according to the National Jurist, the best law school for “standard of living” is not in the Northeast. I know, I’m as shocked as you that schools in the mostly cold, dreary, overcrowded, hyper-competitive, super-expensive Northeast don’t rank more highly when it comes to their standards for law school life.

In all seriousness, I don’t begrudge University of Texas Law its victory in the lifestyle rankings (gavel bang: The Careerist). I have a couple of good friends who live in Austin and two things are clear: there’s is some serious, drop dead, it’d be worth having to drive a Lexus, talent in and around UT. And Austin is to Texas as The Hanging Gardens were to the rest of the Babylonian desert.

But there are a couple of top standard-of-living schools that seem a bit undeserving….

Here are the top 20 schools, ranked by standard of living of their graduates:

1 University of Texas
2 University of Georgia
3 Vanderbilt University
4 University of Virginia
5 Northwestern University
6 University of Chicago
7 University of North Carolina
8 University of Michigan
9 Washington University in St. Louis
10 Duke University
11 Southern Methodist University
12 Emory University
13 University of Notre Dame
14 Stanford University
15 Washington and Lee University
16 Yale University
17 Harvard University
18 University of California–Berkeley
19 Boston University
20 University of Pennsylvania

And here’s how National Jurist came up with their list:

To determine standard of living, The National Jurist used median starting salaries, average debt payments, estimated federal and state taxes and cost of living adjustments for the regions where graduates were employed.

A few thoughts, in no particular order:

  • Any list that says Harvard Law is in the top 20 in terms of standard of living is flawed. There are people in North Korean prisons who enjoy a higher quality of life than some kids and graduates of HLS, regardless of how the money shakes out.
  • The only people who actually want to live in Chicago are Oprah and Rahm Emanuel.
  • I’d love to meet the person who got into Georgia and Yale and went to Georgia because they figured their standard of living would be hurt by going to the best law school in the country. Because if that person actually exists, he or she would probably be my hero.

I actually think this is a pretty good list. It would be even better if the National Jurist could add some “quality” of life data (like hours billed or something) when they’re looking at “standard of living.”

Readers, what do you think of the schools on this list?

Best law schools for standard of living [National Jurist]
Lifestyle Law Schools–University of Texas or NYU? [The Careerist]


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