This is the fourth in a series of posts looking at how law schools in specific markets stack up based on the results of our ATL Insider Survey. As we’ve often noted, very few law schools are truly national institutions. Typically, the majority of graduates don’t stray too far from their alma maters, so the strongest network will be local, for local jobs. It’s to your advantage to go to school where you want to practice, sometimes even more so than going to a higher-ranked school.

In recent weeks, we’ve looked at our survey results pertaining to Chicago, Boston, and New York-area law schools. We examined how current law students rate their schools in terms of academics, career counseling, financial aid advising, practical/clinical training, and social life.

Today, we turn to our broadest geographic region yet: the South (the Carolinas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, and Louisiana). Read on to see how schools in the region compare….

Keep in mind that the comparisons below are based solely on the responses to our ATL Insider Survey, which aggregates the subjective views of the respondents. In other words, the ratings have nothing to do with LSAT scores, GPAs, or any of the other typical statistical indicators. Only schools for which we have sufficient survey responses will appear below.

Congratulations to the University of Virginia — reports from Charlottesville are close to uniformly glowing. Obligatory collar-popping reference! Check out the ratings (on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 4) below:

Quality of Faculty and Academic Instruction

1. University of Virginia (3.80)
2. Vanderbilt (3.79)
3. University of North Carolina (3.67)
4. Duke (3.58)
5. Wake Forest (3.56)
6. University of Georgia (3.50)
7. George Mason (3.46)
7. University of Florida (3.46)
9. University of Richmond (3.45)
10. Emory (3.43)
11. University of Alabama (3.33)
12. Tulane (3.31)
13. University of Miami (3.16)
14. University of Tennessee (3.14)
15. University of South Carolina (3.10)

Practical and Clinical Training:

1. University of Tennessee (3.57)
2. University of Florida (3.46)
3. Wake Forest (3.33)
4. Duke (3.30)
5. Emory (3.32)
6. University of Virginia (3.23)
7. University of Richmond (3.18)
8. George Mason (3.15)
8. Tulane (3.15)
10. Vanderbilt (3.07)
11. University of Georgia (3.00)
11. University of Miami (3.00)
13. University of North Carolina (2.93)
14. University of Alabama (2.89)
15. University of South Carolina (2.20)

Financial Aid Advising

1. University of Florida (3.33)
2. University of Virginia (3.27)
3. University of Tennessee (3.14)
4. Duke (3.13)
5. Vanderbilt (3.12)
6. University of North Carolina (3.07)
7. Tulane (2.83)
8. University of Georgia (2.75)
9. University of Miami (2.69)
10. Emory (2.68)
11. Wake Forest (2.63)
12. University of South Carolina (2.57)
13. University of Alabama (2.56)
14. George Mason (2.27)
15. University of Richmond (2.20)

Career Counseling and Job Search Help

1. University of Virginia (3.59)
2. University of Tennessee (3.29)
3. George Mason (3.23)
4. University of North Carolina (3.20)
5. University of Florida (3.15)
6. Vanderbilt (3.07)
7. Duke (2.92)
8. University of Richmond (2.73)
9. University of Miami (2.47)
10. Tulane (2.46)
11. Emory (2.33)
12. Wake Forest (2.22)
13. University of Georgia (2.14)
14. University of Alabama (2.11)
15. University of South Carolina (1.80)

Social Life

1. University of Florida (3.77)
2. Vanderbilt (3.71)
3. University of Virginia (3.63)
4. Tulane (3.62)
5. University of South Carolina (3.50)
6. University of North Carolina (3.47)
7. University of Tennessee (3.43)
8. Duke (3.41)
9. University of Miami (3.26)
10. University of Alabama (3.22)
11. Emory (3.19)
12. University of Richmond (3.18)
13. University of Georgia (3.14)
14. Wake Forest (2.89)
15. George Mason (2.69)

Overall Rating

1. University of Virginia (3.50)
2. University of Florida (3.43)
3. Vanderbilt (3.35)
4. University of Tennessee (3.31)
5. University of North Carolina (3.27)
5. Duke (3.27)
7. Tulane (3.07)
8. Emory (2.99)
9. George Mason (2.96)
10. University of Richmond (2.95)
11. Wake Forest (2.93)
12. University of Miami (2.92)
13. University of Georgia (2.91)
14. University of Alabama (2.82)
15. University of South Carolina (2.63)

The comments from current students at UVA paint quite the happy picture:

  • UVa is simply a dream place to attend law school.
  • It is simply the perfect combination between strong academics and a pleasant environment.
  • It’s always weird to hear about how miserable my friends at other schools are, because life’s pretty good at UVA. It’s still a lot of work but the social and academic atmosphere is really great. They aren’t kidding with those quality of life rankings. Career Services has been really helpful, too.
  • Law school doesn’t have to suck. If you can get in at UVA, then you should go to UVA.
  • Non-competitive/non-cutthroat atmosphere. Professors are brilliant and incredibly accessible.

Is there something in the water there? This is just a representative sampling of comments, which were nearly unanimously positive. Good on you, Cavs. Your peer students at other schools must envy you.

(By the way, if you haven’t taken the ATL Insider Survey yet, please take a few minutes and do so here.)


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