Another day, another ranking. Princeton Review has released its annual law school ranking, which we hereby dub the Everyone Gets a Trophy Awards. Each year, the list is divided into 11 categories, and each one seems to be filled with results even more asinine than the last.
While the results here leave much to be desired, surely people will be interested in seeing which schools are doing the best in terms of their graduates’ ability to get jobs (not necessarily as lawyers, mind you, but jobs, period). Thankfully, there’s a ranking for that.
But can we live in a world where Yale Law isn’t number one — or on the list at all? Let’s find out…
Princeton Review’s “Best Career Prospects” results were based on a survey of 18,500 students as well as data reported by law school administrators, including median starting salaries, the percentage of students employed nine months after graduation, and the percentage of students who pass the bar on their first try.
We won’t make you wait any longer. Here are the top 10 law schools on the “Best Career Prospects” list:
1. Columbia Law School (same rank as last year)
2. University of Chicago Law School (same rank as last year)
3. University of Pennsylvania Law School (ranked #7 last year)
4. Harvard Law School (ranked #6 last year)
5. NYU Law School (same rank as last year)
6. UC Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall) (ranked #3 last year)
7. Northwestern University School of Law (ranked #4 last year)
8. Georgetown University Law Center (new to the top 10)
9. George Washington University Law School (new to the top 10)
10. USC Gould School of Law (new to the top 10)
Columbia is ranked higher than Harvard. A law school outside of the top 20 in the U.S. News rankings — GW Law, at #21 — is in the top 10 here for career prospects. The prestige whores reading this must all be dying inside.
Michigan (ranked #8 last year; OMG, maybe Cooley really is infiltrating every school in Michigan), Stanford (ranked #9 last year), and UVA (ranked #10 last year) were all booted from the list, despite the fact that more than 95 percent of graduates at each school were employed nine months after graduation — and between 82.5 and 94.5 percent of those were long-term, full-time jobs as lawyers. These elite law schools were kicked out of the top 10 ranking by others that managed to place between 69.7 and 81 percent of graduates in full-time positions as lawyers, and at GW Law, more than 20 percent of those jobs were school-funded. We’re starting to think Princeton Review relied too heavily on students’ feedback.
Students were asked how much their schools encouraged practical experience, what opportunities to participate in externships, internships, and clerkships were available, and how prepared they felt to practice law after graduation. Unfortunately, it looks like people who felt like they’d be good lawyers after graduation were more important than the people who were actually able to become good lawyers after graduation.
We’re going to politely suggest that Princeton Review get its act together and report rankings that actually reflect reality in a world where employment statistics — you know, the ones that show which graduates are working as lawyers versus baristas — are very important to those considering enrolling in law school.
So, did your alma mater make the cut? Have at it in the comments, folks.