Third-Tier Law Schools

You are so perfect, you make going to law school a good decision!

– A romantic line taken from a love note sent from one law student to another at a lower-tier law school.

The new U.S. News law school rankings are due out in March. And according to rankings guru Bob Morse, the publication is considering giving numerical rankings to the third-tier law schools.

This would be a big change. For those unfamiliar with the law school rankings (and if you are unfamiliar with the rankings, you must have ended up here looking for information on a Steven Seagal movie), let’s review. U.S. News currently ranks law schools from #1 to #100. After the first 100, U.S. News drops numerical rankings and groups the remaining schools into a “third tier” and a “fourth tier.” These schools are listed in alphabetical order within each tier.

Why? Well, for one thing, it becomes kind of silly to try to make a meaningful distinction between the 120th law school and the 121st. Doing it this way also benefits lower-ranked second-tier law schools. It arguably makes DePaul Law (ranked #98) look significantly better than all of the law schools in the third tier.

But do these distinctions make sense? The U.S. News people are examining that issue…

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