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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Note to future law students: as you start thinking about which law schools you like....

Don't rely too heavily on the U.S. News rankings.  Here are some stories highlighting how those rankings can be gamed:  see here and here.

Although we aren't fans of any ranking system that implies real differences among schools that are basically equivalent, we do think that you should pay attention to three factors:

1.  Even though placement percentages can be gamed, you should still care not only about whether you can get a job after graduation, but where that school tends to place its graduates.  See here for some sobering information.

2.  It's hard to get a law job if you can't pass the bar.  Pay attention to a school's bar passage rate.

3.  Not too long after you get your J.D., you'll have to start repaying any loans that you've taken out.  Realize that the higher your debt load, the fewer job choices you may have--and realize that not all law grads get high-paying jobs.  See here. (And virtually all loans are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy:  see here.)

So, as you're sorting out those schools to which you plan to apply, pay attention to data points that will matter to you.  How fewer than 700 people rate your school, based on returning a survey, shouldn't be the top reason (see here).