Tipping the Scales

Schools With The Most Competitive Students

by John A. Byrne

studentsBy their very nature, lawyers tend to be combative. They love an antagonistic argument almost as much as they love winning. So sharp elbows and in-you-face personalities pretty much come with the law school territory.

As one gadfly so aptly put it, lawyers are “those who earn a living by the sweat of their brow-beating.”

That said, it may be surprising that the most competitive, cutthroat students aren’t to be found at the likes of Yale, Harvard or UVA Law Schools. They tend to come from schools that routinely rank lower, where the importance of grades and landing a job loom higher.

If you’re to believe the Princeton Review, the most competitive law students in the land study in Waco, Texas, at Baylor University. No wonder, it was a Baylor Law School team that brought home the 2012 Tournament of Champions from the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.

‘THE COMPETITION BECAME EXTREMELY CUTTHROAT’

What stirs the competitive juices at a school like Baylor? For one thing, a grading curve. As one second-year law student told the Review, “From Day One, the professors and administration told us that we were all in competition with one another due to the bell curve grading. It was heavily emphasized, day after day. The competition became extremely cutthroat.”

Each year, Princeton Review compiles a series of top ten lists of ABA-approved law schools ranked according to different criteria. The Review compiles these rankings based on its survey of more than 18,000 law students at 168 ABA-approved law schools, done at least every other year. The lists are published in the 2013 version of Princeton Review’s guidebook to The Best 168 Law Schools.

For its list of the schools with the most competitive students, Princeton Review used the answers to four different questions on its surveys: 1) The degree of competitiveness among law students at their school, 2) The number of hours they spend studying outside of class each day, 3) The number of hours they think their fellow law students spend studying outside of class daily, and 4) the average number of hours they sleep each night.

You can easily quarrel with this list of criteria, but it’s clear and obvious. Of course, this is all subjective and based on the opinions of recent or current students at each school. Their answers have as much to do with their own expectations and mindsets than anything else. Still, the list is worth a discussion–at the very least.

Schools With The Most Competitive Students

 

Rank & School
  1. Baylor University
  2. Whittier College
  3. Brigham Young University
  4. Mercer University
  5. Regent University
  6. Nova Southeastern University
  7. Marquette University
  8. Widener University
  9. Pepperdine University
10. Suffolk University

 Source: Princeton Review 2013 guide to The Best 168 Law Schools

  • stevesmith1234

    Law needs to re-invent itself. Only two years is really needed for law school itself since the third year is largely a waste of time. But another two years is needed for student to actually learn how to do anything. Law should look at the programs in the medical profession in terms of producing practitioners that an actually perform a worthwhile service. .

Partner Sites: C-Change Media | Poets & Quants | Poets & Quants for Execs