How Lawyers Rank Law Schools

by Jeff Schmitt on

2014 Overall Ranking

2015 Overall  Ranking

School

2014 Assessment Score – Lawyers and Judges

2015 Assessment Score – Lawyers and Judges

2015 Assessment Score Ranking

2015 Assessment Score Ranking Difference

58

54

University of Connecticut

2.9

2.7

93

39

48

45

Florida State University

2.7

2.9

81

36

48

58

University of Houston

3.0

2.8

88

30

54

64

Georgia State University

2.9

2.7

93

29

64

72

University of New Mexico

2.8

2.7

93

21

86

72

University of Tulsa

2.8

2.7

93

21

21

23

University of Alabama

3.7

3.3

42

19

68

83

University of Nevada-Las Vegas

2.6

2.5

102

19

53

51

University of Richmond

3.2

3.0

68

17

68

72

Illinois Institute of Technology (Kent)

3.0

2.8

88

16

76

72

Louisiana State University

3.3

2.8

88

16

33

29

University of Georgia

3.6

3.3

42

13

41

46

University of Maryland

3.1

3.1

58

12

29

31

Arizona State University

3.5

3.3

42

11

41

49

University of Utah

3.4

3.1

58

9

61

72

University of Tennessee

3.1

2.9

81

9

44

43

University of Colorado-Boulder

3.3

3.2

51

8

28

24

University of Washington

3.9

3.6

31

7

64

51

Penn State University

3.2

3.1

58

7

56

61

Temple University

3.0

3.0

68

7

68

61

University of Arkansas

3.1

3.0

68

7

36

31

Ohio State University

3.5

3.5

37

6

44

36

Brigham Young University

3.5

3.3

42

6

NA

87

Wayne State University

NA

2.7

93

6

Source: Tipping the Scales analysis based on U.S. News & World Report 2015 law school ranking

Not all of these programs received low marks. Ohio State, for example, has averaged a 3.5 median score from lawyers and judges for two consecutive years. However, this score is still lower than similarly-ranked schools like Wake Forest or the University of North Carolina (and lower than schools below them like California-Hastings). Similarly, one ‘overperformer’, Florida State University, actually notched a higher score from the U.S. News sample than the previous year.

Overall,most schools labeled as overperformers saw large decreases in their median assessment score, most notably the University of Washington, (-0.3), the University of Utah (-0.3), Louisiana State University (-0.5), and the University of Alabama (-0.4). However, the University of Alabama and the University of Washington have jumped 15 and 10 spots respectively over the past 5 years. What’s more, these schools maintained 86% and 79% placement rates, higher than some top 20 schools ranked above them. In Louisiana State’s defense, they rose 4 spots in the 2015 rankings, along with increasing their placement rate to 83.9%. In short, employers apparently like their graduates more than the U.S. News survey sample did.

The biggest overperformers were the University of Connecticut, Florida State University, Georgia State University, and the University of Houston. Each of these schools ranked in the bottom half of the U.S. News’ top 100 according to lawyers and judges. Collectively, they rank between 45-65 overall (and likely much higher without the survey’s 15% weight holding them down).

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  • Order_of_the_Coitus

    Avoid law school like the plague!!! That is, unless $200,000+ of non-dischargeable student loan debt, no job, and living in your parents’ basement is your idea of fun. Law school is a scam.

    • Billunc84

      your name says it all.

  • T

    No Fordham? Odd.

    • Jeff-Schmitt

      Hi, T. Thanks for writing. Good question. I didn’t include Fordham as its overall rank (#36) was nearly identical to its survey rank (#37). Fordham received a 3.5 score from legal professionals, down from a 3.6 score it received in last year’s U.S. News survey.

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