Schools With The Most Competitive Students

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.
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

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.