The Best Law Schools for Networking and Getting Jobs
What’s the main point of going to law school? To develop your argumentative skills? To become a better logical and critical thinker? To learn to write better? To get a job? People go to law school for myriad reasons. But just in case you are going in order to get a job, it might be helpful to check out some recent research from GraduatePrograms.com.
The online graduate school guide surveyed more than 10,000 former and current law students with one goal: To find out which schools in the U.S. offer the best networking opportunities. Participants rated their schools on a 1 to 10 scale (10 being the strongest), on the faculty, peer, and alumni networks available to them during and after law school. The scores were then averaged and ranked in hopes of finding the best schools for networking opportunities.
The top school was not Yale, Columbia, Harvard, or even Stanford. The school with the best networking opportunities, according to GraduatePrograms.com, is the University of Florida, ranked 47th by U.S. News, with an average of 9.9. Yale followed with an average of 9.87 and Stanford was next with 9.83. Rounding out the top five were the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University with averages of 9.5 and 9.42, respectively.
Perhaps unexpectedly (and to the detriment of the validity of the survey), the Tier 14 (schools consistently ranked in the top 14 in most rankings) did not hold all of the top spots. For instance, the University of Houston (ranked 59th) snuck into seventh with an average of 9.25 – one ahead of Harvard. What’s more, Harvard (average 9.21) was followed closely by the University of Southern California (9.2), the University of Colorado (9.14), and Florida State University (9.12), respectively.
To find Columbia University, you have to go all the way down to 19th place. Perhaps the result most in question, though, is the No. 22 spot given to Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, with an average of 8.72. Thomas Jefferson isn’t even ranked by U.S. News, which ranks 150 schools. That places the school known for piling on debt and abysmal job placement numbers directly ahead of the University of North Carolina and the University of Texas.
Most in the law school world would agree Thomas Jefferson should never finish ahead of North Carolina and Texas in any ranking. Yet, there it is. The students and alumni must really like each other.
Perhaps more egregious, the University of Pennsylvania, which had a 96% job placement rate for the class of 2014, was snubbed from the top 25 on this list. Is there any justice in this world?
The complete GraduatePrograms.com rankings for law schools with the best networking:
|School||Score||U.S. News Rank|
|University of Florida||9.90||47 (tie)|
|Stanford University||9.83||2 (tie)|
|University of Notre Dame||9.50||22 (tie)|
|University of California-Berkeley||9.28||8 (tie)|
|University of Houston||9.25||59 (tie)|
|Harvard University||9.21||2 (tie)|
|University of Southern California||9.20||20 (tie)|
|University of Colorado-Boulder||9.14||40|
|Florida State University||9.12||50|
|Boston College||9.10||34 (tie)|
|University of Chicago||9.09||4 (tie)|
|New York University||9.08||6|
|University of Michigan-Ann Arbor||9.06||11|
|Wake Forest University||9.00||47 (tie)|
|Washington and Lee University||8.93||42 (tie)|
|Duke University||8.91||8 (tie)|
|Columbia University||8.90||4 (tie)|
|University of Virginia||8.87||8 (tie)|
|Southern Methodist University||8.83||46 (tie)|
|Thomas Jefferson School of Law||8.72||Not Ranked|
|University of North Carolina||8.70||34 (tie)|
|University of Texas-Austin||8.50||15|
|Rutgers University at Newark||8.45||87 (tie)|