There are several pertinent factors to consider when deciding on a law school, . These days, an increasingly important one is how good the school is at placing its graduates in jobs. And rankings services are picking up on this.
Earlier this month, the Princeton Review released it’s ranking of the top 173 law schools (just ignore the fact there are technically 205 American Bar Association-accredited law schools). Princeton Review’s ranking differs from others in that it keeps categories separate. For example, instead of combining categories like school acceptance rates, best classroom experience, and best professors into one composite ranking, Princeton Review produces individual ones.
And so, if you want to see which schools have the best professors and which are the toughest to be admitted to, check out all of the rankings here. Here, we’ll focus on the category of “Best Career Prospects” as it’s probably the most important category right now.
The big change is that the Princeton Review changed its methodology to only include students in positions requiring bar passage and excluded university jobs. Meaning, for the first time in the rankings, “employed” graduates were defined as those working off-campus in jobs requiring their J.D. and a successful bar exam.
The Princeton Review surveyed graduates and combined law school reported data on median starting salaries, the percentage of students in the type of jobs described above, and the percentage of students who pass the bar on the first try. According to that data, no other school is better at career prospects than the University of Pennsylvania’s Law School.
To be sure, the change in methodology exposed some winners and losers. Northwestern University’s School of Law plummeted from the number one spot last year to eighth this year. UC-Berkeley’s School of Law also fell from second to seventh.
According to reporting from Above the Law, only 81.4% of Northwestern’s graduates were in full-time, bar passage-required jobs off campus. Nine graduates were employed by the school and 25 were in “J.D. Advantage Jobs”—both of which do not count in the new methodology. UC-Berkeley had similar results. Although 92.3% of graduates were employed in bar passage-required jobs, 20 of its graduates were employed by the school.
Meanwhile, New York University’s School of Law jumped from fifth to second. Stanford’s Law School was also able to climb into the rankings for the first time and snag fourth. Georgetown University’s Law Center also snuck into the rankings for the first time at 10th.
Here are the 2016 Best Law Schools For Career Prospects (last year’s ranking in parentheses):
- University of Pennsylvania Law School (4th)
- New York University School of Law (5th)
- University of Chicago Law School (3rd)
- Stanford University School of Law (unranked)
- Columbia University School of Law (6th)
- Harvard University Law School (7th)
- UC-Berkeley School of Law (2nd)
- Northwestern University School of Law (1st)
- University of Virginia School of Law (8th)
- Georgetown University Law Center (unranked)