Does Law School Location Really Matter?

Location matters when it comes to choosing a law school. Many times, a location’s value hinges on factors you might expect.

Daniel Waldman, a contributor at U.S. News & World Report, recently discussed a number of factors where location matters and where it doesn’t.

“In general, it’s best to think about this situation as a sliding scale where the rank of your school is on one side and the difficulty of finding work elsewhere in the country is on the other,” Waldman writes. “Typically, the higher your school is ranked, the easier it will be for you to find employment anywhere in the country.”

Rankings Trumps Location

At the end of the day, ranking trumps location. Robert Seaney, a contributor at Most Strongly Supported, echoes this same statement. However, Seaney also explains how both location and ranking play into effect when it comes to looking for jobs.

“In short, where you go to law school does impact where you practice,” Seaney writes. “Small, local schools often have small, local networks. However, the impact of your location is (roughly) inversely related to the rank of your school — anything within the T14 will have some hefty national draw.”

At the University of Chicago Law School, according to U Chicago data, more than 60% of the Class of 2016 found work outside the Midwest – further highlighting the importance of ranking.

At DePaul University College of Law, ranked number 128 by U.S. News, almost all 2016 graduates stayed to work in Illinois.

Holding a Connection to Location Matters

When it comes to job interviews, it could be valuable to demonstrate your connection to a location.

“A general connection to the area in which you’re seeking employment can signal to a potential employer that you’re there to stay,” Waldman writes. “Incoming junior associates generally don’t make a lot of money for firms; training, incoming class events, writing off some of the associates’ time and lower hourly rates all make a first-year associate more of an investment than an immediate moneymaker.”

Having a connection to a city can prove to employers that you’re there for the long run and aren’t simply just testing the waters.

Sources: U.S. News, Blue Print LSAT