The Best Law Schools Of 2016
Another week, another law school ranking. These days, it seems like everyone is plunging into the river of rankings. StartClass has taken big data sets to rank everything from K-12 boarding schools to salaries by city. This week, they took data from the American Bar Association’s Standard 509 Reports, submitted by every ABA accredited school, to name a list of the top law schools in the United States.
Of course, the U.S. News ranking has been around since 1989 and has had the same 14 schools in the top 14 every year. Those 14 schools have been dubbed in law school communities the “Tier 14” or T14 and are seemingly the sure-fire way to instant prestige and credibility in the legal profession. However, the U.S. News ranking methodology puts a large weight on reputation surveys of those in the legal profession and law school deans. Many believe that emphasis, and an emphasis on LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs, perpetuates the cycle.
Meantime, other media outlets and big data companies have started to look at different, arguably more relevant, data points to rank law schools. StartClass is an example of just that. The methodology is vague in terms of how much each data point gets weighted, but the data SmartClass looked at to create their SmartRanking system was admissions selectivity, bar exam performance, employment rate, financial aid, student-faculty ration, and attrition.
Overall, the SmartClass rankings weren’t too different from U.S. News rankings—especially at the top. Topping the SmartClass list was Stanford, followed by Yale and Harvard. The biggest difference in the top 10 was NYU School of Law being sixth in the most recent U.S. News rankings and 10th in the SmartClass rankings.
The two T14 schools to fall out of the SmartClass rankings were Northwestern and Georgetown, which finished 15th and 17th, respectively, in the SmartClass rankings. UCLA and the University of Texas were both able to sneak into the top 14 at 12th and 13th, respectively. While schools like the University of Minnesota, the University of Iowa, and George Washington University were included the the U.S. News top 25, they were left on the SmartClass version.
Instead, Boston College climbed from 34th in U.S. News to 24th in SmartClass, William & Mary jumped from 29th (U.S. News) to 22nd (SmartClass), and Boston U. leaped from 26th (U.S. News) to 19th (SmartClass). See below for the SmartClass Top 25 and how those schools compare to the most recent U.S. News top 25.
To see the full rankings, go here.
DON’T MISS: RANKINGS MATTER MORE THAN COST OF A J.D.
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