William D. Henderson is an associate professor at Indiana University School of Law — Bloomington and Andrew P. Morriss is the H. Ross and Helen Workman Professor of Law and Business at University of Illinois College of Law. They have also just published a study of law school graduate income, debt, and job opportunity at different law schools and considered the impact of ranking on that outcome. It is a fascinating, albeit somewhat dense, article that I recommend to those of you applying to law school, particularly if you are not aiming for the top 25 schools. Here are a few excerpts:
- "For the vast majority of students who are not admitted to top-tier national law schools, these figures lead to a simple conclusion: Slavishly following the U.S. News rankings will not significantly increase one’s large-firm job prospects. And the excess debt that students incur is likely to undermine their career options."
- "By focusing on price rather than rankings, they will have the financial freedom to pursue jobs that will build valuable professional skills and mentoring relationships or leave the law altogether, without debt, to pursue other life ambitions."
- "We don’t rank; neither should prospective students. Within regional markets, many schools will have similar outcome profiles. The question to ask is whether marginally better employment outcomes — for example, 12 percent large-firm employment versus 6 percent — is worth the additional law school debt."