As I wrote last year, the most remarkable aspect of this year’s Top 10 is how little it has changed since last year. In fact, spots 1-7 are identical to last year. Last year Michigan and UVA were tied for #8. This year the #8 spot is Michigan’s alone and UVA is tied for #9 with UC Berkeley (#12 in 2018’s ranking, but #8 in 2017’s). Again these are minor changes.
Due to a 10th place tie last year between Duke and Northwestern, these two fine programs were in “the top 10” last year. This year they’re tied for #11. So they missed being in the top 10 this year. We’ll see what happens next year.
Top 10 Law Schools
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If you are using the ranking in any way as a measure of education quality, which we really discourage, at least understand what’s being measured. Then compare your findings to what’s important to you in a law school and think again about relying on the rankings for anything but data.
U.S. News & World Report ranked 195 law schools fully accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) based on the weighted average of the following measures of quality. Data were collected in fall 2017 and early 2018. Here’s a breakdown of the scoring (more on methodology here):
• Quality assessment score (weighted by 0.40)
• Peer assessment score (0.25)
• Assessment score by lawyers and judges (0.15)
• Selectivity (0.25)
• Median LSAT and GRE scores (0.25)
• Median undergrad GPA score (0.10)
• Acceptance rate score (0.025)
• Placement success score (0.20)
• Bar passage score (0.02)
• Faculty resources score (0.15)
• Expenditures per student score (0.015)
• Student-faculty ratio score (0.03)
• Library resources score (0.0075) made up of instruction, library and supporting services (0.0975) and all other items, including financial aid (0.015)
• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Law School Personal Statement, a free guide
• Law School Selectivity Index [Can I Get Into My Dream School?]
• Optimize Your Graduate School Application: Grades, Scores, Essays, Resume, Activity History, and More, a podcast episode