March 13, 2012
U.S. News law school rankings for 2013
Posted by Gordon Smith

The latest U.S. News law school rankings are out. I received them yesterday morning -- somehow I got on the advance notice list -- but I restrained myself from blogging until today. Some observations:

  • The employment numbers look bleak across the board (only 92% of Yale grads employed 9 months after graduation?), but especially as you descend in the rankings.
  • One of the most important factors in the rankings is expenditures per student, but US News doesn't show that number.
  • I expected more slippage in the student quality numbers among the Top 50 law schools, but with the huge nationwide decline in applications this year, I think it will be hard for many schools to hold their numbers in next year's rankings.
  • Stanford and Harvard switched spots, but no one is going to catch Yale, unless the formula changes.
  • The T-14 was restored this year, with Cornell replacing Georgetown as the last of the bunch and Texas falling back to #16 (tied with Vandy).
  • Two schools in the Top 50 (ASU and Washington) made giant leaps up the rankings.
  • Illinois fell, as expected, after the issue relating to the reporting of admissions numbers.
  • The most intriguing regional pairing (besides BYU-Utah, of course) is ASU and Arizona, which have not only switched places over the past few years, but are now separated by 17 spots! Looking at the reported numbers, it looks like employment numbers are ASU's big advantage.
  • Another regional pairing that I noticed because of my own employment history is Lewis & Clark (58) and Oregon (82) ... 24 spots! Those schools used to be much closer, with Oregon ranked ahead of L&C for many years, but employment is also a separator in this instance.
  • If you think the Peer Assessment Score is an important measure of quality, North Carolina stands out as underranked, and the big climbers (ASU and Washington) look overranked. No school outside the Top 50 had a score of 3.0 or above.

Those are just a few casual observations. What did you notice?

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