Most people attend law school to obtain jobs as lawyers (Not butchers or bakers, or candlestick makers.)

If law school was just a cool place to chill out for a few years without building specific job skills, they’d call it “college.” Jobs are important, and we think that law schools should be competing to place students in the best jobs, not the best libraries. And given the cost of obtaining legal education, we want to know which law schools put you in jobs that pay you money, instead of jobs the law school pays for. With that in mind we present our inaugural ATL Top 50 Law School Rankings.

So launched Above the Law’s Top 50 Law School Rankings.

And if I were the editor-in-chief of US News & World Reports (USNWR) law school rankings, I would wave the white flag of defeat and resign my position forthwith. (Of course, they won’t do that, but here you have yet another example of the capability of entrenched incumbents to assume the future is predestined to look like the past, and to prefer denial to reality.)

What’s so great about ATL’s law school rankings, and why should we care?

Two words: Prestige vs. results.

USNWR focuses on prestige. 40% of their ranking weight comes from what they call “quality assessment,” which is merely one grandiose accumulation of votes by lawyers and others about schools they like. Surprise: The prestige scorecard is grossly skewed by the sheer throw-weight of alumni numbers, in many cases. By alumni number skew, I simply mean that each individual vote is counted equally, so schools with bigger class sizes and bigger alumni pools get more votes if everyone simply votes for their alma mater. I would, wouldn’t you?

What makes up most of the rest of the USNWR ranking? A combination of median LSAT score, which are correlated with nothing meaningful, so far as we can tell, and raw undergrad GPA, valuing a 3.5 at Princeton less than a 3.6 at Boise State—and yes, we welcome the PC police emails on this score.

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