Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Thursday, March 27, 2008

U.S. News 2009 Law School Rankings Are Out!

The U.S. News and World Reports 2009 Law School Rankings are available here. This years free version provides a bit more detail than previous versions. Specifically, the number of students and the law school tutition is listed which enable limited comparisions. There is also a search function.

Flawed as they are, reality is that everyone goes buy them. So, if your deciding on which law school to attend, you should look at them. They are not everything. There is also not much difference from a school ranked 56th or 58th, but there may be a difference between a school ranked 58 and school ranked 12th.

Students should also look at the other ratings that are out there. However, as I have said many times, the most important thing a student should do is to carefully go over the school catalog. Does the school offer the classes the student is interested in? How is the location? What about scholarships and job placement rates? Does one school have a higher bar passage rate every year? The student also should visit the school, kick the tires and try to get a "feel" where he or she will feel most comfortable. 

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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I agree that the US News rankings are controversial. As a 3L at Albany
Law, I think that my school, along with NYLS and St. John's, are all

Specifically, I believe that US News weighs LSAT scores and
undergraduate GPA's incorrectly. Law schools should be ranked on their
ability to produce good graduates who pass the bar and get desirable
jobs. A "Top 14" such as Harvard or Yale is ranked high because of the
students' high incoming LSAT scores and GPA's, and the students get good
jobs and pass the bar because they are naturally smart; it does not
necessarily have anything to do with the merits of the school itself.
With regard to St. John's and Albany especially, their incoming classes
have mediocre scores and GPA's, but excellent bar passage and good

In addition, lower-ranked schools can be good for the scholarship money
they offer. I pay a little under $21,000 a year to attend Albany Law,
but would probably pay at least $15,000 to $16,000 more to go to a Tier
2 in the New York City, where I hope to practice.

The Leiter rankings are probably the most accurate. They do not weigh
the wrong factors as US News does, and are not as strongly biased
toward's the ranker's school, as Cooley's are.

I think a system that truly ranked law schools themselves, instead of
the students, would rank schools with low LSAT scores and GPA's higher,
and would emphasize bar passage rate more than US News does.

Posted by: 3L Student | Mar 28, 2008 7:22:12 PM

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