Paul L. Caron
Dean




Friday, October 16, 2009

2010 Princeton Review Law School Rankings: Best (and Worst) Career Preparation

Princeton Review Last week, I blogged the lists of the Top 10 law schools in eleven categories posted on Princeton Review's web site in connection with its publication of the 2010 edition of Best 172 Law Schools (with the University of Cincinnati College of Law on the cover).  The rankings are the result of Princeton Review's survey of 18,000 students at the 172 law schools, along with school statistics provided by administrators.

I have extracted from the individual profiles of the 172 law schools all of the available data to rank the schools in six categories. I will report each day on one of the ranking categories.

Career Rating: How well the law school prepares its students for a successful career in law, on a scale of 60 to 99. The rating incorporates school-reported data and the average responses of law students at the school to a few questions on our law student survey. We ask law schools for the average starting salaries of graduating students, the percentage of graduating students who find employment after graduation, and the percentage of students who pass the bar exam the first time they take it. We ask students about how much the law program encourages practical experience; the opportunities for externships, internships, and clerkships; and how prepared to practice law they feel after graduating.

Here are the law schools with the highest and lowest career ratings (an asterisk indicates that the school's administrators did not supply the Princeton Review with the requested statistical information):

School

Score

School

Score

1

Michigan 

99

142

Akron

70

Northwestern

99

Arkansas-Fayetteville

70

NYU

99

Campbell

70

4

Boston Univ.

98

District of Columbia

70

Chicago

98

Nova

70

Stanford

98

Texas Wesleyan

70

7

Boston College

97

Utah

70

Pennsylvania

97

Wake Forest

70

Vanderbilt

97

Whittier

70

10

Geo. Washington

96

151

Oklahoma City

69

Georgetown

96

Touro

69

Texas

96

153

Florida State

68

13

Fordham

95

Hamline

68

Harvard

95

155

South Carolina

67

UCLA

95

Valparaiso

67

16

Columbia

94

157

Missouri-Columbia

66

Notre Dame

94

St. Thomas (Miami)

66

Virginia

94

159

Regent

65

19

Cardozo

93

Washburn

65

Cornell

93

161

Ohio Northern

64

Duke

93

South Dakota

64

USC

93

163

La Verne

63

23

Emory

92

Rutgers-Newark

63

UC-Berkeley

92

165

Idaho

62

Yale

92

Wyoming

62

167

Appalachian

61

Arkansas-Little Rock

61

Thomas Cooley

61

170

Phoenix*

60

Southern*

60

Charleston

n/a

Unfortunately, the Princeton Review did not release the response rate per school, so it is impossible to determine how the rankings are affected by each school's representation among the respondents.

For prior years' rankings, see:

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2009/10/2010-.html

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Comments

How is it that a school that has won far more moot court championships than any other law school in the country (South Texas College of Law) is not mentioned in the top 25 for career preparation? The "career" we are talking about is not creating privilege logs or mining through loads of documents, but preparing briefs and making arguments in court.

Posted by: Linn Brewer | Oct 21, 2009 7:28:43 PM

As a 2L who has worked with students from many different schools during clerkships I would have to agree with I Hire, generally speaking. I have never worked with a Yale student personally, but I have seen excellent practical skills from students at 3rd and 4th tier schools, while students from upper-echelon schools have struggled adjusting to 'real-life' work situations. I would also note that the list has immediate credibility with me, based on its very low ranking of a certain school above. I won't name the school, but I attended it for my 1L year before transferring, and will note that I transferred because I was not being well prepared for practice and because I was receiving no help whatsoever from the career services office.

Try to remember that a lot more goes into a law school than history and name recognition. Just because the building is covered in ivy doesn't mean you will be a successful attorney if you attend.

Posted by: Colin | Oct 21, 2009 9:28:13 AM

Well, as a practicing attorney in a position to hire newly minted associates, I can tell you that, while 23 may be a bit low, it isn't that far off for Yale grads. In my experience, they do hit the ground woefully unprepared for the practical work that is the practice of law at the junior level.

They are, more often than not, outperformed by their Fordham counterparts. And, from my experient, they have an inherent sense of value that far exceeds the value they bring to clients that pay hundreds of dollars for an hour of their time.

The prior poster's knee jerk reaction to seeing the schools that are traditionally perceived as the best ranked otherwise is precisely why current rankings are hopelessly flawed. His/Her/Its preconceived notion about the perception of Yale grads without meaningful and prolonged experience with them speaks volumes, and exposes the echo chamber...

Posted by: I Hire | Oct 16, 2009 3:10:51 PM

I find this list to be absolutely worthless with Yale in the 23rd position and schools like Fordham, Cardozo, BC, etc. above it.

Posted by: Robert | Oct 16, 2009 10:58:22 AM