Thoughts on 2019 USNWR Law School Rankings

We've been fielding a lot of questions about the latest USNWR law school rankings. Here are some ways you can clarify your own thinking without getting too sucked into the madness:

1. Out in the real world, it doesn’t matter even the tiniest bit whether a school that was #14 last year is #15 this year (to cite just one example). Or if a school moves up or down six slots in one year (one-year movements are meaningless). And if a ranked school accidentally misreports its data and then immediately corrects it, USNWR will punish that school and list it as unranked (as happened to Pepperdine this year). As a future lawyer, you need to do your due diligence independently of what USNWR says.

2. Also keep in mind that most law schools in the United States are regional (much as they like to market themselves as if they were all national). It doesn't really matter if regional School A on the West Coast is ranked higher than regional School B on the East Coast. If you want to be on the East Coast (hypothetically), look at relative stature of schools within the East Coast, otherwise you're comparing apples to oranges.

Bottom line: Don't let the rankings mess with your thinking or your true priorities. I see it happen all the time. Like clockwork. UNSWR has to monetize its rankings every year (rankings are a huge cash cow), and it can't do that if it can't show movement every year. You know what you want out of law school better than the editors of USNWR.

I have no stake in any rankings. Is there a better ranking? IMO that would be the ATL rankings. Outputs/results/employment outcomes arguably should matter much more than LSAT/GPA inputs or size of endowment and spending per student.