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The ever-influential US News and World Report’s ranking of top US law schools are out!

Here is a full list of the 2021 rankings compared to the 2020 rankings:

Law School 2021 +/- 2020
Yale University 1 1
Stanford Law 2 2
Harvard Law 3 3
UChicago Law School 4 4
Columbia Law School 4 -1 5
NYU School of Law 6 6
University of Pennsylvania 7 7
University of Virginia 8 8
Michigan Law 9 9
Northwestern Law 9 -1 10
Berkeley Law 9 -1 10
Duke Law 12 +2 10
Cornell Law 13 13
Georgetown Law 14 14
UCLA School of Law 15 15
University of Texas-Austin 16 16
Washington University at St. Louis 17 -1 18
University of Southern California (Gould) 18 +1 17
Vanderbilt University 18 18
Boston University Law 20 -3 23
University of Minnesota Law School 21 +1 20
Notre Dame Law School 22 +1 21
George Washington University Law School 23 +1 22
Emory University School of Law 24 -2 26
ASU College of Law 24 -3 27
University of Florida Levin College of Law 24 -7 31
UC Irvine School of Law 27 +4 23
Iowa Law 27 27
University of North Carolina School of Law 27 -7 34
Fordham University School of Law 27 -12 39
University of Alabama Law School 31 +6 25
Boston College Law 31 +4 27
University of Georgia Law School 31 +4 27
Washington and Lee University 31 -3 34
University of Illinois Law School 31 -8 39
College of William and Mary (Marshall-​Wythe) 31 -8 39
Brigham Young University (Clark) 37 -2 39
UC Davis School of Law 38 +7 31
Indiana University Maurer School of Law 38 +4 34
Ohio State University (Moritz) 38 +4 34
University of Wisconsin—​Madison 38 +4 34
Wake Forest University 42 +11 31
University of Washington 42 -2 44
Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University 42 -3 45
University of Utah (Quinney) 45 -2 47
Colorado Law 46 +1 45
Univ. of Arizona Law 47 +8 39
Pepperdine University 47 -4 51
Maryland Carey Law 47 -5 52
Baylor Law School 50 +2 48
FSU College of Law 50 +2 48
UConn Law 50 -2 52
Cardozo School of Law 53 +1 52
Tulane University 54 +2 52
University of Richmond (Williams) 54 +2 52
Temple University (Beasley) 56 +8 48
Southern Methodist University (Dedman) 56 +4 52
University of Houston Law Center 56 -3 59
University of California (Hastings) 59 -3 62
Pennsylvania State University 60 -4 64
Texas A&M University 60 -23 83
UNLV Boyd School of Law 62 +4 58
Seton Hall University 62 +3 59
Loyola Marymount Law School 62 62
Villanova University 62 -9 71
Northeastern University School of Law 67 +3 64
Mizzou Law 67 +3 64
Miami Law 67 67
University of Tennessee—​Knoxville 70 +11 59
KU School of Law 70 +3 67
UK College of Law 70 -1 71
Loyola University Chicago School of Law 70 -7 77
DU Strum College of Law 74 +7 67
St. John’s University 74 -3 77
Georgia State College of Law 76 +9 67
Case Western Reserve University 76 +5 71
University of Oklahoma 76 +5 71
AU Washington College of Law 76 -1 77
Nebraska Law 76 -1 77
University of Pittsburgh 76 -1 77
Brooklyn Law School 83 +12 71
Cincinnati Law 83 83
University of San Diego 83 -3 86
Chicago-Kent College of Law 83 -4 87
Wayne State University 83 -8 91
University of Oregon 88 +5 83
University of New Hampshire School of Law 88 +1 87
St. Louis University 90 90
Florida International Law School 90 -1 91
University of Arkansas—​Fayetteville 90 -1 91
Michigan State University College of Law 93 +2 91
Drexel University Kline School of Law 93 -7 100
Lewis & Clark Law School 93 -11 104
University of Hawaii at Manoa Law School (Richardson) 96 +5 91
University of South Carolina 96 +5 91
LSU Law School 96 -4 100
University of New Mexico School of Law 99 +8 91
SUNY Buffalo Law School 99 -5 104
Louisville Law 99 -9 108
Marquette Law School 102 +11 91
Hofstra Law 102 +2 100
CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law 102 -24 126
Stetson University 105 +1 104
Drake Law School 105 -17 122
Santa Clara University 107 +3 104
CUNY School of Law 107 -1 108
Howard University School of Law 107 -1 108
Washburn University 107 -25 132
University of Tulsa 111 +24 87
Syracuse University College of Law 111 +20 91
West Virginia University 111 +11 100
Catholic Law 111 +3 108
University of Mississippi School of Law 111 +3 108
Texas Tech University 111 -6 117
Chapman University School of Law 111 -21 132
Albany Law School 118 +3 115
Gonzaga Law 118 +1 117
University of St. Thomas 118 +1 117
DePaul University College of Law 118 -14 132
Indiana University McKinney School of Law 122 +14 108
University of Montana Law School 122 +7 115
Quinnipiac University 122 -4 126
University of Maine School of Law 122 -4 126
University of Baltimore Law 126 126
Loyola University New Orleans 126 -12 138
Mercer Law School 129 +12 117
Duquesne Law 129 +7 122
Seattle University 129 +7 122
Belmont Law 129 -9 138
UMKC School of Law 133 +25 108
Creighton School of Law 133 +16 117
University of Wyoming 133 +1 132
Pace University 136 +14 122
University of Toledo 136 +10 126
University of Idaho Law School 136 +10 126
Suffolk University Law School 136 -7 143
UIC John Marshall Law School 140 -11 151
Vermont Law School 141 +5 136
University of Memphis 141 +3 138
University of South Dakota 141 +3 138
University of Akron Law 141 -2 143
Dayton Law School 141 -10 151
Willamette University (Collins) 141 -10 151
Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law 151 +15 136
University of Arkansas—​Little Rock (Bowen) 151 +8 143
Appalachian School of Law 151 151
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School 151 151
Ave Maria School of Law 151 151
Barry University Law 151 151
California Western School of Law 151 151
Campbell Law School 151 151
Capital Law School 151 151
Charleston School of Law 151 151
Elon Law 151 151
Faulkner Law 151 151
FAMU Law School 151 151
Florida Coastal School of Law 151 151
Golden Gate University 151 151
Inter American University 151 151
Liberty University School of Law 151 151
Lincoln Memorial Duncan School of Law 151 151
Pacific McGeorge School of Law 151 151
Mississippi College School of Law 151 151
Mitchell Hamline School of Law 151 151
New England Law | Boston 151 151
New York Law School 151 151
North Carolina Central University 151 151
Northern Illinois University College of Law 151 151
Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law 151 151
Nova Southeastern Law School 151 151
Oklahoma City University 151 151
Pontifical Catholic (Puerto Rico) 151 151
Regent University School of Law 151 151
Roger Williams University School of Law 151 151
Rutgers Law School 151 151
Samford University (Cumberland) 151 151
South Texas College of Law 151 151
Southern Illinois University Carbondale 151 151
Southern University Law Center 151 151
Southwestern Law School 151 151
St. Mary’s University 151 151
St. Thomas University School of Law 151 151
Thurgood Marshall School of Law 151 151
Penn State 151 151
Touro College 151 151
Detroit Mercy Law 151 151
University of Massachusetts Law School 151 151
University of North Dakota School of Law 151 151
UNT Dallas 151 151
University of Puerto Rico School of Law 151 151
University of San Francisco 151 151
UDC David A. Clarke School of Law 151 151
Western New England University 151 151
Western State College of Law at Argosy University 151 151
Widener University (Commonwealth) 151 151
Widener University Delaware 151 151

Here are our answers to some FAQs about the Best Law Schools Rankings for those trying to sort out what this all means.

What do the USNWR rankings measure?

The bulk of the weight (40%) in these rankings comes from “peer-assessment scores,” evaluations from professors, judges, firm hiring partners, and other eminent members of the legal field. These peer-assessment scores are a relatively good measure of a school’s prestige and the perception of the quality of its graduates.

The next most significant component is the school’s selectivity (25%), as measured predominately by incoming students’ median LSAT and GPA scores. A tiny bit of this part of ranking comes from a school’s acceptance rate, although this has been deemphasized, perhaps because it is easy for schools to game. Measuring median LSAT and GPA scores is a good proxy for determining which schools can attract the most desirable applicants.

The next part (20%) is placement success, which measures a school’s ability to place students into desirable full-time legal positions. Luckily, more data has become available on this for the USNWR to measure, and rankings changes in recent years likely reflect that. In addition to job placement numbers, a small portion of placement success is determined by the school’s bar passage rates.

Faculty Resources (weighted at 15%) includes data such as how much a school spends per student and that school’s student-to-faculty ratio. Many have been critical of these criteria for helping to drive the rising cost of legal education.

Despite criticisms, the USNWR rankings do a reasonably good job of measuring the broader perception in the legal world regarding the relative prestige of law schools. Given the importance of prestige in this profession, it is kind of a big deal. All things being equal, schools that rank higher on this list tend to provide better opportunities overall.

But How Much Do The Rankings Really Matter?

A lot, frankly, but there are limitations. Closely-ranked schools tend not to be significantly different in terms of objective measures, so small changes in ranking year-to-year don’t necessarily tell you anything about the underlying quality of a school.

It is also worth noting that the further you get outside of the T14, schools have more of a regional reputation than a national one, so it gets harder to compare schools. Peer assessment scores, in particular, might tell us less and less about schools as you move down the rankings ladder. Whereas there is a huge difference between Yale and Georgetown, there may not be, for example, too much of a difference between the quality of a school ranked 65 and one ranked 80.

What is the T14?

The Top 14 Law Schools (commonly known as the T14) are the fourteen schools, each with a solid national reputation, that have historically held the top fourteen spots in nearly every year since the US News began making these rankings.

While Georgetown Law was edged out of the T14 last year, it regained its position as the historical gatekeeper of the T14. While there are small shifts within the T14 from year to year, s