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:
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.