What Law School Rankings Don't Say About Costly Choices
As the amount of corporate legal work has grown, the large elite law firms have bid up the starting salaries of entry-level associates in an effort to recruit a sufficient number of students with top grade point averages (GPAs) from the elite law schools. Because demand for these top graduates has far outstripped supply, the hunt for the best students has, gradually, encompassed a much broader array of law schools. But outside of a small number of national law schools (we put this number at fewer than 20), only the highest-ranked students at a broad swath of regional law schools can hope for access to these high-paying jobs.
With demand for elite graduates outstripping supply, many chose to recruit deeper into the classes at elite law schools. For the vast majority of students who are not admitted to top-tier national law schools, this leads to a simple conclusion: Slavishly following the U.S. News rankings will not significantly increase one's large-firm job prospects.
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