All law school rankings are flawed. At least to the extent that they purport to equate the quality of the educational experience of a law school to a specific number, that is.
That aside, law school rankings are popular, and they can also be informative. So here's what we've collected and analyzed for you to use:
USNEWS Rankings. USNEWS has, by far, the most popular and most discussed law school rankings. Many have critiqued their methodologies and you can find those critiques elsewhere on the internet. To the extent they are are useful, however, we have tried to make them even more so by analyzing 3 years worth of them and also averaging them, so you could see trends in the USNEWS rankings as well as possible outlier years. When our 3-year average results in a fraction, results are rounded to the nearest whole number.
Leiter Rankings. Professor Brian Leiter teaches at The University of Chicago Law School and his website LeiterRankings.com provides some of the most thoughtful analysis of trends in law school rankings. AdmissionsDean displays Professor Leiter's annual ranking of the 40 Top Law Schools by Student (Numerical) Quality. Again, we provide 3 years worth of these rankings and also average them to make them even more informative.
AdmissionsDean Selectivity. While no rankings system is perfect, we have created the AdmissionsDean Selectivity Ranking which tries to capture how selective a school is when choosing its students. Our selectivity score is calculated by assigning weights to two almost universal admissions data points: the 75th percentile LSAT score and the 75th percentile UGPA of a law school's matriculating students. There is much discussion among admissions officers and academics alike on whether the 75% LSAT score is more effective than the median or 25% LSAT score at a particular school. We think the 75% LSAT score advocates have the better arguments, because the top of the class better reflects the the ability of a law school to attract the most competitive law students possible. In addition, each law school has a different policy with respect to diversity and non-traditional candidates, who often disproportionately fall below the median LSAT score. Similarly, there is much debate on the utility of 75/25/median GPA data, principally because, on their own, they fail to account for the strength/competitiveness of the colleges and universities where those GPAs were earned. Clearly, earning a 3.5 GPA from School X is not the same thing as earning that grade at School Y, but GPA rankings do not take into account the distinction. Nevertheless, law school admissions offices almost universally factor applicants' GPA into their admissions decisions, and attempt to normalize GPAs through various methodologies. With this caveat in mind, we have adopted the 75% GPA ranking as part of our AD Selectivity ranking. Although each law school assigns different weight to LSAT and GPA scores, in our experience in talking with admissions officers, law schools in the aggregate roughly assign 65% weight to LSAT scores and 35% to GPA scores, so we will adopt this split. Thus, our AD SELECTIVITY SCORE = (RANK_OF(75% LSAT) * .65) + (RANK_OF(75% UGPA) * .35). It's not perfect, but it gives a rough approximation of a law school's selectivity using objective metrics.
AdmissionsDean Poll of Polls. Not unlike an unweighted presidential election poll of polls, to arrive at our Poll of Polls score we simply average the rankings from any available ranking system including USNEWS, Leiter, and AdmissionsDean Selectivity.
N/R. Not ranked (N/R) simply means that a data point is missing for a specific school which prohibited it from being ranked. For example, some newer schools may not have three years of USNEWS rankings to calculate a 3-year average. Alternatively, some schools may fail to report a 75% LSAT or GPA score to the ABA and that would prohibit us from calculating that school's AdmissionsDean Selectivity score.