Let's Rank Law Schools

There were two different law school rankings recently released that rank law schools by the number of graduates securing full-time employment requiring a JD.

The first list ranks law schools but excludes those positions that are funded by the law schools.  When the call first came for more transparent employment statistics, a big critique was that law schools would game the system by employing graduates in JD-required jobs for short spurts of time to help the school's employment stats.  The author of this list also notes that school-funded jobs are generally not the types of positions that will launch a career.  

The second list ranks law schools and does not exclude the positions that are funded by law schools. 

This is just another set of rankings in a long list.  The authors of these rankings may think that prospective law students would find these rankings particularly helpful because it is reasonable to think that law school graduates would want to find a job that requires the degree that they worked so hard to get.

However, a recent report out of the ABA Journal shows that many prospective law students plan to pursue alternative careers after they obtain their JDs. "Half of more than 200 prelaw students responding to a survey by Kaplan Test Prep said they plan to use their law degree in a non-traditional legal field, according to a press release. Forty-three percent said they plan to use their law degree to pursue a job in the business world."

Personally, I would be excluded from the first list because I am employed full-time by my alma mater as a law librarian.  Maybe I am a bit of an outlier in this type of ranking, but I would say that a full-time, JD required, law librarian position is exactly the type of position that would start a career. Then again, my fellow law students used to look at me quizzically when I would state that I planned to pursue an alternative career as a law librarian.

But it looks like I may have fit in with the current crop of prospective law students.  While 200 students is not necessarily representative of the whole, it is interesting that more prelaw students are willing to outright admit that they want to pursue a non-traditional legal field. 

Thanks to the Law Librarian Blog for the alert about the recent rankings. 


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