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User's Guide to Our Law School Rankings
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Our law school rankings appear in our book, The Best 169 Law Schools: 2014 Edition, and on our site. We report 11 ranking lists, each one naming the top 10 law schools in a category. The categories cover topics that we think prospective applicants might want to know or would ask during a campus visit, including academics, career prospects, and campus diversity. Ten of the 11 lists incorporate or are based entirely on student opinions that we collected through our school student survey. A few of the lists incorporate institutional data we collect from administrators at the schools. One list, "Toughest to Get Into," is based entirely on institutional data.
Note: we don't have a "Best Overall Academics" ranking list nor do we rank the law schools 1 to 169 on a single list because we believe each of the schools in the book offers outstanding academics, We believe that hierarchical ranking lists that focus solely on academics offer very little value to students and only add to the stress of applying to law school.
Also note: our law school rankings are different from our law school ratings. The rankings are lists. The ratings are numerical scores we give to the all schools in the book on a scale of 60 to 99 in various areas. Every law school on PrincetonReview.com has at least one rating, and some have as many as five. For information about them, see our User's Guide to Our Law School Ratings.
What are 11 law school rankings lists based on?
Some are based on school reported data, some on data only from our surveys of students and some on a combination of both. Here is information what each ranking list category is based on:
Toughest to Get Into
Based on school reported data. Factors include: median LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs of entering 1L students, the percent of applicants accepted, and the percent of accepted applicants who enroll.
Best Classroom Experience
Based on student answers to survey questions concerning their professors' teaching abilities, the balance of theory and practical skills in the curricula, the level of tolerance for differing opinions in class discussion, and their assessments of classroom facilities.
Based on student answers to survey questions concerning how good their professors are as teachers and how accessible they are outside the classroom.
Most Competitive Students
Based on student answers to survey questions on: the number of hours they study outside of class each day, the number of hours they think their fellow students study outside of class each day, the degree of competitiveness among students at their school, and the average number of hours they sleep each night
Best Career Prospects
Based on school reported data and student surveys. School data include: the median starting salaries of graduating students, the percent of students immediately employed nine months after graduation and the percent of these students who pass the bar exam the first time they take it. Student answers to survey questions on: how much the law program encourages practical experience; the opportunities for externships, internships and clerkships, and how prepared the students feel they will be to practice the law after graduating.
Most Conservative Students
Based on student answers to a survey question concerning the political bent of the student body at large. The survey question was "If there is a prevailing political bent among students at your school, how would you characterize it?" Answer choices were: "Very Liberal, Liberal, Middle of the Road, Somewhat Conservative, Very Conservative."
Most Liberal Students
Best Environment for Minority Students
Based on school reported data and student surveys. School data: the percent of the student body that is from a minority. Student answers to a survey question on whether all students receive equal treatment by fellow students and the faculty, regardless of ethnicity.
Most Diverse Faculty
Based on school reported data and student surveys. School data: the percent of the law school faculty that is from a minority. Student answers to a survey question
on whether the faculty comprises a broadly diverse group of individuals.
Best Quality of Life
Based on student answers to survey questions on: whether there is a strong sense of community at the school, how aesthetically pleasing the school is, the location of the school, the quality of social life at the school, the school's classroom facilities, and the library staff.