Nontraditional Ranking Systems

November 23, 2010 at 7:15 pm (Choosing a law school)

Aside from U.S. News and World Report, what other ranking systems or methodologies exist to compare law schools?  This post will contain a listing of nontraditional ranking systems, hyperlinks for quick access, and a brief review.

The National Jurist’s Law School Rankings.  The National Jurist is a law school and law student related quarterly journal which periodically publishes its own specialty rankings, such as Best Value Law Schools, Best Libraries, Most Clinical Opportunities, and so on.  Rather than scrolling through each individual list, the National Jurist has simplified your search by allowing you to search all lists and then refining your search by name. I found this be very user-friendly and visually appeasing.

Equal Justice Works’ “The Guide”.  Recognizing that not all law schools are geared toward public interest or equal justice, not to mention that not all law students are seeking the same qualities ranked in USN&WR (read: prestige), Equal Justice Works has created a grading system for those with more wholesome goals in mind. After selecting several schools of interest, the schools are compared in such categories as: % of grads working in public service, tuition costs, grad debt, public interest scholarships, public interest field placements, etc. By clicking on the additional tabs at the top of the snapshot, one can view additional school-specific details. For example, the tab “student engagement” provides details on journal involvement and extracurricular opportunities.

Princeton Review Law School Rankings.  To view the rankings, I first had to register with Princeton Review. I really hated that, just give me the rankings, geesh. However, I did like the ability to view rankings on really qualitative factors like classroom experience or best career prospects. Each category only ranks the top 10; top 25 would be more ideal, especially for applicants desiring to stay in a specific region and have limited options.

Brian Leiter’s Law School Rankings. Brian Leiter provides various specialty rankings and also ranks his own top 40 based on student’s perception of desirability.  However, you may notice that many of these schools are also T1 per the USN&WR.  This makes the Leiter student desirability top 40 less helpful for applicants who are not necessarily looking for top 40 law schools or simply do not have the LSAT score or GPA to make a T1 school within reach.

Law School Rankings Game.  Yes, I said “game.” This provides an alternative for applicants looking to design their own ranking system. Java must be updated in order to play.  The game is geared toward avoiding the ranking mania.  Though, sadly, it has not been updated since 2008. Create Your Own Rankings. See my original blog post here.


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