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What to Do if Your Law School Isn’t in the Top Tier

It happens every year. U.S. News & World Report releases their law school rankings–sending students at lower-ranked schools into a panic.

They fear that their education is somehow inferior to that at other schools. They think their ability to compete for jobs is compromised. They think there’s nothing they can do about it.

If that’s you, there’s something you need to know: It’s going to be okay.

Here’s why:

Rankings have little to do with the quality of schools.
Take a look at the methodology and you’ll see that the rankings don’t take into account many of the things that make a law school effective–culture, faculty availability, and opportunities for meaningful experience, among others.

Instead, U.S. News measures the undergraduate GPAs and LSAT scores of incoming students, the number of students employed as lawyers at graduation, and how a very, very small group of lawyers and judges feel about a law school.

Impressive GPAs and LSAT scores say a lot about the students, but little about a school’s ability to prepare anyone for successful careers. Having a lawyer job lined up at graduation is the goal, but what if you want to go into business or the government? Does that make your law school less effective? And how could 200 lawyers and judges scattered throughout the country really know what’s going on at your law school?

If your school dropped in the rankings, don’t panic. Chances are high that nothing has changed about the education you’re getting.

Firms don’t look at the rankings when they’re deciding who to hire.
Ask any managing partner at any law firm and they’ll tell you that rankings are no factor when deciding who to hire. Sure, there are schools that have long, rich histories of producing top lawyers–Harvard and Yale, for example–and graduates from those schools will have an easier time getting interviews.

But at the end of the day, all things being equal, law firms will always hire the best candidate, not the graduate who went to the higher ranked school.

Your future is in YOUR hands.
The bottom line is most law schools are regional, and their graduates find jobs in or around the city in which the law schools are located. So do everything you can to improve your chances of landing a great job in your area. Hire a law school tutor. Get a lot of practical experience. Make connections. And finish in the top 10 percent of your class.

 

 

About the Author
Sumita Dalal is the Founder and CEO of FindMyLawTutor, the largest and most trusted website and online portal that connects law students with law tutors for success in law school. Whether preparing for the LSAT, are currently a law student or are studying for the bar exam, FindMyLawTutor makes finding a law tutor fast and easy.

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