Cities Journal

Why Business Insider’s Best Law Schools List Caused An Uproar


A career in law has for decades (if not centuries) looked like a safe bet for young Americans. Sure, getting into one of the better law schools might be difficult and you might end up with a whole lot of student loan debt, but once you graduate, you are set for life.


Well, not exactly. According to both the American Bar Association and the National Association for Law Placement, the situation is not really that great. As it turns out, a relatively high percentage of young legal minds struggle to find employment, especially one that pays as well as they expected.

This is why Business Insider approached the topic from a different angle when working on their list of the 50 Best Law Schools in the United States. They concentrated on those schools that have the highest percentage of graduates who get top jobs and earn top salaries in the industry.

As a result of this specific approach to the subject, BI came out with some really weird results, which caused quite an uproar. Mind you, this happened on Monday and they already had to explain why their results were so unusual. But, we will get to that.

First, the list itself.

For example, in the first place, the Business Insider list featured the University of Pennsylvania. Do not get us wrong, it has a fantastic law school, but for most people, it is not the first name that comes to mind when they think law school. The reason why Penn Law ranked this high is that three-quarters of their graduates get the best jobs in the field. Also, more than 90 percent of them end up with jobs that require them to pass the bar, which is not the case with graduates from many other law schools.

In the second place, the BI list had the law school at the University of Chicago, cofounded by John D. Rockefeller and providing its graduates with the best chance of landing great jobs in the legal field. It is actually the school with the highest percentage of students (around 80 percent) who get those best jobs.

Finally, at number 3, we find one of THOSE law schools, the ones that everyone knows about and that all the movie and TV lawyers graduate from –Harvard. The alma mater of Barack Obama, Lloyd Blankfein and Antonin Scalia gives its graduates great chances of landing a superb job (68 percent), but its median LSAT score of 173 makes getting in just too much of a hassle when compared to some other law schools.

Stanford made it to fourth place thanks to the fact that about 73 percent of their graduates secure great jobs after finishing school. Moreover, 26 percent of them land great federal clerkships that so many law students covet even before they pass their first exam. Stanford also suffers from high requirements to get into, with the median LSAT score being 171.

In the fifth place, we find the NYU School of Law, one of the oldest law schools in the country and also one of the most sought-after, especially for people interested in international law. About 65 percent of their graduates get highly coveted positions while 87 percent of them end up in positions that require them to pass the bar.

Duke Law ranked sixth, Columbia Law School seventh, Cornell Law School eighth, University of Virginia School of Law ninth and Yale Law tenth.

Yale’s relatively low ranking came as the biggest surprise, although Harvard’s ranking also raised a few eyebrows. Like we said, their rankings did not conform to the vast majority of similar rankings and obviously, people’s feelings got hurt.

In fact, they got so hurt that Business Insider had to come forward with another article, this time explaining their methodology and explaining to people that their list showed rankings that were based on less “traditional” factors.

For example, they explained that they did not factor in acceptance rates or past reputation. They also reiterated that job prospects after graduating were the most important factor in making up the list.

You can find the complete list here () and their subsequent explanatory article here.

Also, don’t forget to tell us what you think. Did Business Insider have a good idea or was it a total miss?

Prev1 of 2Next

Stay In Touch

Recommended For You

The Latest