Below school No. 28 (University of Southern California), a graduate has a less than one in five probability of starting his or her career a large law firm. If 80% of law school applicants are convinced that they will make that 20% cutoff, three out of four are destined to be disappointed. With these numbers, does it really make economic sense to go to the highest-ranked school one can get into? In many cases, the answer is no.I know several of my classmates who are less than satisfied by their choice to attend law school. Unless you have a strong, compelling reason to go or can get into a top 14 school, there's a good chance that the expected value of getting a law degree will not justify its cost. Particularly in these current economic times.
An equally important question is whether to go law school at all. A ranking of 50 law schools by the percentage of students who either flunked out or are unemployed or unaccounted for nine months after graduation includes many schools in tiers 2, 3 and 4 of the 2007 U.S. News rankings. Thus law school does not guarantee lucrative, or even gainful, employment. Moreover, overreliance on the U.S. News rankings can be damaging to a law student's financial health.
Friday, September 04, 2009
What Law School Rankings Don't Say About Costly Choices
Law school can be a bigger financial risk than many students realize: