U.S. News and World Report Rankings For Law Schools Released

This year’s ranking of law schools by U.S. News & World Report have been released for 2011. The rankings have become increasingly important for law schools in steering applicants and encouraging alumni support. Most professors are highly critical of the rankings. For example, in responding to the drop of Missouri law school again in the ranking,Dean Larry Dessem stated “This is magazine marketing masquerading as social science.” I certainly understand such frustration but I have always viewed these ratings in a more positive way. While flawed in some respects, this is a far better resource that I had in applying to law schools. Back then, you had to ask your undergraduate advisers about the best law schools — a highly imperfect source of such information. GW is ranked 20th. The rankings of the top twenty-five schools and their tuition rates are below:

#1 Yale University: $50,750 per year

#2 Harvard University: $45,450 per year

#3 Stanford University: $46,581 per year

#4 Columbia University: $50,428

#5 University of Chicago: $45,405

#6 New York University: $46,840

#7 University of Michigan: $44,840 per year, Out-of-state, full-time: $47,840

#7 University of Pennsylvania: $48,362

#9 University of California–Berkeley: $44,244 per year, Out-of-state, full-time: $52,245

#9 University of Virginia: $42,500 per year, Out-of-state, full-time: $47,500

#11 Duke University: $47,722

#12 Northwestern University: $49,714

#13 Cornell University: $51,150

#14 Georgetown University: $45,105

#14 University of Texas–Austin: $28,669 per year, Out-of-state, full-time: $44,638

#16 University of California–Los Angeles: $40,616 per year, Out-of-state, full-time: $50,639

#16 Vanderbilt University: $45,286

#18 University of Southern California (Gould): $48,434

#18 Washington University in St. Louis: $44,125

#20 George Washington University: $43,999

#20 University of Minnesota–Twin Cities: $31,882 per year, Out-of-state, full-time: $40,388

#22 Boston University: $40,838

#23 Indiana University–Bloomington (Maurer): $26,904 per year, Out-of-state, full-time: $43,704

#23 University of California–Davis: $41,763 per year, Out-of-state, full-time: $50,595

#23 University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign: $36,420 per year, Out-of-state, full-time: $43,420

The biggest story appears to be Davis, which has continued an impressive rise in the rankings:

2008-09 Rankings: 44
2009-10 Rankings: 35
2010-11 Rankings: 28
2011-12 Rankings: 23

University of Texas also deserves congratulations. It went up on slot to break into the long unbroken T14 — the top fourteen law schools.

University of Maryland also climbed six spots — an impressive rise from 48th place to 42nd while the University of California at Davis went from 28th place to 23rd. Congratulations to their faculties and students on a very impressive showing.

George Washington remains in the top 20 (just so). It is also ranked as the third best intellectual property school. As the longest serving teacher in the evening program (I also teach in the day section), I am most proud of the ranking as the third best part-time program. However, I honestly believe that our part-time program is second to none, particularly after the addition of a legal theory course for the first-year evening students.

Jonathan Turley

36 thoughts on “U.S. News and World Report Rankings For Law Schools Released”

  1. Yale law school should have points removed for giving a degree to clarence thomas

  2. “No Liberty University? Graduates from Liberty virtually controlled our government and nearly all its legal affairs for the first several years of this decade. ”

    Not true! Justice and the EOP were also staffed out with the few Regent Law grads who managed to pass the bar.

  3. It took me awhile to find John Marshall Law School, but at least they are on the list!
    Prof. Turley,
    As a former night student congrats on GW’s program.

  4. Vermont Law School, my annoying alma mater, is #1 in environmental law yet again. If only I practiced environmental law…

    On a related note, Stanford is #8 in environmental law, a school which 100% of VLS graduates would have rather attended.

    Oh, and for those thinking of attending to law school, don’t do it unless you get into a top 50 (maybe 25) law school. Members of my law school class (2008) got jobs easily, including me. Unfortunately, my job was a judicial clerkship that lasted only a year, and I have yet to find permanent work, despite my upgraded credentials. I have friends that graduated from much better schools (UTx, UC Davis, U of Minnesota) who are having trouble finding work. And I thought going to law school would enable me to stop doing manual labor…

  5. SW,

    Thank you. She wants to go to law school, but she is also thinking about trying to get a masters or PH.D in social work. I think she is going to see what law schools she gets into and then decide what to do.

  6. chris, It is difficult to get a good job in law now even if you are in a top 25 law school. Your class rank in the law school is also important. It is extremely competitive.

  7. My wife and I attend UC Davis currently. Neither of us knew that their law school was in the top 25. She will graduated this year with a degree in sociology and is thinking about applying for law school. We hear so many things about which schools she should apply to, but we were both under the impression that unless you go to a top 25 school it is difficult to get a good job right out of law school.

  8. Swarthmore,

    “Michele Bachmann graduated from Oral Roberts Law School.”

    Well, there we have it 🙂



    “If they did that, they would cut the legs out from under some of their own fund raising. It is easier to just vilify than to say they are trying to work cooperatively.”

    Well, that’s pretty much anyone on the Right these days. Much easier to stand in front of a camera and disparage the President with what you “think” you know, than actually talking to him to “know” what he’s thinking.

    “It is getting to the point where responsible gun owners are shying away from the NRA in droves.”

    I know several individuals who gave up on the NRA shortly after LaPierre brilliantly claimed that Tucson was the governments fault – too much regulation.

  9. Swarthmore mom: Michele Bachmann was a member of the last graduating class from Oral Robers Law School. It was absorbed by that other fabulous school at Regent University.

    Now excuse me while I go find some brain bleach.

  10. SL: With regard to the NRA and sitting down with the Prez and his people. If they did that, they would cut the legs out from under some of their own fund raising. It is easier to just vilify than to say they are trying to work cooperatively.

    It is getting to the point where responsible gun owners are shying away from the NRA in droves. The only thing they have going for them is a good insurance plan and excellent gun training classes. The rest of what they offer is fund raising, fear mongering and promoting a right wing agenda.

  11. OT, but since this thread is about law schools, I thought law-related would work. I hope you laugh as much as I did!

    “Why should I or the N.R.A. go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States.”

    — NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, 3/14/11, explaining why he won’t meet with the Obama administration to discuss gun issues


    “I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. And the courts have settled that as the law of the land.”

    — President Obama, 3/13/11

    Courtsey of The Progress Report

    Now, for more sh*ts & giggles, here’s another gem from Bat-Sh*t Bachmann:

    Michele Bachmann has counted every member of the MSM
    By Alex Pareene

    Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Bachmann regularly botches simple facts about the history of the United States. That would not be such a big deal — few people in this forward-thinking nation have more than a basic grasp of American stories not dramatized by Spielberg or Michael Bay films — except for the fact that Bachmann is Congress’ Founder-worshiping self-appointed constitutional scholar-in-residence. Still, it’s not Bachmann’s obvious dimness that’s to blame for her regular embarrassments. She is, in fact, a victim of the mainstream media.

    Bachmann is upset that the press reported on her getting the locations of the Revolutionary War Battles of Lexington and Concord disastrously wrong in a recent speech, even though they ignored the time Barack Obama accidentally said “57 states” instead of “50 states.” Of course, one of them clearly misspoke and the other one exposed actual ignorance, but there’s no reason we should expect a Muslim from Kenya should know how many states there are. And the MSM would’ve pointed this out if they weren’t all so biased against conservatives.

    But Bachmann’s got the MSM’s number! And I mean that very literally:

    “We all know there’s a double standard in the media … as we know all 3,400 members of the mainstream media are part of the Obama press contingent,” she told The Laura Ingraham Show.

    3,400 members of the MSM! Where did she even get that number? (Probably a blog? Or a Culver’s kids menu placemat?) It seems a bit … small, actually. The New York Times Co. has more than 7,500 employees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics counts 5,820 professional “Broadcast News Analysts” alone!

    Even assuming that some of those analysts are good conservatives, the entire point of the bias myth is that liberals vastly outnumber conservatives in the supposedly objective media. If there are just 3,400 members of the MSM, then the vast majority of reporters, editors, pundits, journalists and publishers must be both outside the mainstream and also fair and unbiased.


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