You can find work from any ABA school. No matter what law school you go to you will more or less learn the same thing. The ABA makes all ABA schools follow certain requirements and no matter where you go you will take Civil Procedure, Contracts, Con Law, etc. You will read Supreme Court Cases and they donít write special versions for Ivy League Schools. You will read Pennoyer v. Neff, International Shoe etc no matter what school you go to. You will learn how to do research on Lexis or Westlaw and all schools use the Socratic method. As everyone above said if you do well in school you can find a job and even if you donít you can find a job. Once that happens whether or not you keep your job or progress in the profession will be largely determined by YOU
. If you do a great job you will advance whether you went to Cooley or Harvard. If you do a s*** job you will you will get fired and not progress. Rankings
This article published by LSAC does a good job of explaining how the rankings work. http://www.lsac.org/LsacResources/Research/GR/GR-07-02.pdf
The rankings outside of elite schools i.e. Harvard, Yale, don't mean much. This is literally the system and not a joke. Lawyers and Judges from around the country mark a scantron from 1-5. So a judge in Nebraska checks a box from 1-5 to determine whether University of Miami is a 3 or 4. The Nebraska judge is unlikely to have ever met anyone from Miami and would be unable to give any type of accurate assessment of the school, but the ranking goes in. Besides not interacting with anyone from 90% of the schools it is pretty difficult to tell whether something is 83rd or 84th best so they just make everything a tie. There is currently a 12 way tie for 84th place. Besides all the ties etc schools drop and rise upwards of 20 spots in a given year. The reason for this is there is no methodology in place.
As a result of the questionable methodology the ABA and AALS publicly condemn the rankings. It needs to be noted that U.S. News is not officially regulated by anyone and it is a for profit magazine offering their subjective opinion based on questionable methodology. Obviously Harvard, Yale, etc are top schools and you should go, but the 58th or 72nd best school nobody cares especially considering they jump drastically from year to year.
Here are just a few of the biggest jumps from 2010-2011 that I noticed. .
Nebraska went from unranked tier 3 in 2010 to #84 in 2011, but not just any #84 rank a TWELVE way tie for 84th place. I donít even know how you can have a twelve way tie for 84th place, but they managed to do it.
LSU went from 75 into this twelve way tie for 84th place. So it is not clear if LSU went from 75 to the 96th or 84th school because there is a twelve way tie for the prestigious honor of 84th place.
Kansas went from 65 in 2010 to a 5 way tie for 79th place.
Catholic went from a 4 way tie for 94th place in 2010 up to a 5 way tie for 79th place in 2011.
LMU from 71 in 2010 to 54 in 2011.
Emory from #20 to a 4 way tie to #30.
What changed at any of these schools in one year I donít know if anyone can say. More impressive yet is in the new rankings they just make 4 way ties for everything. In the 2011 ranking the following ties involving four or more schools occurred, 5 way tie for 30th place, 4 way tie for 35th place, 5 way tie for 42nd place, 4 way tie for 50th place, 4 way tie for 56th place.
After 56 the ties get really impressive! 6 way tie for 61st place, 4 way tie for 71st place, 6 way tie for 71st place, 5 way tie for 79th place, then my favorite 12 way tie for 84th place, then they round it up with a 5 way tie for 95th and then wrap up the top 100 with 4 schools tied for 100th best. http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings/page+5
Lawschooltransparency.com lists actual salary numbers of each individual school so it has some reliability and is worth taking a look at.
The point of this entire rant is that outside of TOP schools the ranking donít mean much. If you rank in the top 10% at a tier 1 school you will have more doors open to you than if you finish in the top 10% at a tier 4 school, but there is a 90% chance you wonít be in the top 10%. If you can get significant scholarship money at a tier 3 or 4 school in the location you want to live in then it might be the better option. If you can get a full ride at Willamette it might be better than paying full tuition at Lewis & Clark. University of Oregon is also a solid option. They will all open doors, but be careful of the costs. Remember no matter what school you go to whether or not you have a successful legal career depends on YOU
Sorry for the long rant, but many 0Lís including myself when choosing law schools put WAY to much emphasis on the rankings. I was shocked to learn how horrible the methodology was, but it is not U.S. News' fault they are making money off this and never say it is supposed to be anything other than an opinion. I would do the same thing, but you are the one who is going to be paying 100K plus in tuition along with 3 years of your life so make the decision based on what you want not what this unregulated for-profit magazine thinks.