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Possibilities

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I.M.D.Law:
I dunno, if you say "Harvard" your name jumps to the top of the application pile at a lot of places.
If you get hired let's say a year sooner in your search, plus make an extra $10K a year, and more likely than not get promoted faster at least once.
It paid for itself with interest to go Ivy.

Burning Sands, Esq.:
Good point regarding the arbitrary rankings in U.S. News & World Report. The fact that most schools move up and down from year to year when literally nothing at the school has changed speaks to the Rankings' lack of credibility. People assume that the Rankings are accurate simply because they place the ivies at the top of the list, but that completely ignores the inconsistencies at the other 200 schools.

@NewlyMinted: I don't think anyone is debating that a JD from Harvard would provide more opportunities than say a JD from Thomas Cooley. Citylaw's point, as well as my own, is that OUTSIDE OF the first 14 schools in the Rankings (that would include Harvard) the Rankings are arbitrary and largely irrelevant with respect to job opportunities.  Outside of the so-called "T 14", a school's job opportunities are mainly regional,  meaning employers in any given market pull from the law schools in or nearby their respective market. 

For example, Philadelphia law firms will hire from the T 14 first, and after they've done that they will likely still have a need for associates that exceeds their T 14 pool of candidates.  In order to fill their need, they will next turn to the law students in their region which would include graduates of Penn State, Temple, Rutgers Camden and Villanova.  Those same Philadelphia firms would probably NOT go out of their way to hire a graduate from the University of Illinois School of Law, even though that school is technically ranked higher than all of the area Philadelphia law schools.  Likewise, a University of Illinois grad will have a much better time securing employment in the Chicago market than the graduates of the aforementioned Philly market schools.

Citylaw:
Exactly it is not even necessarily the top 14 there are just some schools that are recognized nationally as elite schools. If Harvard was ranked dead last by U.S. News it would still open more doors than Cooley if it was ranked #1.

I did not need U.S. News to tell me Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Columbia are top notch schools.

Maintain FL 350:

--- Quote from: Burning Sands, Esq. on June 01, 2014, 06:13:33 AM ---For example, Philadelphia law firms will hire from the T 14 first, and after they've done that they will likely still have a need for associates that exceeds their T 14 pool of candidates.  In order to fill their need, they will next turn to the law students in their region which would include graduates of Penn State, Temple, Rutgers Camden and Villanova.  Those same Philadelphia firms would probably NOT go out of their way to hire a graduate from the University of Illinois School of Law, even though that school is technically ranked higher than all of the area Philadelphia law schools.  Likewise, a University of Illinois grad will have a much better time securing employment in the Chicago market than the graduates of the aforementioned Philly market schools.

--- End quote ---

This is an excellent summation of how so many law students completely misjudge the impact of rankings. Every law school applicant should read this.

Clearly, a degree from an elite school like Harvard or Yale is going to be hugely beneficial. That degree is instantly recognizable anywhere in the world, and will open doors. Once you get away from those handful of truly elite institutions, however, you're talking about local/regional reputations.

I would even argue that several of the T14 are essentially highly respected regional schools.

I knew so many people who went to college with me in LA, then went to law school in Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Washington because they simply chose the school with the highest USNWR rank. They quickly found out upon returning to LA that local students had a distinct advantage in terms of connections and employment, and that nobody really cares that you went to the #42 school instead of the #53 school. At that level, alumni connections and location are far, far more important.

Citylaw:
That is a great summary and it really is unfortunate how many people fail to use common sense when choosing a law school. When your in 0L or law school bubble it seems so important, but the reality is real lawyers are not paying attention to the rankings they have staffing needs etc. The majority of firms can only afford to recruit locally the San Diego D.A.'s Office is going to do OCI at the San Diego Law Schools and maybe L.A. ones. There is no way they are going to do OCI at Iowa, Kansas, or Idaho even if those schools are far higher ranked than Thomas Jefferson and Cal Western.

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