It’s time for the 10th annual ATL Top 50 Law School Rankings.
As always, our rankings prioritize outcomes above all other factors, as we believe that the relative quality of schools is a function of how they deliver on the promise of gainful legal employment.
Our rankings are the only ones that incorporate the latest ABA employment data for the class of 2021. While employment represents the bulk of a school’s overall score, we also account for law school cost and debt, since how much you pay — or borrow — for an education affects the return on your investment. And because where you attend school plays a part in its overall expense, we’ve factored in regional cost of living adjustments. (We did tweak our COL formula this year because we felt it may have been unduly punishing of schools like Columbia located in more expensive markets.)
Here are the Top 10 law schools for 2022:
- University of Virginia
- University of Chicago
- Washington University in St. Louis
- University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
- Northwestern (Pritzker)
- University of Pennsylvania (Carey)
Because our methodology rewards schools that are particularly effective in placing students in “real” lawyer jobs while balancing costs and debt, you may notice some usual suspects missing from the top 10. Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and NYU are, of course, exceptional schools and no one is suggesting you shouldn’t go to one of those schools if you get in.
But what we do suggest is that you also consider other highly regarded but less prestigious schools, like Vanderbilt and Washington University in St. Louis, which have earned positions near the top of our ranking by successfully placing graduates in quality jobs at (relatively) lower cost.
You’ll also find some movement in the rankings this year, including Duke’s return to the No. 1 spot. Yale, Harvard, and Stanford all dropped from the top 10, largely as a result of scoring lower in employment categories this year. Meanwhile, stronger scores propelled three schools into the top 10 (Vanderbilt, Columbia, and Northwestern), and brought two newcomers into the top 15 (University of Georgia and Notre Dame).
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