A common complaint practicing lawyers have is that while law schools cost a fortune, they simply don’t teach the most essential skill needed for professional competency. What skill might that be? “How to be a lawyer,” of course. Some law schools, however, are trying to change that by offering skills-based opportunities so that their soon-to-be graduates will have already dipped a toe into practicing law before even taking the bar exam. But which law schools are offering the best training opportunities?
The National Jurist’s preLaw Magazine recently released its ranking of the best law schools for practical training, highlighting the schools that are really doing their homework when it comes to readying their students for their future careers as lawyers. Here’s the methodology that was used:
We graded schools on a number of data points, focusing on key practical training offerings such as clinics, externships, simulation courses, pro bono hours and moot trial participation.
We gave the largest weight — 32% — to clinics. We asked schools for the number of students who completed a clinic in 2019- 20. If a student was enrolled in two semesters, that counted as two. Extra credit was given to schools where clinic work is guaranteed or required.
Externships were weighted at 25%, and we asked schools how many students completed one in 2019-20. Again, if a student had two externships, that counted as two.
Simulation courses accounted for 20% of the score. We asked for the total enrollment in such courses.
Moot court and pro bono hours accounted for 10%. If a school required pro bono hours, it got extra credit. Finally, we gave 10% to additional practical training offerings, such as required legal writing. We asked schools to provide us with such information as they saw fit.
If schools did not reply, we used ABA data.
Without further ado, according to preLaw Magazine, these are the top 10 best law schools for practical training:
- Northeastern University
- University of St. Thomas (MN)
- Baylor University
- University of Denver
- Elon University
- University of Minnesota
- UC Irvine
- Pepperdine University
- University of Georgia
- Case Western Reserve University
Click here to see the rest of the ranking.
Congratulations to each of the law schools that made the cut.
Best schools for practical training [preLaw Magazine]
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.
Leave a Reply