For some years now law school prof Glenn Reynolds has been banging the drum on the disconnect among law school enrollments, the cost of attending law school, and the prospects for actually getting a job as a lawyer once you’ve graduated. At Above the Law (hat tip: Glenn Reynolds) they have produced an interesting ranking of the top 50 law schools based, rather than on the inputs to the law school, e.g. entering LSATs, GPAs, etc., the outputs of the law school, e.g. jobs in law, alumni satisfaction, etc. There are some overlaps between the conventional published law school rankings and some interesting deviations.
If you don’t graduate from one of their top three law schools (Yale, Stanford, Harvard), prospects for getting a job in law drop sharply. Prospects for working the law dwindle through the next ten schools (#13 is Northwestern) and drop sharply again. If you graduate from #14 (University of Texas at Austin), your prospects for getting a job as a lawyer drop to only 60.67%. It’s downhill from there through the remainder of the top 50 schools in their rankings. The prospects for getting a job as a lawyer if you graduate from at their 50th-ranked school, the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law the Arizona State, is only 36.83%.
Now, I suppose it could be maintained that a law school education is useful for all sorts of other things, for example, as a preparation for a career in business or finance. Pretty expensive way of preparing for a career in business or finance. It’s even more expensive if the best you can expect is shouting out of a loudspeaker mounted in a clown’s mouth.