Yes, it is September. Yes, the Above the Law 2020 rankings are only just being published now. You see, in June, when we typically publish the rankings, it seemed like the whole world was coming apart, and we questioned whether something as mundane as law school rankings even mattered.
Well, it’s three months later and… the world is still coming apart — seriously the West Coast is literally in flames right now. But, importantly, there’s a greater recognition that (law school) life finds a way. During times of economic distress, folks often decide to park for three years in law school, hoping that when they get out, the economy will be in recovery and jobs will be plentiful. And the early reports on law school admissions reveal COVID hasn’t hurt application numbers. That means it’s especially vital now to report on how well law schools prepare you to get a job on the back end of all those loans you’re likely taking out.
And this is as good a place as any to remind everyone that the Above the Law rankings are based around the premise that a law school is only as good as the job you can get when you graduate — paying down your loans is real, y’all. As such, ATL’s Top 50 ranking is the only ranking, among the slew of other law school ratings, that incorporates the most recent ABA employment data concerning the class of 2019. Remember, the cost of law school is steep, and the job market is harsh (and COVID-19 is only going to make it more cutthroat out there), so, when weighing law school options, you really need to put your hand on the scale in favor of future employment prospects over all other factors.
So, on to this year’s ranking. There’s big news at the top — there’s a new #1 law school in town. Duke Law took over the number one spot (up from #2 last year), and University of Chicago moved up to the #2 spot. That pushed last year’s champ, UVA, to No. 3. It seems small increases in the employment scores for Duke and UChicago as well as a noticeable dip in Biglaw employment for UVA account for the shift. But the actual schools that are in the Top 10 remains the same, although the order is shuffled up a bit.
Further down the list, there are some bigger changes. A total of five new law schools have entered the ranking. We want to welcome the following law schools to the to the party:
St. Louis University
So, which law schools are the most likely to help you be gainfully employed upon graduation? Check out our full rankings below.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).