Almost ten years into law practice, this is a discussion I’ve never had…
“Jordan, do you handle zoning?”
“Yep. All the time.”
“Excellent. Also, where did you go to law school?”
“Weren’t they a Tier 2 back in 2008, according to U.S. News and World Report?”
“I don’t know. I don’t read U.S. News and World Report.”
“This other guy up the street, he went to Fordham. That’s a Tier 1 school.”
“Does he handle zoning?”
“I don’t think so.”
“I’d feel a lot more comfortable with a T1 law school grad…”
This is the reality that no one wants to tell you — it doesn’t matter where you go to law school. Not even a little bit. Here are the factors I would consider when selecting a law school:
- How much debt is it going to put you in? T4 and no debt is better than T1 and loads of debt.
- Geographic location. If you want to practice law in Pennsylvania, go to law school around Pennsylvania. If you want to practice in Hawaii, go to law school in Hawaii. (I wish I would have done this).
That’s pretty much about it. I couldn’t tell you which law schools have dropped in the rankings, risen in the rankings, and nor do I care about what U.S. News and World Report thinks.
If you want to clerk for the Supreme Court of the United States, yeah, you should probably go to Harvard or Yale. If your goal is to practice law, whether it be for a big firm, small firm, or on your own, it doesn’t matter where you go.
Clients want to hire lawyers who can help them with their problems, not ones who U.S. News and World Report say went to a “better” school.