A couple of weeks back I wrote about a brief study that ranks schools based on their rank on median LSAT score of the class entering in fall 2013, employment outcome for the class of 2013, and citations to their main law review. I have now done two things with this paper -- first, expanded the analysis to all 194 law schools that U.S. News included in its March 2014 rankings (what it calls the 2015 law school rankings). Previously I dealt only with the 147 schools that U.S. News provided ranks for; now I include the additional 47 that U.S. News called "unranked." Second, in response to suggestions by readers, I have used two different measures of employment. The initial study used the percentage of the class of 2013 employed nine months out at full-time, permanent JD required jobs and this study provides a ranking using that measure. I now provide a separate table that uses a modified employment score (full-time, permanent JD required jobs minus school-funded positions and solo practitioners).
The exclusion of school-funded and solo practitioners causes some schools to fall rather dramatically and a few schools rise a little. One of the tables in the paper reports the schools that have the highest percentage of those positions (Emory tops the list at 21.9%; William and Mary is close behind at 20.7%; the University of Virginia is third at 15.9%). The final table in the paper reports the schools' three variable rank using the "traditional" measure of employment and the three variable rank using the modified employment measure and the differences between those two ranks.
As before, there is a high correlation between the U.S. News' rank of the top 147 schools and the three variable rank presented here. That in some ways validates U.S. News and maybe they validate the rankings here. But importantly, there are significant differences between the U.S. News rank and those presented here, which suggests that prospective students should look very carefully at each school to see how it performs on factors that they care about. Some schools' ranks in U.S. News seem to be supported by strong reputation scores that may or may not reflect current realities and some schools are performing significantly better (or in some cases worse) in areas like graduates' employment rates than their U.S. News ranks would suggest.
Anyway, the expanded version of the paper is now up on ssrn. For those looking for the bottom line (i.e., faculty, administrators, students, prospective students, and alumni curious about how your school fares), tables 4 and 11 are the ones you'll want to turn to. Table 4 provides the ranking of all 194 schools based on the rank of median LSAT for the class entering in fall 2013, percentage of the class of 2013 employed in full-time, permanent JD required jobs, and citations to the schools' main law review from 2006 to 2013. Table 11 ranks all 194 schools based on rank on those 3 variables, but using the modified employment variable that excludes school-funded positions and solo practitioners.
Update: Lawschooli.com has some commentary on this. Also, Laura Stantoski over at most strongly supported discusses the rankings methodlogy extensively. Ms. Stantoski picked up the story from a post I had at law.com about the new rankings.