Updated as noted below
The ABA has provided a ton of data on law school job placement and I've tried to summarize it here - comparing the placement rate ranking with the U.S. News ranking, and providing actual placement numbers. The numbers set out here represent the percentage of graduates in the class of 2015 who found full-time long term positions (JD required or where a JD was an advantage) within nine months after graduation. This is the number many ranking organizations use, though I recognize that there are other ways to slice the data. As I note below, I have excluded law school funded positions.
This ranking uses the freshest data currently available and - compared to what you can find for pretty much any other discipline outside of law - a pretty damn good data set. We only wish business schools and other similar programs would give this sort of guidance to applicants.
I think a big takeaway is that the US News ranking doesn't actually predict how well graduates of a given school will do on the job market. One conclusion from this data is that any school recruiting solid students (as opposed to students who probably don't belong in law school) can deliver those students good job outcomes if it trains them well and provides good support from bar prep through career planning. (It helps to be in a region with jobs or a region that is not a net importer of law grads.)
It's also worth pointing out that this chart suffers from an infirmity it shares with US News: it tends to over-state the gaps between law schools. Another way to read this chart is to think in clumps - schools in the +/- 85% placement range; those in the +/- 75% placement range; etc. But I do think there may be real differences between schools with 80% rates and those with 65% rates.
This ranking doesn't get at salaries - though, having looked at the data, I have a strong sense that there are really only about 15 schools where more than 33% of the graduating class scores a large firm job. US News is actually pretty good at this element of ranking: if you want a big firm job, the US News top 15-20 is a reasonably good guide. But US News ceases to be very predictive of large firm placement after that point. This list also has anomalies: Yale is #20, but that probably has more to do with the choices that students made rather than the options they encountered. And Georgetown? My theory is that their career strategies office is good for students seeking big firms, but has work to do with the other 63% of the class.
The schools with the biggest gaps between this ranking and US News? Figure that out for yourself - there are some whoppers!
Update: I've decided that it would be more accurate and useful to round placement results to the nearest whole number and describe virtual ties as ties. As I discuss above, my goal is to provide information without overstating gaps between schools. Schools that are tied are listed in order of their precise rank. With this change, Yale is now #18. In this analysis, I excluded law school funded positions - consistent with US News - in large part because it is impossible to determine how many of these graduates would have been able to secure long-term full-time employment in the absence of law school assistance.
Update 2: A kind reader has alerted me to at least one error - the numbers provided to the ABA by South Texas on their form are inconsistent with the numbers set out in the ABA spread sheet. I am not going to change anything yet, but I hope that over the next day or two, I can identify any other conflicts between the forms and the spreadsheet. If there is an error or two, I can fix that easily. If problems are more pervasive, I'll pull and rework it entirely. For now, please note that based on the employment form submitted to the ABA, South Texas seems to have a 62% placement rate, rather than a 54% rate, which puts it at 152 rather than 172.
Update 3, Nov. 30, 12:30 pm: I have adjusted the chart to reflect what I expect are accurate numbers. As I discuss in this post, there are discrepancies between data reported by the ABA in individual school summaries and in the overall compilation spread sheet. This list reflects the numbers reported by schools in their individual school summaries. These changes shifted the rankings a bit. I have inserted asterisks after schools whose ranking changed after switching to the data provided on the individual school summary. In a later post, I will detail the changes. I believe the numbers are now as accurate as I can make them.
So without further ado: