Northern Illinois Named one of the Most Underrated Law Schools in the Nation
When it comes to choosing the best law school, many future J.D. students refer to the rankings developed and listed by U.S. News and World Report, but a study recently published by the Social Science Research Network analyzes the viability of these now-infamous rankings by utilizing different criteria and comparing results.
According to the study’s author, Alfred L. Brophy, Distinguished Professor of Law at the University North Carolina – Chapel Hill, the study was done “to help students find the law school that would be the best value for their money” (northernpublicradio.org).
To develop his metric, Brophy used median LSAT scores, post-graduation employment statistics (from jobs requiring a J.D.), and the number of citations a school’s law review receives. While some schools didn’t move much in their rankings, others rose and fell dramatically. Most notable were the ranks of the Connecticut College of Law which rose 28.42 points and the New Hampshire School of Law which dropped 36.75 points.
The study also has a significant bearing on Northern Illinois University’s College of Law, which is unranked in the U.S. News and World Report system, but received a mean rank of 149. 67 under Brophy’s analysis and was subsequently ranked by Bloomberg News at 125. (Currently, Texas A&M University is ranked at 149 according to U.S. News, and the magazine does publish ranks below this level.) Additionally, DePaul University jumped 19 points higher in its ranking, whereas Loyola University fell 26 points.
What these numbers mean for potential students is an old truth reinterpreted: It all depends on how you look at it. Some schools will always be ranked highly no matter the criteria, but when deciding on legal education, all factors should be considered and weighed against the desires, expectations, and needs of the student. So when taking the next step in your life, choose the school that can meet your goals and guarantees you the best potential future.