Cilia wrote:Maybe I have been misinformed. I have always seen harvard, yale, columbia, cornell, & penn listed as the 5 ivy league schools...and I was under the impression that such prestige matters more now in today's job market. It's interesting to me that you say this shouldn't be a deciding factor.
the prestige/sub-grouping/t14 thing is a little obnoxious to me
but since you're clearly new to this stuff i'll explain it so you can get a lay of the land
let's say that, hypothetically, cost was not a factor, though it almost always is
when you say "prestige matters" – i suppose it does in the sense that graduates from "prestigious schools" are more highly sought after by employers. however, lay prestige doesn't quite line up with prestige within the legal profession. in the legal profession, the most prestigious schools are schools designated as "t14" schools, or top 14 schools
they're called that because they are always ranked as the top 14 law schools by the odious and often completely arbitrary us news and world reports rankings drawn up every year by that cretin bob morse who should sit on a knife
yale and harvard, both ivies, are considered highly elite, and are at the top of these rankings
stanford, as you know, is not an ivy
yet stanford is usually grouped with yale and harvard in terms of prestige (you may have seen posters refer to HYS around the forums)
similarly, columbia is an ivy legaue school. university of chicago and nyu are not. yet they too are often grouped together (some posters refer to these schools as CCN)
outside of these schools, there is considerably more volatility in how schools are perceived and ranked
over time, certain schools have risen (like penn), while others fallen (like michigan)
the prestige of law schools has not historically and is not now driven by the ivy league designation
so now that we've gotten the prestige talk out of the way, i'm going to tell you why none of what i just explained above matters
if your interest in prestige is due to the perception that it would increase employment outcomes, there are more direct ways to ascertain this information
first, the low hanging fruit. lawschooltransparency has compiled aba data on placement in long-term, full-time, jd-required positions. they also keep tabs on biglaw placement and a3 federal clerkships, widely considered elite outcomes. don't forget to consider the underemployment rates and what percentage of jobs are school-funded
next, if you're going the biglaw route, ask 1Ls and 2Ls from the schools you're interested in if they'd be willing to share information about oci. how many students participated? what was the success rate? this is important because student self-selection can factor into biglaw/fedclerk numbers. duke (a school with excellent placement) managed to place over half of the c/o 2013 in biglaw jobs, compared to 30% at yale. but no one believes that duke has better biglaw placement power than yale. self-selection comes into play – many yale grads do clerkships, work in elite private sector jobs outside of biglaw, get sought-after government positions, or pursue pi.
a great way to get more detailed insight into placement is to browse attorney profiles, either through firm websites or through martindale. here you can see where firms in your target market like to hire. however, try to focus your search on post-recession graduates; only ten years ago, the legal hiring landscape looked much rosier at many schools
there's more, of course, but that should get you started. remember, law school is a major investment, both in money and in the three years of your life you're putting in. do your due diligence. take time to learn about your investment - don't rely on rankings or lay prestige to make your decision.