js87 wrote:A lot of people deride lay prestige as being irrelevant or nothing more than an ego boost, but I think lay prestige is definitely valuable. If you're going for a career in biglaw then, by all means, it's pretty inconsequential. In that case, the USNWR rankings and your class rank are the important factors.
If you want to work for a smaller firm then it IS important. Do you honestly think that most partners at small firms read the USNWR like a bible? They don't know who ranked #6 this year. They know which schools they perceive to be "good". Many of those "good" schools, of course, are T-14 or well ranked, but there is definitely regional variation.
Furthermore, if you want to work as a solo or start a firm then lay prestige can be beneficial. Joe Schmo might be perusing your website when looking for a local attorney for X matter and be impressed with your credentials.
It's also important in politics, if that's your ambition.
I worked for a very small firm for three summers. Spent a lot of time at the courthouse in a small Pa. county, mingling with the DA's and PD's. When they asked me where I was going to law school, and I told them "Virginia," they all asked, "UVA?" When I told them yes, they all exclaimed something along the lines of "wow" or "fancy"--even though UVA has almost no lay prestige outside the state.
The point is, even the county PD's, even in small areas, even outside of the school's region, and even the ones who went to Tier 3 and 4 schools, will still know what the top schools are.