It is obvious to prospective law students that they should, for the most part, go to the highest-ranked school they can get into.
3. Specialized practice area rankings: So far, the discussion has been focused on the overall rankings that U.S. News compiles. An equally important, and often overlooked, resource is the U.S. News rankings for many different specific areas of law. . .
It is often the case that a school’s practice area ranking can be much higher than its overall ranking. In that case, if you know you are going to practice that area of law and might not have the numbers to be a competitive applicant at the top schools, you can set yourself up for a successful career in that area by attending a school that has a stellar reputation in that practice area.
For example, the top two law schools for environmental law are the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College and Vermont Law School, both of which are ranked around 100 overall. An applicant committed to practicing environmental law who might not be a viable candidate at the nation’s top schools will be a much stronger candidate at those schools.