Top law school rankings vs. specialty rankings

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leche
Posts: 150
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:03 pm

Top law school rankings vs. specialty rankings

Postby leche » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:14 pm

Here's my scenario. I know I want to specialize in environmental law. I just got my LSAT score back and it was not nearly as high as I was hoping or expected (159). I have a 3.9 GPA. This will not get me into any of the T14 schools I was hoping for. It will, however, get me comfortably into Vermont, which is ranked #1 on the environmental law list.

I looked up the methodology for those specialty lists and this is what I found:
"These specialty rankings are based solely on votes by legal educators, who nominated up to 15 schools in each field. Legal educators chosen were a selection of those listed in the Association of American Law Schools Directory of Law Teachers 2007-2008 as currently teaching in that field."

My question is, when looking for a job in this field, will I be better off with a degree at the number 1-ranked environmental law school? Or should I retake the LSAT with T14 in mind? Will anyone even care that Vermont is ranked number 1 on the environmental list?

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Mickey Quicknumbers
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Re: Top law school rankings vs. specialty rankings

Postby Mickey Quicknumbers » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:31 pm

absolutely retake. The specialty rankings have no bearing on hiring into those sectors.

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twelda
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Re: Top law school rankings vs. specialty rankings

Postby twelda » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:32 pm

I was in a pretty similar boat to you after the June 2010 LSAT. 159 with a 3.8x GPA, and considering some of the schools like Vermont and Lewis & Clark that are not highly ranked but are always top in environmental law. Everyone I talked to (and I mean everyone) told me the specialty ratings are essentially meaningless and you should go to the best school you can get into, and take advantage of whatever environmental opportunities they have. Specialty rankings might matter if you're comparing two schools that are otherwise similar but if you wanted T-14, retake!


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TTH
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Re: Top law school rankings vs. specialty rankings

Postby TTH » Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:26 am

leche wrote: Will anyone even care that Vermont is ranked number 1 on the environmental list?


No, not even a little. Retake. With your GPA, even a 166 would give you a shot at Boalt, which will give you a much better shot at doing environmental law in a meaningful way than Vermont.

bhan87
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Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:08 pm

Re: Top law school rankings vs. specialty rankings

Postby bhan87 » Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:43 am

Specialty rankings should only be relevant to you after you've applied and gotten into schools, but need to decide amongst peer schools.

Going to Vermont over a T14 because of specialty rankings is a terrible idea, but choosing NYU over Columbia / Chicago for tax law is sensible.




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