According to a survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep, pre-law students place more of a premium on where a potential law school lands on the law school rankings than on the number of graduates the law school has working in the legal industry. In the survey, 32 percent of respondents said that the ranking of a law school was most important when asked the question, “What is most important to you when picking a law school to apply to?” The other answers included 22 percent picking geographic location, 20 percent picking academic programming and 13 percent picking affordability/tuition. Coming in at eight percent on the answer grid was the job placement statistics presented by a law school. This questions was also asked back in October of 2010 and the results appeared in the same order.
The survey also asked the following question, “How important a factor is a law school’s ranking in determining where you will apply?” According to the results, 86 percent of respondents said that the ranking is ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’ when it comes to deciding where they should apply to school. This is the same percentage that the survey found back in October of 2010.
During the part of the survey that focused on jobs, 38 percent of pre-law students said that they want to work in Big Law one day; 31 percent of pre-law students said that they want to work in public interest law; and 23 percent said that they want to be employed with a boutique firm. When it came to using a law degree in other industries, 23 percent of respondents said they would be interested in politics and 23 percent said they want to use their JD for business jobs. These answers compare closely to those provided in October of 2010, when the survey was last conducted.
“While it may seem counterintuitive that pre-law students aren’t placing greater importance on a school’s job placement stats, most applicants know that there is a direct correlation between where a student graduates from, their starting salary and career prospects, which is likely why rankings are consistently the most important consideration by far,” says Jeff Thomas, director of pre-law programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “But with some law schools cutting their number of seats and the job market tight, pre-law students may have to think more strategically now. We continue to encourage pre-law students to look at a host of factors, including accurate job placement data, in helping them determine where to apply and enroll.”