Your Full Guide to 2017 US News Law School Rankings


Choosing a law school means making a major decision, because where you attend law school certainly has a bearing on your career path for the rest of your life. Law is an extremely prestigious and competitive field. Your choice of law school can certainly make a big difference, and that is why the 2017 US News Law School Rankings are significant.

In this article, we will tackle the list of US Law School Rankings 2017 and what factors allow certain law schools to climb to the top spots year after year. We’ll explore how these annual evaluations and lists shape and impact the overall landscape of legal education across the United States. Getting into a top-ranked program can open many doors, so let’s understand how you can position yourself for success.

View of a school campus - 2017 US News Law School Rankings

The US News and World Report Law School Rankings 2017

Here is the list of the top 20 law school 2017 rankings:

Rank School Acceptance Rate LSAT Score Percentile Employment 10 Months After Graduation Tuition
1 Yale University 9.7% 171-176 86.1% $58,050
2 Harvard University 17.9% 170-175 94.4% $58,242
2 Stanford University 11.3% 169-173 93.0% $56,274
4 Columbia University 21.3% 168-173 95.7% $62,700
4 University of Chicago 21.9% 166-172 96.2% $56,916
6 New York University 33.1% 166-171 96.7% $59,330
7 University of Pennsylvania 18.8% 163-170 97.8% $58,918
8 University of California-Berkeley 21.1% 162-168 95.5% $48,679 (in-state)
$52,630 (out-of-state)
8 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 28.0% 164-169 93.3% $53,112 (in-state)
$56,112 (out-of-state)
8 University of Virginia 20.2% 163-170 96.6% $54,000 (in-state)
$57,000 (out-of-state)
11 Duke University 23.3% 166-170 93.0% $57,717
12 Northwestern University (Pritzker) 22.6% 163-169 90.0% $58,398
13 Cornell University 30.6% 164-168 96.3% $59,900
14 Georgetown University 28.1% 161-168 87.2% $55,255
15 University of Texas-Austin 21.9% 162-169 86.9% $33,162 (in-state)
$49,244 (out-of-state)
16 Vanderbilt University 38.1% 161-168 87.1% $51,360
17 University of California-Los Angeles 29.7% 162-169 87.5% $45,284 (in-state)
$51,778 (out-of-state)
18 Washington University in St. Louis 27.6% 161-168 91.1% $51,626
19 University of Southern California (Gould) 29.9% 161-167 85.7% $58,022
20 Boston University 37.9% 160-164 80.5% $49,330

The Impact of Rankings on Law Students

The annual releases of USNews and World Reports Law School are critical in helping prospective law students evaluate their school options. The 2017 US News Law School Rankings assess some of the law schools across the United States, gauging them on measures of academic quality, faculty resources, and career outcomes for students. 

With such stiff competition and the T14 law schools having relatively low acceptance, an LSAT Prep Course in Dallas Fort could be just the edge that you need to get ahead and take up one of those coveted spots.

2017 US News Law School Rankings Ranking Methodology

The USNews 2017 law school rankings were pivotal, setting benchmarks that continue to influence the evaluation and perception of law schools today. This made schools work harder to get better in these areas, changing a lot of things for the better since then.

The 2017 US News law school rankings take several important factors into account when evaluating law schools across the country. Let’s go through the key criteria they consider:

Peer Assessment

One of the most influential criteria is peer assessment scores. Essentially, this reflects how prestigious a law school is viewed among other law program faculty and legal professionals. It carries a lot of weight in the overall rankings.

Evaluating Incoming Student Quality

The top law school rankings 2017 also look at the academic profiles of each incoming class. They evaluate the median LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs of newly enrolled students. The higher those median numbers, the more qualified and competitive the student body is. 

It’s vital to research the recent median LSAT scores and GPAs of accepted students at your target schools. These numbers will serve as benchmarks to understand if your own qualifications give you a realistic shot at getting in.

To maximize your chances at an elite law program, a competitive LSAT score is crucial. Getting professional help by enrolling in an LSAT Prep Course in New York City or even in an LSAT Prep Course in Washington DC is invaluable to strengthen your application.

Employment Rates Post-Graduation

Most law school graduates aim to secure employment after years of hard work and huge investments in legal education. The employment rates highlight which law schools excel at developing lawyers who are job-ready and competitive in the marketplace upon earning their degrees. For prospective students, insights into a program’s professional outcomes provide clear signals about future career prospects and potential return on investment.

Measuring Bar Exam Success

For any aspiring lawyer, passing the bar exam represents a major make-or-break moment. Earning a law degree is just the first step – you can’t actually practice law without becoming licensed by passing this comprehensive exam in your state. It tests your complete mastery of essential legal concepts and practices. This metric provides insight into how well a school’s curriculum and instruction equip students for this critical exam.

Library Resources

Lastly, the rankings consider the academic resources available to students and faculty at each law school. This includes evaluating the caliber and expansiveness of law libraries and legal research databases on campus. Ample resources can greatly enhance the quality of legal education.

A Girl Reading A Book

Key Factors for Choosing a Law School

Prospective students often turn to authoritative rankings like the law school ranking for 2017 as influential guides. However, it’s important to approach them with a critical eye, recognizing that numbered rankings alone cannot definitively identify the perfect fit for every prospective student’s needs.

Employment Prospects and Academics

The primary value of these rankings like the 2017 US News Law School Rankings lies in their data-driven evaluations of key factors like employment rates after graduation, bar exam passage metrics, and the academic profiles of incoming students. This quantitative analysis provides helpful snapshots of how law schools effectively prepare students for career success and the caliber of talent they attract.

Geographic Considerations

Geographic location can be a driving consideration for those with location preferences or goals of practicing in a particular region after graduation.

Area of Legal Specialization

Similarly, those with defined legal interests must closely evaluate each school’s curricular strengths and areas of expertise. An institution known for its top-tier intellectual property program may be the ideal choice for patent lawyers-in-training, while a different program’s robust offering in environmental law could be the perfect match for aspiring environmental attorneys. Aligning academic specialties with individual passions is key.

Overall Cultural Fit

The overall culture, community, experiential learning opportunities, and personal fit with a law school are other key variables that can be difficult to distill into any ranking system. Factors like campus life, mentorship programs, clinics, and student organizational involvement shape the holistic law school experience.

Cost and Financial Realities

Finances inevitably influence this major life decision as well. The overall costs of tuition, living expenses, and supplemental fees must be carefully weighed against potential scholarship aid, anticipated post-grad earnings, and realistic debt burden. For budget-conscious students, identifying law programs with proven reputations for generosity and affordability deserves serious consideration alongside academic prestige.

A Holistic Perspective

Ultimately, while high-profile evaluations like the US News 2017 Law School Rankings offer structured frameworks for comparing programs, no single list can definitively declare the “best” option for every prospective student’s individual needs and long-term goals. While a score increase for the LSAT can largely increase the chances of having a lot of options for law schools, attending an LSAT Prep Course in Chicago or an LSAT Prep Course in Boston can help you achieve your highest possible LSAT score.

Strategies for Law School Admissions Success

The 2017 US News Law School Rankings lists evaluate the ABA-accredited law programs. These prestigious lists carry major implications for your future by evaluating the nation’s top law programs and shaping where you’ll likely apply. But getting admitted is no easy feat. The competition is intense, with elite schools receiving thousands of applications from remarkable candidates each year.

1. Start Preparing Early for the LSAT

One of the biggest priorities is getting ready for the Law School Admission Test. Your score on this important test carries a lot of weight with admissions since this evaluates if you have what it takes to survive law school demands.

As you prepare for the LSAT, you may want to consider utilizing prep classes and other study resources to help improve your performance. Investing in proper preparation can make a significant difference on this important exam. Odyssey Test Prep offers services specifically designed to help you thrive on the LSAT.

Start your law school journey with our LSAT Free Class, offering essential strategies and insights to approach the exam with confidence. This initial session provides foundational knowledge to help start your LSAT prep effectively.

2. Maintain a Strong GPA

Your academic performance as an undergrad, reflected in your cumulative GPA, is another key factor that admissions committees closely evaluate. Consistent excellence in your coursework serves as powerful evidence of your work ethic, intellectual discipline, and ability to thrive in a rigorous scholarly atmosphere like law school.

3. Develop Relevant Legal Experience

Internships at law firms, legal clinics, or juristic organizations provide unmatched opportunities for developing hands-on legal skills and demonstrating your genuine passion for the field. Similarly, any relevant volunteer roles, research projects or campus organization involvement allows you to accrue critical competencies like writing, analysis, and professionalism.

4. Optimized Resume

Your resume is where you have the chance to sell your skills, experiences, and accomplishments outside of just grades and test scores. It should indicate what makes you a well-rounded and interesting candidate.

5. Secure Strong Letters of Recommendation

As your application takes shape, you’ll need to carefully identify recommenders who can provide insightful, detailed perspectives on your preparedness for legal studies. Thoughtful letters of recommendation from professors, advisors, or employers who know you well can elevate your candidacy through third-party endorsements of your intellect, values, and drive.

6. Craft a Compelling Personal Statement

The personal statement component should not be underestimated either. This is your opportunity to showcase your unique background, motivations, and qualifications in a compelling, well-crafted narrative voice. But it requires introspection and thoughtful writing to truly differentiate yourself.

7. Prepare for Interviews

For those advancing to interviews at their dream law schools, meticulous practice runs are key for ensuring you can clearly articulate your goals while adeptly responding to any curveball questions with poise.

8. Stay Organized 

Finally, staying meticulously organized throughout the entire process is critical for avoiding potentially disastrous missteps. Create an admission roadmap for tracking every minute requirement, deadline, and application component. Disorganization can quickly undermine an otherwise stellar candidate’s chances.

9. Law School Admissions Consulting

Navigate the complexities of top law school admissions with our proven strategies and personalized guidance. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the high-stakes process, seeking guidance through law school admissions consulting services can provide invaluable advice for highlighting your strongest qualifications.

Final Thoughts

The 2017 US News law school rankings may seem like ancient history, but they provide valuable context that can benefit today’s aspiring law students. Analyzing that past data allows you to identify important trajectories and multi-year trends at different institutions. Where did a school rank in 2017 compared to now? Have their strengths and weaknesses shifted over time? Looking at historical rankings offers a wider lens for understanding a law program’s reputation, successes, and challenges through the years.

When combined with your priorities and goals, this elevates your ability to make a truly well-informed decision aligned with finding your best-fit law school.

Sign up for our FREE 3-Week LSAT Class trial now! Click here to register