The Score Reports are user-friendly tools for sorting law school employment outcomes, projected costs, and admissions stats. Understanding these data and their impact on your career and life goals sets the foundation for finding the right school for you, if any.
The Score Reports are not rankings, although they do serve as an alternative to conventional law school rankings. Both provide the opportunity to decide which schools to apply to and which one to attend. But unlike rankings, the Score Reports do not reduce complex data to a single metric. This has proven wholly inadequate for students. Instead, the Score Reports focus on observable relationships to specific legal markets and job types.
Choosing to attend law school is a life-changing decision. The Score Reports are designed to give you the space to consider important questions that sometimes lead to uncomfortable answers: "Are any of the schools I can get admitted to worth the cost?" "What does the debt I take out look like when it's time to pay it back, and will I be able to afford such payments?" "Why are so many law schools (nearly half) placing fewer than half their graduates into the legal profession, even though they keep increasing tuition?"
These urgent questions will continue to lead many people to wonder whether it is the right time for them to attend law school. We want prospective students to know that it's as ok to say no (or at least, wait) as it is to say yes. Law schools have failed to foresee and failed to address many problems with legal education. As prospective students continue to realize the gravity of these problems, the answers increasingly look different than they have in the past.
Treating the Score Reports like rankings may produce bad decisions. For example, sorting schools by Employment Score on a state Score Report will not provide a quick answer as to the school with the best outcomes in that particular state. This will show you which school has the highest overall Employment Score—the percentage of graduates with employment outcomes that proxy a successful start to a legal career—but not the preferability of those jobs. The latter will depend on your career objectives, and will require you to dig deeper into the data to see what differentiates schools. Due to the wide range of entry-level legal jobs, two very law schools may have similar Employment Scores but demonstrate stark differences in what types of legal jobs their graduates are getting.
We strongly encourage you to start by first reading through the guides to the left. These guides discuss data sources, the rates and scores we use throughout the Score Reports, and even limits of the Score Reports that you should know about before you dive in.
We cannot overstate the importance of looking at the Score Reports as a starting point. Use them to challenge common assumptions about different schools' reputations. Focus on outcomes and how much it will cost you to get there. Reputation, after all, is only as valuable as the ends you want that it can actually help you achieve. You can't eat prestige.