US News & World Report releases its annual law school rankings in the spring of each year. Their release is, as always, timely for law school applicants who are starting to focus on school selection for next year – but, cautions Senior Consultant Heike Spahn, applicants should look at more than just the rankings as they consider which schools to target.

“For better or worse, the rankings affect law school admission and administration on profound levels,” says Heike. “Many future law students rely heavily on these rankings as they identify their top choice schools. However, choosing the right law school is an incredibly personal decision, and you should consider factors far beyond the rankings in making your selection.

“Just as law schools look beyond LSAT and GPA numbers when assessing applicants, so should applicants look beyond ranking numbers when considering JD programs.

“Many students seek program features that are not quantifiable, such as cost, location, ethnic diversity, or the availability of specialized joint-degree programs. Factors like these are overlooked in the assembly of the annual rankings – but for many students they might be the determining factors in program selection. Part of what we do as consultants is to share our knowledge of individual programs to help students see that there are many viable JD programs for them outside of that ‘top ten.'”

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