Engaged closely these days with strategic planning and developing innovations that will enhance the quality of a Northwestern legal education while also tackling the high costs and high debt of our students and graduates, we naturally turn our attention to how other schools are facing these challenges.
The wisdom of the law school crowds as a fertile source of guidance.
For at least the quarter century in which U.S. News rankings have perniciously influenced our functioning, the temptation and tendency of law schools was to follow the leader. Innovation was the exception, not the rule; law schools moved ahead with structural reforms incrementally, if at all. And, to one’s great surprise, reforms generally pushed toward business and educational models that looked very much like law schools ranked at or very near the top.
Everyone knows the next chapter: Law schools have found keeping up with the Harvards and Yales too expensive and insufficient attuned to the dynamics and needs of their professional contexts and student requirements.
A positive by-product of the present economic predicaments facing many American law schools, especially those at the top of the pecking order, has been fast-moving innovation and a refocus on the mission of the institution. With respect to employment in particular, many law schools have newly embraced their identity as regional law schools — as schools embedded in discrete regions of the U.S. and in service of the students who will likely seek careers in these regions. The regionalization of (most) U.S. law schools is a welcome development, if regrettable that it has taken severe economic pressures to push ahead these efforts.
on the role of the Association of American Law Schools, who I am privileged to served as president for 2014:
cross-posted from Prawfsblawg, where I am guest-posting for the next few days:
from a group of Harvard Law professors.
The reader can, without my help, think of various caveats about this study. (I will just mention one: there was a very selective group of employers surveyed).
Nonetheless, some interesting takeaways:
- Emphasis on business-related courses. Not only traditional business law courses, but also accounting & financial reporting;
- Intellectual property courses preferred. Three IP courses — survey course, patents, and copyright — on short list;
- Administrative law. Finally! Some validation of what I have been telling law students for two decades
Despite the limitations of the study, the general project of asking practicing lawyers what students should study in law school strikes me as a worthwhile one. Let’s see some more systematic surveys!
and, further, they say that they would do this again.
These and other interesting conclusions from major study conducted by American Bar Foundation researchers. Here is a short press report (with an unfortunate title, which rely belies the basic thrust of the study).
I will post more on the “After the JD” study anon.
In addition to high ranking in previous post, here is some additional data from NLJ:
Go-to law firms for selected major law firms. Baker & McKenzie, Kirkland & Ellis, and McDermott, Will, & Emery are at the top for NU Law.
Associates to partner has Northwestern in the high echelon.
Here is a chart that juxtaposes go-to law firm ranking with U.S. News rankings. NU Law overperforms more than any other law school in the T14.
Finally, the last chart is interesting. It puts NU Law in the highest quintile for overall value (placement/cost).
This is actual data, not surveys. Gives some very useful perspective on the question of comparative success in one (though certainly not the only) measure of law school success.