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Law Graduates of Lower Ranking Schools Are Happier

People might expect graduates from low-ranking law schools to be not as happy with their legal careers as high-ranking law schools. This is because it is harder to compete with other graduates who went to top law schools, thus making it more difficult to land a job in a renowned law firm.

However, in a recent survey of 4500 law graduates who started their legal careers in 2000, the results showed a different outcome. Graduates of lower-ranked law schools were more likely to feel as if they had “made a mistake” by going to law school compared to graduates who went to top tier law schools.

Graduates from high-ranking schools had less debt about 7 years post graduation compared to low-ranking law school graduates. On the other hand, grads of lower-ranked school were more aggressive about paying off their debt. The reason for this difference might be because graduates from elite schools are more likely to come from relatively privileged backgrounds, and may be less focused on issues with money, and handle debt when they choose to or not have any at all.

The survey also found that lower-ranked graduates are more likely to stay in Big Law longer than elite school graduates. Those from elite schools have easier access to other Big Law firms, thus easier to move from firm to firm. Lower-ranked grads find secure positions with a firm and stay rather than move.

This is a contradicting view of graduates since a majority of opinions would expect lower-raked law graduates would regret their investment on their legal education. These surveys show a different perspective of law graduate satisfaction. One’s choice to go to law school should be based on their interest in the career field, and not on rankings. In addition, the size of someone’s law school debt does not correlate to one’s job satisfaction. No matter what school a person graduates from, the dedication to their legal profession will be a major contributor to their overall career satisfaction.

You can find the entire survey here.

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