Bloomberg Business named the Kline School of Law the second-most underrated law school in the U.S. in an article on June 30.
The article cites a new study by a University of North Carolina law professor that reveals that the highly influential U.S. News & World Report has significantly under-ranked the Kline School of Law.
The study ranks the Kline School of Law 87th among the 195 ABA-accredited law schools, based solely on student aptitude and graduate employment measures. When law review citations are taken into account, the study ranked the Kline School of Law at 113. The study contrasted these findings with the school’s placement at 127 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings published in March 2015.
The study notes that the Kline School of Law placed 40 spots ahead of its U.S. News rank when median LSAT and employment data is considered, revealing that graduates “have better employment outcomes than their U.S. News rank would predict.”
Study author Alfred L. Brophy, the Judge John J. Parker Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina, posted his findings on The Faculty Lounge blog, which was co-founded by Daniel Filler, the senior associate dean for academic and faculty affairs.
Brophy’s “Ranking Law Schools, 2015: Student Aptitude, Employment Outcome, Law Review Citations” was based on data each law school reported to the ABA regarding the median LSAT of entering students in the fall of 2014 and the percentage of graduates from the Class of 2014 who had found long-term, full-time JD-required jobs nine months after graduating (excluding those who became solo practitioners or received school-funded jobs). Brophy cited data on law review citations tallied by the law library at Washington and Lee University.
Brophy produced an additional ranking that took law review citations into account to reflect the quality of scholarship appearing in each school’s primary scholarly journals.
The study comes amid ongoing debate concerning the accuracy of the U.S. News rankings, given their tremendous influence on prospective students’ decisions about which law schools to attend.
“One of my hopes is that this paper will add to the growing interest in alternative measures,” Brophy wrote.
The Bloomberg article quotes Brophy as observing that the distinctions between many law schools are minor.
"The difference between a Toyota Corolla and a Nissan Sentra isn't that great," Brophy said in the article. "That's the analogy I would make."