Location, Location, Location. A recent Bloomberg Law survey revealed location to be the most-considered factor in the law school decision process, besting several others, including ranking, tuition, financial aid, university prestige, and campus culture.
More specifically, 71% of respondents to the Law School Preparedness Survey (which included more than 1,000 practicing attorneys, law students, law school faculty, and law librarians) reported that location factored into the decision to attend their law school. In fact, it was the most popular choice across all four respondent groups.
While law school ranking was the second most common, it was selected by only half of the respondents—not exactly a close race!
This may come as a surprise to many, since ranking and prestige are often the most talked about categories in discussions regarding what law schools to apply to and, ultimately, attend. Most law school applicants know what the T-14 are—and which schools follow closely behind—before they even take the LSAT.
So why was location so highly regarded among respondents? My immediate thought was that law school applicants are choosing schools located in the cities they want to work in and reside in long term. In my own experience, only a small number of my classmates stayed in the same city after graduation. (I didn’t.) But if this truly is the reason, then maybe my experience is not the norm.
In addition to staying long term, location is often associated with other appealing factors such as legal markets, family ties, community connections, bar passage rates, and alumni networks. With these in mind, choosing a law school based on location may not be that surprising after all.
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