U.S. News collected these same statistics when we surveyed the schools for our annual rankings, along with the same data on those members of the class who were employed at graduation.
For this year's rankings, U.S. News incorporated this richer data into our computation of the employment measure for the class of 2011 at graduation and nine months later. Placement success was calculated by assigning various weights to the number of grads employed in 22 of these different types of post-J.D. jobs and durations.
Full weight was given for graduates who had a full-time job lasting at least a year where bar passage was required or a J.D. degree was an advantage.
Less weight went to full-time, long-term jobs that were professional or nonprofessional and did not require bar passage, to pursuit of an additional advanced degree, and to positions whose start dates were deferred. The lowest weight applied to jobs categorized as both part-time and short-term.
All these weighted figures were then divided by the total number of 2011 J.D. graduates and were used in the ranking formula only and are not published.
Employment stats displayed in the ranking tables reflect actual rates (out of the total number of 2011 J.D. graduates) for the full-weight jobs: full-time, long-term, and where a J.D. and bar passage are necessary or advantageous. Actual rates for the other types of positions appear in the profiles of each school's latest graduating class. All these employment data are only available via a U.S. News Law School Compass subscription.
Bar passage rate (0.02): This is the ratio of the school's bar passage rate of the 2011 graduating class to that jurisdiction's overall state bar passage rate for first-time test takers in winter 2011 and summer 2011.
The jurisdiction listed is the state where the largest number of 2011 graduates took the state bar exam. The state bar examination pass rates for first-time test takers in winter 2011 and summer 2011 were provided by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
Faculty resources (weighted by 0.15)
Expenditures per student: This is the average expenditures per student for the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years. The average instruction, library, and supporting services (0.0975) are measured, as are all other items, including financial aid (0.015).
Student-faculty ratio (0.03): This is the ratio of students to faculty members for 2012, using the American Bar Association definition.
Library resources (0.0075): This is the total number of volumes and titles in the school's law library at the end of the 2012 fiscal year.
Data were standardized about their means, and standardized scores were weighted, totaled, and rescaled so that the top school received 100; others received their percentage of the top score.
Extended law school rankings: In response to interest from both readers and institutions in knowing where more law schools sit, for the third year in a row, we have extended the list of numerically ranked institutions from the top 100 to the top three quarters of the schools. The remaining schools, or the bottom 25 percent of those that are ranked, are listed alphabetically as Rank Not Published (see full explanation below of Rank Not Published).
Schools not ranked and listed as Unranked: University of California—Irvine, University of La Verne, and University of Massachusetts—Dartmouth are listed as Unranked because as of January 2013, they were only provisionally approved by the American Bar Association. Three other law schools—Pontifical Catholic University and Inter American University in Puerto Rico, and the University of Puerto Rico—did not provide sufficient data to be ranked.