Judging the Law Schools


All raw data used in Judging the Law Schools came from the 1994 Review of Legal Education in the United States, published by the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions. Fifty categories were developed, based on the type of data collected and reported by the ABA, to rank law schools. Some of the categories are straight numerical computations. Other categories are calculations Judge Brennan thought to be significant ratios. The law schools were ranked according to the results.

The fifty categories were divided into five indexes: Institutional Index, Faculty Index, Diversity Index, Library Index, and Value Index. Two additional indexes, the Quality Index and Composite Index, were developed using the five descriptive indexes. In determining the Quality and Composite Indexes, the Library Index is weighted by a factor of four and the Faculty Index by a factor of two to achieve more balance among the five primary indexes. The weighting of the Faculty and Library Indexes is based on Judge Brennan`s experience and expertise in legal education and the assumption that the Faculty and Library data are an indication of a law school's academic resources.

The Quality Index does not include the Value Index because cost is not a component of quality. It also does not include the Diversity Index. While some may argue that learning in a diverse environment is more effective, others believe that a homogeneous environment is equally hospitable to learning.

The Composite Index makes no claim to identifying the best law schools in America. It does rank the schools according to the most objective criteria available and generally favors law schools which are conceded to be strong in most areas.

Categories and Indexes

Institutional Index

Age (Year of Approval by the American Bar Association)
Full-time Enrollment
Part-time Enrollment
Total Enrollment
Full-time Equivalent Enrollment
Post-graduate Enrollment
Total JD and Post Graduate Enrollment
Annualized Growth Since Approval
Juris Doctor Degrees Awarded, both full- and part-time students
First Year Enrollment
Ratio of Juris Doctor Degrees to First Year Enrollment
Number of Deans and Administrators
Students per Administrator
Number of Credit Hours Required to Graduate

Faculty Index

Full-time Faculty
Part-time Faculty
Total Faculty
Full-time Equivalent Student to Full-time Teacher Ratio
All Student to Full-time Faculty Ratio
All Student to All Faculty Ratio

Diversity Index

Number of Women Students
Number of Minority Students
Women Percent of Total Enrollment
Minority Percent of Total Enrollment
Full-time Women Faculty
Full-time Minority Faculty
Women Percent of Full-time Faculty
Minority Percent of Full-time Faculty

Library Index

Library Hard Copy Volumes
Library Microform Volumes
Total Library Volumes
Annualized Library Growth
Library Volumes per Full-time Equivalent Student
Library Volumes per Full-time Student
Library Volumes per Student
Library Volumes per Full-time Faculty Member
Library Volumes per All Faculty

Value Index

Annual Tuition for Full-time Resident Student
Annual Tuition for Full-time Nonresident student
Tuition per Credit Hour for Full-time Resident
Tuition per Credit Hour for Full-time Nonresident
Library Volumes per Dollar of Resident Tuition
Library Volumes per Dollar of Nonresident Tuition
Cost per Full-time Teacher for Residents
Cost per Full-time Teacher for Nonresidents
Cost per Deans and Staff for Residents
Cost per Deans and Staff for Nonresidents

Quality Index

Institutional Index
Faculty Index x 2 (weighted by a factor of 2)
Library Index x 4 (weighted by a factor of 4)

Composite Index

Institutional Index
Faculty Index x 2 (weighted by a factor of 2)
Library Index x 4 (weighted by a factor of 4)
Diversity Index
Value Index

Return to Thomas E. Brennan's Law School Rankings Menu.