Law School Guide Fills Void of Traditional Rankings

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Online resource helps applicants find “best” schools based on personal criteria

Law schools are at a critical point in determining how they will train future leaders in the profession

Researching the “best” law school rankings might be easy, but finding the best law school for you is a much more daunting task. The re-designed and updated 2009 Equal Justice Works Guide to Law Schools makes that task easier. The result of a unique collaboration between Equal Justice Works and more than 150 law schools, the online guide fills a void left by commercial law school resource guides and rankings and helps users make more informed decisions about their choices of schools and careers by allowing them to compare schools based on the criteria most relevant to them.

Traditional law school resource guides provide information about tuition, test scores, and post-graduate placements, but often ignore information that may be more important to an individual applicant – information about student and faculty involvement in public interest projects, overall affordability and availability of programs that provide practical skills training through work with real clients and cases. The Equal Justice Works Guide helps students find the best match for them by allowing side-by-side comparisons of law school financial aid and affordability factors, faculty involvement, the range of clinical, externship and pro bono opportunities, and offerings in specific areas of interest such as Human Rights, Immigration or Environmental Law.

“For many students, the highest ranked law school may not be ‘the best’ school for them,” said David Stern, Chief Executive Officer for Equal Justice Works. “Our goal in creating this guide was to provide a resource to help law school applicants look beyond lists and rankings and undertake independent research to find schools that meet both their practical needs and their educational goals. We also created this guide as a tool to highlight the range of ways law schools are preparing students to fulfill their professional responsibility to provide quality legal services to underrepresented people and causes.”

The Equal Justice Works Guide to Law Schools provides updated and more comprehensive school profiles than previous versions, and has been re-designed to include a new navigation menu. Enhanced search capabilities also allow users to create their own set of search criteria and compare responses with contextual information. For instance, a user query for loan repayment assistance programs will also produce information about overall tuition costs and average student debt.

“The information found in the Equal Justice Works Guide to Law Schools is the ‘missing piece’ needed to make the law school research process comprehensive and complete for prospective students,” said Diane Chin, Director of the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law at Stanford University Law School. “Law schools are at a critical point in determining how they will train future leaders in the profession, incorporate increasing opportunities for students to get hands-on training through clinical courses, externships and pro bono opportunities, as well as create more resources and opportunities for those dedicated to public interest careers. This guide is the best resource to capture this vital information for those making important decisions about their futures.”

In addition to law school applicants, The Equal Justice Works Guide provides valuable information to current students who are looking for fresh ideas regarding student group activities, curricular and co-curricular offerings at other schools; law school faculty and staff who are looking for ideas to improve or expand their current programs; and public service employers seeking schools that provide students with courses, practical skills training and opportunities that are a good match for their hiring needs.

The Equal Justice Guide to Law Schools is available at http://www.ejwguide.com.

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Sally Carlson

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