The 2019 Revealed-Preferences Ranking of Law Schools

7 Belmont L. Rev. 86-113 (2019)

Roger Williams Univ. Legal Studies Paper No. 191

28 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2019 Last revised: 20 May 2020

See all articles by CJ Ryan

CJ Ryan

Roger Williams University School of Law; American Bar Foundation

Brian L. Frye

University of Kentucky - College of Law

Date Written: March 15, 2019


In 2017, we published A Revealed-Preferences Ranking of Law Schools, which presented the first (intentionally) objective ranking of law schools. Other law school rankings are subjective because their purpose is to tell prospective law students where to matriculate. Our “revealed-preferences” ranking is objective because its purpose is to ask where prospective law students actually choose to matriculate. In other words, subjective rankings tell students what they should want, but our objective ranking reveals what students actually want. These rankings were originally based on an average of the previous five-years of LSAT and GPA quartile and median averages for law schools. We updated these rankings with a 2018 ranking that focused exclusively on the 75th, median, and 25th quartiles of each of these measures for the matriculating class in Fall 2017. We have modified our rankings yet again in 2019. The methodology for our latest Revealed-Preferences Ranking of Law Schools considers not only a law school’s success at enrolling law students with the best entering credentials but also its ability to retain those students.

We present our latest rankings, the 2019 Revealed-Preferences Rankings of Law Schools, as an objective measure of the law schools that are most successful at recruiting the best first year students and then losing the fewest students to the transfer market. Our present rankings cannot be directly compared to our previous rankings, because we have changed the methodology each year that we have produced these rankings. We believe the new methodology reflects the optimal objective ranking of law schools, given the available data on student preferences. Nevertheless, for the convenience of readers, we have included our prior-year revealed-preferences ranking, as well as other subjective ranking systems, in the rankings tables below. Finally, we once again provide regional rankings of law schools based on our 2019 Revealed-Preferences Ranking methodology.

Keywords: Rankings, US News & World Report, Law Schools, Legal Education, Revealed-Preferences Rankings

JEL Classification: D11, D12, K10, I20, I21, I23, I29, P46

Suggested Citation

Ryan, Christopher and Frye, Brian L., The 2019 Revealed-Preferences Ranking of Law Schools (March 15, 2019). 7 Belmont L. Rev. 86-113 (2019), Roger Williams Univ. Legal Studies Paper No. 191, Available at SSRN:

Christopher Ryan (Contact Author)

Roger Williams University School of Law ( email )

10 Metacom Avenue
Bristol, RI 02809
United States

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Brian L. Frye

University of Kentucky - College of Law ( email )

620 S. Limestone Street
Lexington, KY 40506-0048
United States


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