Cornell Law has struggled to break through the traditionally stable rankings, having failed to move above the 13-spot since at least 2010.

Katie Sims / Sun Staff Photographer

Cornell Law has struggled to break through the traditionally stable rankings, having failed to move above the 13-spot since at least 2010.

March 7, 2019

Cornell Law Holds 13-Spot, But Trails Ivy Rivals in Annual Law School Ranking

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Correction appended.

Cornell Law will once again be the United States’ 13th top law school, according to a leaked copy of the U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings posted yesterday on Above the Law, a well-known legal blog.

Every year, U.S. News — which is best known for its annual ranking of undergraduate schools — scores 192 law schools on the basis of selectivity, post-graduation placement success, faculty resources, bar passage and peer and professional assessment scores, according to the survey’s website.

While maintaining its membership to the exclusive “Top-14” — a group of schools historically placed at the top of U.S. News’ report — Cornell Law still ranks below the four Ivies that also offer a J.D. program: Yale, Harvard, Columbia and The University of Pennsylvania. This year, Cornell placed between Northwestern and Georgetown — and six spots behind Penn, its closest Ivy competitor.

Cornell Law has struggled to break through the traditionally stable rankings, having failed to move above the 13-spot since at least 2010. However, since the survey began in 1987, it has never fallen out of the venerated “T14.”

Last year’s U.S. News rankings estimated that almost 91 percent of Cornell Law graduates found a job upon graduation, with the median private sector salary ringing in at $180,000 — figures comparable to its peers. The class of 2021 had an acceptance rate of 21 percent, median GPA of 3.82 and LSAT of 167, according to Cornell’s website — making it “moderately competitive,” popular admissions website Law School Numbers wrote.

The National Law Journal, which publishes a competing ranking system that emphasizes employment outcomes over other factors, ranked Cornell fourth on its 2017 list of schools that place the highest percentage of students into the country’s 100 largest law firms.

Though Cornell’s Law School has yet to produce a Supreme Court Justice, the school’s alumni span a wide variety of political, judicial and business positions: high-profile graduates have included Tsai Ing-wen LL.M ’80, the current President of Taiwan, Edmund Muskie JD ’39, a former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State and at least 30 current or former members of the federal Judiciary.

According to the school’s website, 97.2 percent of students are employed within nine months of graduation, and last month the Cornell Law Review received media attention for electing an all-female board.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Class of 2022 had an acceptance rate of 31 percent, median GPA of 3.82 and LSAT of 167. In fact, it was the Class of 2021 that had an acceptance rate of 21 percent, median GPA of 3.82 and LSAT of 167.