The LST Reports are user-friendly tools for sorting law school employment outcomes, costs, admissions stats, and more. Understanding these data and their impact on your career and life goals sets the foundation for finding the right school for you, if any.
The LST Reports are not rankings, although they do serve as an alternative to conventional law school rankings. Both provide the opportunity to decide which schools to apply to and which one to attend. But unlike rankings, the LST Reports do not reduce complex data to a single metric. This has proven wholly inadequate for students. Instead, the LST Reports focus on observable relationships to specific legal markets and job types. That said, we do have an algorithm that "ranks" relevant schools according to their personal preferences. Critically, it is not an ordinal ranking and aims to show how close a school is to your goals.
Choosing to attend law school is a life-changing decision. The LST Reports are designed to give you the space to consider important questions that sometimes lead to uncomfortable answers: "Are any of the schools I can get admitted to worth the cost?" "What does the debt I take out look like when it's time to pay it back, and will I be able to afford such payments?" "Why are so many law schools placing fewer than half their graduates into the legal profession, even though they keep increasing tuition?"
These urgent questions will continue to lead many people to wonder whether it is the right time for them to attend law school. We want prospective students to know that it's as ok to say no (or at least, wait) as it is to say yes. Law schools have failed to foresee and failed to address many problems with legal education. As prospective students continue to realize the gravity of these problems, the answers increasingly look different than they have in the past.
Treating the LST Reports like rankings may produce bad decisions. For example, sorting schools by Employment Score on a state report will not provide a quick answer as to the school with the best outcomes in that particular state. This will show you which school has the highest overall Employment Score—the percentage of graduates with employment outcomes that proxy a successful start to a legal career—but not the preferability of those jobs. The latter will depend on your career objectives, and will require you to dig deeper into the data to see what differentiates schools. Due to the wide range of entry-level legal jobs, two law schools may have similar Employment Scores but demonstrate stark differences in what types of legal jobs their graduates are getting.
Similarly, the LST Wizard produces a score indexed to 1.00. A score of 1.00 reflects a school that meets your job goals as you defined them. The relative positioning actually tells you something meaningful, but is also intended as a jumping off point for assessing whether to attend and how much to pay.
We strongly encourage you to start by first reading through these guides. These guides discuss data sources, the rates and scores we use throughout the LST Reports, and even limits of the LST Reports that you should know about before you dive in.
We cannot overstate the importance of looking at the LST Reports as a starting point. Use them to challenge common assumptions about different schools' reputations. Focus on outcomes and how much it will cost you to get there. Reputation, after all, is only as valuable as the ends you want that it can actually help you achieve. You can't eat prestige.