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3 Tips for Law Students to Leverage a High Class Rank

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on August 16, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

By now, law school class ranks are undoubtedly out. Those numbers can be everything in legal education where everyone is comparatively evaluated.

If your rank isn't as high as you'd hoped then you have your work cut out for you. But if your number is up there, it's time to start thinking about how to leverage that success.

Being at the top of your class isn't just something to be proud of; it's something you can use as evidence of your own personal merit. If you haven't started considering your options given your superstar law student status, we have some ideas on how you can turn those stellar grades into a great opportunity.

  1. Negotiate scholarships. Most law schools offer scholarships for top incoming students but they also keep some available for the top 1L students. If that's you, there might be a merit scholarship waiting for you. Schedule a meeting with the dean in charge of financial aid and ask for more scholarship money. Your high class rank is your bargaining chip.

  2. Consider a transfer. If you've come out at the tip top of the pack, it may be possible for you to transfer to a better school. A higher ranked law school can mean better job opportunities after graduation so consider your options. July is a little late in the process to start putting together an application but if you have something to offer your new school that may be your foot in the door.

  3. Check out your OCI opportunities. Many employers have a class rank or GPA cutoff for fall campus interviews. Now that you know where you stand, you know what jobs will accept your application. Start researching the firms and opportunities that you can apply for now so that your cover letters will be personalized by the application deadline. Standing out of the crowd with a unique application can be a huge step in the direction of landing your dream job.

Class rank isn't everything, but a high rank can be a helpful tool in the quest for those elusive  big firm positions. But don't let a great class rank go to your head. Maintaining it is just as important as achieving it in the first place.

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