In general, I’m a skeptic of rankings for schools. My view is that decisions about where to go should depend not just on the school but on the student and her or his individual goals and interests. There’s no way that a single ranking system can represent the best choices for everyone. So I’m all for individuals who are willing and able to put together their own lists. Here’s one from Josh Gellers, currently Assistant Director of the Focused Research Group in International Environmental Cooperation at UC Irvine and a graduate student in political science. (Hat tip: Environmental Law Prof Blog)
The best thing about Josh’s ranking system, in my view, is that it at least tries to combine a law school’s commitment to environmental law as a specialty with its more general resources and ability to get its students jobs. In my view, both are important — I have long been advising students to go to the best law school they can get into that also has a strong environmental law program. (And of course it doesn’t hurt Josh’s ratings in my eyes that he has Berkeley at #2.) But you should take my views, and Josh’s ratings, with a big grain of salt. View them through your own lenses with attention to the factors you think matter most for you. Notice how much weight Josh has put on various factors, and consider whether you agree or not. Compare his rankings with the US News specialty rankings (first 10 schools only available here), which are based entirely on reputational surveys of environmental law professors, and the US News overall law school rankings. If possible, talk to current and former law students at the schools that interest you, and to prospective employers. Then take your very best shot in the dark.