David Bernstein (Law, George Mason), and his co-blogger Orin Kerr (Law, George Washington), have been discussing considerations related to choosing a law school. I want to focus on one particular comment of Professor Bernstein's:
if you want to be a law professor, you MUST try to go to a top 15, and preferably top 5, law school.
As Larry Solum (Law, San Diego) remarks here (and as data Solum has collected and I have collected in the past confirm), it's really not the case that "top five" is the relevant parameter: per capita, Yale Law School leads everyone by a wide margin in producing new law teachers (not a good thing for the legal academy, but that's a subject for a different day); after Yale, Harvard and Stanford lead everyone else, again by substantial margins (Harvard leads in gross numbers, but per capita, Harvard and Stanford are largely neck-and-neck). "Top 3" not "top 5" is probably the more relevant parameter.
And even there some caveats are needed. For "law and philosophy," it wouldn't make much sense to go to Harvard or Stanford; for "law and empirical social science," Cornell, Berkeley, and Northwestern are extremely attractive (not more attractive than the top 3, necessarily, but a better choice than most others in the top 15); for "law and economics," someone not in to one of the top schools strong in that area ought to be choosing George Mason over many other schools more highly ranked overall by U.S. News and by reliable measures.