Why attend U. of Virginia or U. Michigan for law school?

If someone has a choice of law schools ranked between 6 and 15 by US News & World Report, such as Cornell and Penn (both Ivy League) and Duke, why would anyone pick U. of Virginia or U. of Michigan, which are less-prestigious universities overall? Only U. of Virginia and U. of Michigan Law Schools are ranked... show more If someone has a choice of law schools ranked between 6 and 15 by US News & World Report, such as Cornell and Penn (both Ivy League) and Duke, why would anyone pick U. of Virginia or U. of Michigan, which are less-prestigious universities overall? Only U. of Virginia and U. of Michigan Law Schools are ranked in the top 15; most other programs at those two universities are in the 20s or 30s.

If you say you go to Cornell, Penn or Duke, you'll get respect, and people will know that you're smart. If you say that you go to U. of Virginia or U. of Michigan, people won't necessarily know that you're really smart, since those state schools overall are ranked far below Cornell, Penn or Duke. Only some lawyers will know that you're smart if you say that you go to U. of Virginia or U. of Michigan.

So...unless you get in-state tuition or a generous scholarship, why not pick a law school that is part of a very prestigious university, rather than a comparably difficult law school that is part of a less-well-regarded university?
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