by Jeff Sovern
For a variety of reasons, what elite law schools do has an effect on legal education disproportionate to the numbers of such schools. For one reason, most law professors attended an elite law school, and their vision of what a law school should be is informed by their experiences as students. Consequently, if elite law schools offer a consumer law course, future law professors are more likely to see such a course as appropriate for their law school to offer; if the school they went to didn't offer such a course, law professors have an easier time seeing the subject as one a school can do without. So how do the elite law schools do at offering consumer law classes? According to our survey, only eight of the schools ranked in the top fourteen offer some form of a consumer law course or clinic (Harvard, Chicago, Penn, Virginia, Michigan, Duke, Berkeley, and Georgetown). The top schools not doing so include Yale, Stanford, Columbia, NYU, Cornell, and Northwestern. Put another way, 57% of elite law schools have a consumer law offering of one kind or another, which is close to the percentage for non-elite schools. So when it comes to consumer law, the elite schools as a whole are just ordinary.