What a difference three years makes.

When would-be attorneys are choosing between law schools, most put a premium on school rankings, according to a study that Kaplan Test Prep released in June. In fact, 32 percent of prospective law students said that a school’s ranking was the most important factor in their decision, followed by geographic location (22 percent) and academic programming (20 percent). Despite widespread reports of a dismal legal jobs market and rising law school debt, few pre-law students rated affordability/tuition (13 percent) and job placement statistics (8 percent) as top concerns.

Recent law school graduates, however, have very different advice for prospective lawyers. In a follow-up study released today, Kaplan asked the graduates this question: “Which of the following factors would you tell prospective law students should be the most important when picking where to apply?”

Nearly half of all respondents said that students should take in account a law school’s job placement rate and the affordability of its tuition (each response earned 24 percent). Only 17 percent of post-grads said that a school’s ranking was the most important factor to consider.

Read more on the surveys from the Wall Street Journal.

And for more InsideCounsel coverage of law schools, see:

DOJ says LSAT is discriminatory

ABA will discuss accreditation of foreign law schools

Judge tosses Cooley Law grads’ lawsuit

Yale Law School will offer Ph.D.s

Law school applicants value school rankings over job placement rates

2011 law school grads face worst job market in 18 years

Law school debt estimates exceed $200,000 for class of 2015