JRMjr wrote:notice columbia? did anyone panic when they went 3 to 6? I mean this whole thing is a bizarre discussion predicated on assumptions that change over time. What was a good law school 30 years ago might not be one now and further... USNWR really doesnt mean anything to anyone that has their head on straight. It might matter to a kid who is getting mommy and daddy to pay for their 3 year grad degree and they want prestige but if you are a mature individual thats slightly self-confident, you'll go to a school thats the "right fit" and then realize that 3 years of diligent work makes that stuff irrelevant.
The data I listed isn't all USNWR. It's just surveys of deans from the 70s compared with USNEWS deans surveys in the late 80s and the 0s. It actually seems to show precisely the opposite: what was a good law school 30 years ago is quite likely to be a good law school today.
I don't really think the problem is that the "USNWR really doesnt mean anything..." but rather that it means less than some people seem to think. For example, if you look at my lsn you will see (long story as to why) a fairly wide net of schools I've applied to with the lowest ranking admit currently being UNM and the highest ranking being NYU. I think it's fair to say that NYU provides a more flexible, national and prestigious degree that UNM, and realistically I'm likely to withdraw from UNM shortly.
The problem comes when people compare two very similar institutions based on the rankings alone. Since we are talking about Michigan, I think it would be foolish to turn down Michigan in comparison with--say Columbia--based purely on the ranking. If you go to Michigan and really like it there, and go to Columbia and feel pretty blah about it, then that ought to be reason enough to choose Michigan right there. Columbia *might* on *average* yield *marginally* better opportunities for graduates than Michigan, but these differences just aren't as big as they seem to be when you look at some list with 4 by columbia and 9 by michigan.
The link is useful but if you take it at face value I think its deceiving.
I don't know what's deceiving about it. The link suggests to me that if you'd asked in around in the legal academy about who the five best schools are, Michigan would have appeared far more often in 1977 than 2007. Hence it dropped off--again slightly--in reputation.
What the information doesn't suggest is that between 1997 and 2007 Michigan has experienced some significant downturn in reputation. In fact the reputation suggests that it has been pretty consistent since then. Further it doesn't in anyway suggest that someone should be worried that during the 3 years they are in law school Michigan is going to fall apart (again, the data actually suggests that that's highly unlikely).
So, I don't think taking the data at "face value" is much of a problem. I think forgetting what the data actually says and what it is (just a survey after all) is a problem.