ZachOda wrote:Just saw the USNews 2011 rankings for law schools, and URichmond and UOregon are in the 80's. Are they really that bad of schools or is there something else to it? As is stands right now I don't want to apply anyplace below 35 in ranking but those two looked good on paper until I actually referenced the new list. Any advice on them would help, thanks
It's all relative brah. If you want to practice biglaw in DC then yeah, Oregon's ranking is pretty legit. But if you want to stay in Portland/Seattle, pay cheap tuition + COL for three years and don't mind competing with UW grads for the prestigious jobs then Oregon is #1 according to USNews 2011 - infinity
I'll also add that not all regional schools are equal, despite being ranked similarly:
Richmond is ranked #86, costs around 50k a year and places in the South Atlantic region and competes with the following schools: GULC, GW, American, UVA, UNC, Wake, Duke, Emory, Vanderbilt, Alabama, W&M, W&L, and all the other regionals. If you're looking at a major market such as DC, then Richmond is competing with all of these schools + the T13.
This means that Richmond grads graduate with ~150k in debt and are restricted to a market with extreme competition. Even if you are the top of your class you will still be competing with the top 10% of about 15 other reputable schools in the region. Those numbers add up fast. Some people will go so far as to say that this situation upon graduation is tantamount to "shit job prospects," and they might even be right, but I'm pretty equitable so I'll just say that most Richmond grads probably face an uphill battle looking for work in a saturated and competitive market.
Oregon, on the other hand, is ranked #80 and costs around 35k a year and places in the Pacific Northwest competing with UW, L&C, Seattle U, Gonzaga, and Willimette.
An Oregon grad will graduate with ~105k in debt and is looking at being about the 3rd best school in the region, though some will argue it places equally well as L&C. This is a pretty good situation, as the competition can probably be said to be in check if you are around the top of your class. This results in good prospects for most and less debt for all--always a good thing in an uncertain economy.
It's instances like this--comparing schools such as these--that the rankings are even more meaningless than usual.