'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

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imalongshot
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'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby imalongshot » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:16 am

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202477605227

By: Karen Sloan

Numerical rankings could be coming to the law schools that U.S. News & World Report categorizes as third tier — meaning those 42 schools would be subject to the same up-and- down fluctuations watched so closely among the top 100.

U.S. News research director Robert Morse told legal educators during the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting in San Francisco last week that he is considering extending the numerical rankings in the new edition, which is due on March 15. The change would bring the law school rankings in line with recent modifications to the publication's Best Colleges rankings.

"It's something that we're looking into," Morse said. "We do have ranking scores for all law schools but, editorially, we didn't want to say, 'This is the 188th law school [representing last place].' "

U.S. News now provides numerical rankings for the top 100 law schools, but combines the remaining schools into third and fourth tiers without distinguishing between the schools in each tier. Schools within each of those tiers are listed alphabetically. Morse said that the bottom 25% of law schools would continue to be ranked alphabetically.

"We think the public finds numerical ranking more understandable," Morse said.

Critics told Morse during the AALS meeting that the tier format creates an artificial distinction between the schools on either side of the cutoff between the numerical rankings and the third tier. One questioner described the third tier as being relegated to "outer darkness."

Several deans at third-tier law schools said Monday that expanding the numerical rankings either would not make a huge difference or would be a benefit. Bloggers and others have used U.S. News' methodology to extend the rankings beyond the top 100, and U.S. News will inform unranked law schools of their ranking if asked, said Bryant Garth, dean of Southwestern Law School, which is in the third tier.

"It's not a big event," Garth said. "Everybody suffers from the fact that there can be huge swings in the rankings year to year, which are meaningless. It will magnify the importance of your particular number, which the top 100 schools already have to deal with."

New York Law School Dean Richard Matasar said he would prefer to see U.S. News reduce the number of schools it ranks numerically rather than expand it, since there is very little difference between the quality of education offered at most schools. The most prestigious legal employers pay attention to the rankings of the top schools, but make virtually no distinction between all other schools, he said. Thus, assigning numerical rankings outside the top 20 or so schools creates the false impression that there is a clear difference in quality of education or job prospects, Matasar said.

"How they do the ranking right now doesn't make sense," he said. "The difference between No. 6 and No. 9 or 100 and 101 is minimal. You're really taking things that are essentially identical and treating them as though there is a difference."

Wayne State University Law School Dean Robert Ackerman welcomed the prospect for change. "I think we would prefer to be listed by rank rather than alphabetical order," he said. He noted that the latter tends to place his institution toward the bottom of the list. "Psychologically, I think it makes a difference that we are listed at the end of the third tier," Ackerman said. "I think people would make less of a distinction between schools ranked 1 through 150 than they now do between the second and third quartile."

Garth noted that a certain comfort level comes with inclusion in the third tier, where schools aren't compared head-to-head. "You never know what will make a difference to a prospective law student," he said.

Law school administrators attending the AALS meeting also pressed Morse on the validity of employment statistics reflected in the U.S. News rankings, and asked why the publication doesn't do more to ensure that the reported figures are true.

Morse acknowledged that some law schools game the rankings, which take into account the percentage of graduates with jobs at graduation and those with jobs nine months after graduation. However, he noted that U.S. News uses the same definition of employment — which includes those in non-legal jobs and temporary jobs created by law schools — as do the American Bar Association and the National Association for Law Placement. Those groups should take the lead in devising a new way to report employment data, he said.

"If the ABA comes up with a new definition or calculation standard, U.S. News would go along with it," Morse said.

Karen Sloan can be conacted at ksloan@alm.com.

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2Serious4Numbers
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby 2Serious4Numbers » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:21 am

Interesting read. I can def see where Wayne state is coming from but in the end ranking them really doesn't change anything

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NYC_7911
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby NYC_7911 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:08 pm


Kobe_Teeth
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:13 pm

This is a stupid idea. TTT schools' are regional schools. Ranking them in a national magazine will make naive students think that if they go to school #105 their school will be significantly better than school #150, which is false.

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thelaststraw05
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby thelaststraw05 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:23 pm

Kobe_Teeth wrote:This is a stupid idea. TTT schools' are regional schools. Ranking them in a national magazine will make naive students think that if they go to school #105 their school will be significantly better than school #150, which is false.


The counter-argument being:

You're right. Third tier law schools are regional schools, as are William Mitchell and University of the Pacific. Why should there be an arbitrary distinction between #100 and #101. The law school ranked #101 in the nation is likely no more regional than the law school ranked immediately before it.

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UnTouChablE
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby UnTouChablE » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:23 pm

Kobe_Teeth wrote:This is a stupid idea. TTT schools' are regional schools. Ranking them in a national magazine will make naive students think that if they go to school #105 their school will be significantly better than school #150, which is false.


+1. It is irresponsible to even float an idea like this, but since US News bears zero liability for their reporting i am not completely surprised.

ran12
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby ran12 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:33 pm

There's def truth to what one of the dean's said about ranking maybe the top 20 and just listing the rest. Beyond the top 20, there are a handful of schools that have national reach and most are regional. The quality of education is really no different past the top 20 or so at most of the schools. The current rankings create an extra sense of prestige for schools ranked in the T1 or T2 range but it's a prestige that's really nonexistent.

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thelaststraw05
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby thelaststraw05 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:04 pm

ran12 wrote:There's def truth to what one of the dean's said about ranking maybe the top 20 and just listing the rest. Beyond the top 20, there are a handful of schools that have national reach and most are regional. The quality of education is really no different past the top 20 or so at most of the schools. The current rankings create an extra sense of prestige for schools ranked in the T1 or T2 range but it's a prestige that's really nonexistent.


I think that is the key. Either we need to just rank them all OR we should only rank the top 20 (or 30?) and let the rest fall out in tiers.

Maybe make the tiers a little smaller (20 laws schools per tier?) so that the idea is clear. Tier 4 are all about the same and general better than tier 3 and worse than tier 4.

But the biggest thing would actually to make it MEAN something.

HeavenWood
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby HeavenWood » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:23 pm

Kobe_Teeth wrote:This is a stupid idea. TTT schools' are regional schools.


Hell, even the T14 are somewhat regional.

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androstan
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby androstan » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:25 pm

HeavenWood wrote:
Kobe_Teeth wrote:This is a stupid idea. TTT schools' are regional schools.


Hell, even the T14 are somewhat regional.


The fact is, it's just easier to interview and recruit from a place that's a few miles away than a place that's a few hundred (or even thousand) miles away.

The question is, how much time and resources is an employer willing to invest in order to interview/recruit at a praticular place? If the employer is near one or more schools s/he likes and is getting enough qualified candidates locally, that employer would be pretty tempted to save the hassle of flying people out to NYC, DC, PA, Chicago, etc.

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BruceWayne
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby BruceWayne » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:34 pm

It seems like every market but DC follows the local preference approach.

09042014
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby 09042014 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:37 pm

BruceWayne wrote:It seems like every market but DC follows the local preference approach.


NYC is like half and half.

Revolver066
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby Revolver066 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:01 pm

I wish there was a section where the schools were ranked by job prospects/prestige per region/market(from schools 15 on down). For example, if I wanted to work in CA, it could rank top14, UCLA,USC, UCI, Hastings, Davis, Pepperdine, Loyola, etc. It could also rank any schools outside of CA that have any pull in CA. That way people (like me) could see if going to Loyola (ranked 56) is a better option than going to say Iowa (ranked 26) for work in CA.

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smokeylarue
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby smokeylarue » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:34 pm

Dumb question but what does TTT mean? I've seen it tossed around a lot

BlueDiamond
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby BlueDiamond » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:34 pm

smokeylarue wrote:Dumb question but what does TTT mean? I've seen it tossed around a lot


third tier toilet

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D. H2Oman
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby D. H2Oman » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:35 pm

Finally the debate over who's the true 154th best school will be settled.

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androstan
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby androstan » Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:20 pm

BruceWayne wrote:It seems like every market but DC follows the local preference approach.


A point against going to GW?

HeavenWood
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby HeavenWood » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:28 pm

androstan wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:It seems like every market but DC follows the local preference approach.


A point against going to GW?


Not if you want DC and can't get into a T14 (although I would not recommend it at sticker).

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jackattack17
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby jackattack17 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:40 pm

on a much more important note, the new rankings will be out march 15, which coincides nicely with initial seat deposit deadlines

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Bildungsroman
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby Bildungsroman » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:44 pm

How about they only numerically rank the top 50 schools and then separate the rest into tiers with insulting names?

HeavenWood
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby HeavenWood » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:46 pm

Bildungsroman wrote:How about they only numerically rank the top 50 12 schools and then separate the rest into tiers with insulting names?


FTFY

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AreJay711
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby AreJay711 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:49 pm

I think it would hurt since some people would choose a TTT that is ranked higher over one where they might want to practice.

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ggocat
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby ggocat » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:48 pm

AreJay711 wrote:I think it would hurt since some people would choose a TTT that is ranked higher over one where they might want to practice.

I have no sympathy for someone who does that.

I've got to side with the ttt deans on this one. Either rank all schools or none (or very few). The current system creates an extremely artificial distinction. At least if all schools are ranked, student will get to see the raw scores and how few "points" really differentiate the second, third, and fourth tiers. (although I feel somewhat dirty just suggesting that perspectives use usnwr).

BlueDiamond
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby BlueDiamond » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:52 pm

I can't see how this helps USNews?? How many more subscriptions/whatever they sell will they actually sell from ranking those schools? I'm under the impression that 95% (just a guess of course) of those who attend do so without doing a whole lot of research on it. How will ranking the schools change that?

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androstan
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Re: 'U.S. News' considering giving third tier law schools a #

Postby androstan » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:56 am

HeavenWood wrote:
androstan wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:It seems like every market but DC follows the local preference approach.


A point against going to GW?


Not if you want DC and can't get into a T14 (although I would not recommend it at sticker).


How about part-time with an SO to cover living expenses?




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