There aren't a lot of good answers for the WUSTL hate on TLS. I think the best answer is that it just boils down to it being a small private school in the non-Chicago midwest and that most people aren't very familiar with it. So they assume that it is "gaming the rankings" to be so highly rated at everything. People also accuse WUSTL of gaming rankings for undergrad (where it's been above Ivies such as Brown and Cornell for 10+ years now) and medical schools (where it was recently #1 and is now #4, consistently better than even Yale and Stanford). The undergrad program for instance had over 28,000 applications this year for 1,500 spaces. WUSTL, with its massive endowment and Nobel laureate prowess, will always be highly rated in most fields of study. And yet east and west coasters have never been there and have barely heard of it. Haters gonna hate.
To address concerns about the lawl school specifically:
1. WUSTL takes splitters.
No shit. Nearly every school 19 to 30 accepts splitters with a smile. I'm a splitter, and Indiana offered me a $120,000 scholarship based entirely on my LSAT score. It happens. In this era of enormous grade inflation, there's not a lot else to base admissions on than LSAT scores. I'm sorry but your 3.9 from your Physical Education major at Little Sisters of the Poor College in Bakersfield is not terribly impressive if you can't break 165 on your LSAT.
Hell, Northwestern takes 17X LSATs with 2.5-2.8 GPAs all the time (albeit with no scholarship support) and they are T14. WUSTL apparently doesn't take any splitters with less than 168+. The main difference between WUSTL and N'western seems to be that WashU may offer scholarships to 17X splitters, whereas NU will not; also that NU prefers older candidates with work experience. No one hates on Northwestern for being the only T14 to accept a bunch of splitters with <3.0 GPAs, do they? Splitterdom is nothing to hold against a school.
2. WUSTL is big only in Chicago and St. Louis.
More or less accurate, but outside of the upper T14 nearly every school is regional. Georgetown is really only for DC and maybe NYC, Texas is only big in Texas, USC only in California, etc. Granted Chicago and possibly StL were hit hard in the recession, but where we are now is called the recovery. Corporate profits are higher than they were in 2008. The law hiring market is going to be pretty darned decent for the Class of 2014 in Chicago and St. Louis (and probably everywhere except California, heh).
3. WUSTL's placement is worse than its ranking.
Hold on there. WUSTL, at #19, places MASSIVELY
better than say the University of Minnesota at #22. In overlapping markets. The only schools placing better than WUSTL that are ranked lower are located in BosWash (BC, BU, GW, Fordham), a massive placement advantage over St. Louis. And those schools only place very, very marginally better ITE than WUSTL. http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 2443758843
Add it all up and WUSTL doesn't deserve the TLS hate in the least. Hate top-ranked schools accepting sub-3.0 splitters? Hate on Northwestern. It's ranked higher and does the same damn thing. Hate schools that place worse than their ranking? Hate on Minnesota and Indiana. They are ranked right behind WUSTL in the 20s but place worse than some TT schools (such as Temple and Loyola-Chicago). WUSTL's "Big Law" placement is at least twice as good as some of the schools right behind them in the rankings, and really its ITE placement is surprisingly high given its geographic location in what some would consider BFE.