School rank vs. Class Rank

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dbshjb
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School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby dbshjb » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:29 pm

I found the factors that people consider for choosing a law school include mostly school ranking and dollars. Does anyone think about any impact for your placement and career from your law school class ranking? For example, if now you choose Columbia, you might get 50% bottom in the class in the future. However, if you choose Cornell, you might be top 25 in the class. Will this affect your future placement or career development? In this case, would you choose Columbia or Cornell?

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Rock Chalk
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby Rock Chalk » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:34 pm

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Last edited by Rock Chalk on Thu May 24, 2012 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

trudat15
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby trudat15 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:50 pm

dbshjb wrote:I found the factors that people consider for choosing a law school include mostly school ranking and dollars. Does anyone think about any impact for your placement and career from your law school class ranking? For example, if now you choose Columbia, you might get 50% bottom in the class in the future. However, if you choose Cornell, you might be top 25 in the class. Will this affect your future placement or career development? In this case, would you choose Columbia or Cornell?


I think conventional wisdom says this isnt true. If you are below median at Columbia, you would have been below median at Cornell. And vice versa.

lakerfanimal
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby lakerfanimal » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:52 pm

Rock Chalk wrote:Everyone recognizes that with different schools, you need to perform at different levels to achieve the same goals. The problem with your example, if I understand it correctly, is that it assumes too much. There are far too many variables to assume that you'll do significantly better at a lower-ranked school, and class rank is generally unpredictable, especially if you're within a school's expected LSAT range, since most of the other people at the school are too.

This is why most people choose based on the school's quality, assuming that the % of people who achieved a certain outcome reflects their chances of doing so. As is often repeated, half of the class has to finish below median, and 90% can't be in the top 10%. In the absence of a significant difference between your credentials and those of your classmates, it makes sense to plan accordingly.


+1. I remember seeing someone post this once, but I think it's worth repeating and does a good job of capturing why you shouldn't assume that you'll do better at schools that are already in the top level. The median LSAT at CLS is a 172. The median LSAT at Cornell is a 168, and there's not much of a difference in GPA. So basically if you had a bad logic game on your LSAT that just wasn't good for your skills, then you're at Cornell instead of CLS now. Big differences in LSAT score may be meaningful, but within that 6 point range, I'm not sure it makes all that big of a difference.

dbshjb
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby dbshjb » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:31 pm

Let’s assume that your performance will be the same at both the schools. However, the levels of people at the two schools are different. Median LSAT 172 vs. 168 does make difference. And median GPAs are also different at both schools. If your LSAT and GPA are at the median in Cornell, and will be lower than those at Columbia. I believe you will feel more competitive at Columbia compared with at Cornell because the two populations are not the same. And not only LSAT/GPA, also people at Columbia might be more aggressive than those at Cornell. Thus, I think although your performance is the same, you might get the rank with big difference. If you graduate from Cornell, you might be at the top 25%; however, if you graduate from Columbia, you might be about 50%. Do they make difference for your placement and future career development? Is the school rank more important than your class rank?

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Patriot1208
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby Patriot1208 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:34 pm

dbshjb wrote:Let’s assume that your performance will be the same at both the schools. However, the levels of people at the two schools are different. Median LSAT 172 vs. 168 does make difference. And median GPAs are also different at both schools. If your LSAT and GPA are at the median in Cornell, and will be lower than those at Columbia. I believe you will feel more competitive at Columbia compared with at Cornell because the two populations are not the same. And not only LSAT/GPA, also people at Columbia might be more aggressive than those at Cornell. Thus, I think although your performance is the same, you might get the rank with big difference. If you graduate from Cornell, you might be at the top 25%; however, if you graduate from Columbia, you might be about 50%. Do they make difference for your placement and future career development? Is the school rank more important than your class rank?



If you truly think ~4 questions on the LSAT is determinative of your ability you are sorely mistaken.

dbshjb
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby dbshjb » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:54 pm

We have to agree that the quality of two populations is not the same. As I said, not only the LSAT/GPA, but also overall capabilities.

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Patriot1208
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby Patriot1208 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:57 pm

dbshjb wrote:We have to agree that the quality of two populations is not the same. As I said, not only the LSAT/GPA, but also overall capabilities.

But you are saying that the LSAT is determinative of their overall capabilities. The quality of the two schools is different, sure, but you can't make a claim from a few LSAT questions that there is a significant enough difference that you would finish in a significantly different percentile.

Also, as has been stated on this website many times, overall intelligence isn't really determinative of how well you do. Law school exams are a beast that is unlike anything most people have been exposed to. And a lot of people with high lsats finish lower in their class and vice versa. You just can't predict how well you will do between columbia and cornell.

mrwarre85
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby mrwarre85 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:02 pm

I slightly agree with you. I think that, while it is dangerous, you can assume to do better than a few more students at Cornell than Columbia. I doubt in this case it would be a top 25% to a top 50% difference.

Now if it was ND vs CLS I think you would be on to something. Top 25% at ND puts you in a terrific financial position, and maybe you could have gone there for free.

I had a close friend that choose GW with full and stipend over HLS and down. He told me, among other things, that he would struggle to finish in the top half at Harvard and not have any fun doing it. He assumed a lot, but he is probably in the top 5% at GW and is one of the best on their moot court teams, etc... He is in a way better spot financially because of his position.

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DMBFan
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby DMBFan » Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:06 pm

dbshjb wrote:We have to agree that the quality of two populations is not the same. As I said, not only the LSAT/GPA, but also overall capabilities.


I'm calling troll.

This is a questionable argument at best. Even if you take LSAT/GPA as strong indicators of law school performance, those who are below median may feel the needs to work harder to overcome their disadvantage or those who scored higher may have a false sense of security. LSAT says nothing about work ethic (or very little, at most) while GPA can vary wildly from different undergraduate institutions. If you think you're better off going to a lower ranked school because you expect to be in the top 10%, think again.

dbshjb
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby dbshjb » Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:43 pm

Does anybody know the impact of class rank vs. school rank in job placement? For example, a big law firm hires graduates. One is from Columbia with the class rank at bottom 50%, another one is from Cornell with top 10-25%. If other qualifications are the same, which one would the law firm prefer to hire? This is the exact question that I am asking.

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jtemp320
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby jtemp320 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:51 pm

dbshjb wrote:Does anybody know the impact of class rank vs. school rank in job placement? For example, a big law firm hires graduates. One is from Columbia with the class rank at bottom 50%, another one is from Cornell with top 10-25%. If other qualifications are the same, which one would the law firm prefer to hire? This is the exact question that I am asking.


Just from what I've heard from a few firm lawyers I've talked to this is an easy one (though probably depends on the firm and the person) - Cornell. The gap between Columbia and Cornell is real but its not THAT dramatic - I think firms want good students not average ones.

I would think some firms might prefer top %25 at Columbia v top 10% at Cornell or median at Columbia to top 1/3 at Cornell - but I would think its pretty case by case.

emjay
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby emjay » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:06 pm

dbshjb wrote:Does anybody know the impact of class rank vs. school rank in job placement? For example, a big law firm hires graduates. One is from Columbia with the class rank at bottom 50%, another one is from Cornell with top 10-25%. If other qualifications are the same, which one would the law firm prefer to hire? This is the exact question that I am asking.


Are you assuming that a Columbia student who struggles to stay at median would skyrocket to top 10% if he/she was at Cornell? If so, are you aware that you're comparing CLS to Cornell and not CLS to [Insert TTT Name Here]?

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Patriot1208
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby Patriot1208 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:44 pm

dbshjb wrote:Does anybknow the impact of class rank vs. school rank in job placement? For example, a big law firm hires graduates. One is from Columbia with the class rank at bottom 50%, another one is from Cornell with top 10-25%. If other qualifications are the same, which one would the law firm prefer to hire? This is the exact question that I am asking.

In this example the Cornell person will win out. But the point is that it is probably impossible that holding everything else constant the same person would finish top 20% at cornell and 45th percentile at Columdia.

dakatz
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby dakatz » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:49 pm

OP sounds absolutely clueless. You really think 4 points makes a demonstrable difference in the intelligence of the student body? Four LSAT points could be the difference between 7 hours of sleep and 8, or between one sugar in your coffee or 2. You are SO sorely mistaken if you actually believe this baseless assumption and it will bite you so very hard if you rely on it. I'm am not saying that there won't be a demonstrable difference between a T14 student body and a low Tier 2 student body. But anywhere among the upper echelon of schools, you will not notice any difference in intelligence of the students because a difference in 3 or 4 LSAT points is insignificant.

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northwood
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby northwood » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:50 pm

on the test 2 questions can equal one or 2 more scaled points. You could have gotten a bad game, or back to back sections of the same question type and had the experimental be the one you were better prepared for ( had real then exp then section 3 or other type, expRC real RC etc). When its that close- i dont think you can use that to predict your performance in law school.

03121202698008
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby 03121202698008 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:01 pm

My experience:
I know people with lower (-3 pts) LSAT scores who have better grades at MY school.
I know people with higher (+8 pts) LSAT scores that have much worse grades at MY school.
- LSAT/GPA are not at all indicators of placement within a single class.
Not all firms recruit at both Cornell/Columbia so there is disparity.
- #1 at Cornell has zero shot at a firm that doesn't go to OCI, while someone below median at Columbia has at least some shot at the same firm, especially if Columbia doesn't allow employers to pre-select.
The bigger disparity in firms coming to OCI and the location of the school to practice area, the more it'd impact.
Bottom of the class at Cornell has a better shot at a firm that comes to OCI than does #1 at Penn State. The Penn State guy has to convince them to even interview him, which many firms won't outside of OCI, and then still faces firms that only hire from certain schools, have a firm floor on school rank, etc.

The only thing you can control is the rank of your school. You have little to no control over grades or class placement.

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Mattalones
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby Mattalones » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:09 pm

emjay wrote:
dbshjb wrote:Does anybody know the impact of class rank vs. school rank in job placement? For example, a big law firm hires graduates. One is from Columbia with the class rank at bottom 50%, another one is from Cornell with top 10-25%. If other qualifications are the same, which one would the law firm prefer to hire? This is the exact question that I am asking.


Are you assuming that a Columbia student who struggles to stay at median would skyrocket to top 10% if he/she was at Cornell? If so, are you aware that you're comparing CLS to Cornell and not CLS to [Insert TTT Name Here]?

dakatz wrote:OP sounds absolutely clueless. You really think 4 points makes a demonstrable difference in the intelligence of the student body? Four LSAT points could be the difference between 7 hours of sleep and 8, or between one sugar in your coffee or 2. You are SO sorely mistaken if you actually believe this baseless assumption and it will bite you so very hard if you rely on it. I'm am not saying that there won't be a demonstrable difference between a T14 student body and a low Tier 2 student body. But anywhere among the upper echelon of schools, you will not notice any difference in intelligence of the students because a difference in 3 or 4 LSAT points is insignificant.

+100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ...

dakatz wrote:OP sounds absolutely clueless. You really think 4 points makes a demonstrable difference in the intelligence of the student body? Four LSAT points could be the difference between 7 hours of sleep and 8, or between one sugar in your coffee or 2. You are SO sorely mistaken if you actually believe this baseless assumption and it will bite you so very hard if you rely on it. I'm am not saying that there won't be a demonstrable difference between a T14 student body and a low Tier 2 student body. But anywhere among the upper echelon of schools, you will not notice any difference in intelligence of the students because a difference in 3 or 4 LSAT points is insignificant.

Last year, Cornell placed over 60% in NLJ250s. This year, Cornell places second best in BigLaw, behind only Chicago. It's just ahead of Columbia - look! Besides that, you are not going to find any noticeable difference between students at those schools. The variation between them will be exactly the same as it is within them. The burden is on you to show otherwise in the face of the hiring data

I think there's just a little more competition to get into Columbia (very little) because more people want to live in the city than upstate. But there are plenty of people who like Ithaca - I do - and Cornell has far less people than Columbia. So, to each his own. Also, many of the same people get into both schools. You'd say the same person who would be a "more elite" individual had he/she sent in a deposit check to Columbia, and that person magically turns into a different kind of creature for writing the word "Cornell" in front of "University" rather than "Columbia?" It's the same person! This is very silly. Get a life, man.
Last edited by Mattalones on Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:30 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby Bildungsroman » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:10 pm

dbshjb wrote: For example, if now you choose Columbia, you might get 50% bottom in the class in the future. However, if you choose Cornell, you might be top 25 in the class.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

You really overestimate the difference between the student body and level of competition at these two schools.

dbshjb
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby dbshjb » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:34 pm

What I really want to find out is that the hiring firms focus more on school rank or class rank within T14 schools.

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Mattalones
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby Mattalones » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:44 pm

dbshjb wrote:What I really want to find out is that the hiring firms focus more on school rank or class rank within T14 schools.

You have about the same shot at a biglaw job either way, dude. They place within less than 3.13% percentage point difference of each other (Cornell did 58.33% and Columbia did 55.20% for last year's graduating class and it's traditionally not much different). Employers generally won't care too much unless the person you interview with FIRST likes you and also went to the same school. Even that matters much less than how well you interview.

Are you even in to both of these schools?

09042014
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby 09042014 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:45 pm

dbshjb wrote:What I really want to find out is that the hiring firms focus more on school rank or class rank within T14 schools.


It's definitely class rank. It's hard to quantify but roughly

CNN = MVPBDNC - 15-20% class rank

That's a very rough estimation though. Each firms does things differently.

alumniguy
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby alumniguy » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:56 pm

dbshjb wrote:What I really want to find out is that the hiring firms focus more on school rank or class rank within T14 schools.


Hands down class rank. Most biglaw shops go to every T-14 and they are looking for the best students they can get at each of the T-14. Firm X will go deeper into the Columbia class over the Penn class because they can't get the top Columbia kids (or at the very least can't count on always getting these kids).

You earlier thoughts on GPA/LSAT being predictors of class rank are pretty much non-existent at the top law schools - I would say it MAY be a slight predictor going from T14 to T50, but T-14 to T20s/T30s and I just don't think there is any statistical significance (i.e., you'll hear anecdotal stories going both ways).

Meerkat Manor
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby Meerkat Manor » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:15 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:

If you truly think ~4 questions on the LSAT is determinative of your ability you are sorely mistaken.

WHAT????????

/self

09042014
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Re: School rank vs. Class Rank

Postby 09042014 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:18 pm

alumniguy wrote:
dbshjb wrote:What I really want to find out is that the hiring firms focus more on school rank or class rank within T14 schools.


Hands down class rank. Most biglaw shops go to every T-14 and they are looking for the best students they can get at each of the T-14. Firm X will go deeper into the Columbia class over the Penn class because they can't get the top Columbia kids (or at the very least can't count on always getting these kids).

You earlier thoughts on GPA/LSAT being predictors of class rank are pretty much non-existent at the top law schools - I would say it MAY be a slight predictor going from T14 to T50, but T-14 to T20s/T30s and I just don't think there is any statistical significance (i.e., you'll hear anecdotal stories going both ways).


The significance still exists at the top schools ( though there is some indication, at least at U of Mich that it's smaller than at law schools as a whole, but still r=.2), but people like OP massively misinterpret it. The distribution between a 168 LSAT median class and a 172 just isn't that large.

There will be a difference, but it's most likely smaller than the hiring boost you get from school rank.




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