Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

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lessthanjake
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Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby lessthanjake » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:41 am

I'm an 0L and have gotten into UVA and NYU. Still waiting to hear back from YHSC (I applied late), but I'm obviously starting to think about the quality of the two schools I have gotten into and am thinking about where I would hypothetically go if I got into the schools I haven't heard back from. UVA offered me 105,000 dollars, and it seems to me that based on various rankings, UVA is actually pretty comparable with schools ranked higher (making it hard for me to believe that it wouldn't be worth taking the 105,000 dollar scholarship + in-state tuition + lower cost of living). UVA is supposed to be 9th-10th ranked, but any metric I see leaves it either at or above that. Here are some examples:



http://www.vault.com/wps/portal/usa/edu ... w-ranking/

Vault ranks UVA 4th in ability to prepare students to achieve in a law firm.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=108528

In 2009, UVA ranked 4th in a combination of A3 clerkships and NLJ250 hirings. I know these rankings fluctuate a fair bit every year, and maybe UVA does worse in other years, idk. However, it's worth noting that UVA does this well despite having a much higher percentage of students self-selecting into government jobs than most other law schools. Since gov jobs do actually tend to be quite selective, one could argue that a ranking of prestigious job placement based on clerking and biglaw actually shortchanges UVA. So it's impressive that they still do well.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=75513

Purely in terms of A3 clerkships, UVA was 5th last year.

--LinkRemoved--

In terms of median mid-career pay for those in the private sector, UVA ranks 4th.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenha ... -160000/2/

According to these rankings, UVA actually ranks 2nd for highest starting pay in the private sector. I'm not sure why these numbers diverge so far from schools' reported median starting salaries though.

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-gr ... aw-schools

Law firm recruiters rank it at a tie for 6th with NYU.

http://www.elsblog.org/the_empirical_le ... lutter.pdf

Just using Peer Assessment and LSAT score, UVA ranks 7th.

http://leiterrankings.com/new/2011_LawTeachers.shtml

UVA ranks 8th in terms of producing law professors, but there is also really no statistically significant difference between it and any top school besides HYSChi

http://www.leiterrankings.com/new/2010_ ... ment.shtml

UVA ranks in a tie for 5th in terms of placing clerks in the Supreme Court. Since they got 4 in the last term, which I believe isn't counted here, I imagine they probably actually are no longer in a tie for 5th, but rather hold it solidly.

http://money-law.blogspot.com/2010/12/z ... n-law.html

-According to this, it seems that we can parse where the USNWR rankings come from. It seems that UVA ranks in a tie for 9th in Peer Assessment (not a surprise as law school deans are likely to simply mimic the USNWR rankings).
-However, in terms of Lawyer/Judge assessment, it seems that UVA ranks in a tie for 4th, only behind HYS.
-Though I wouldn't put much stock in this, there are only 3 top schools ranked higher in terms of employment 9 months after graduation.
-It seems that the other metrics (which IMO are not that important), such as student/faculty ratio and spending per student are what leaves UVA ranked lower.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog ... views.html

These rankings aren't a particularly big deal, but it IS worth noting that UVA consistently ranks in the top 5 law schools for Best Quality of Life, Best Classroom Experience, and Best Professors. Obviously, these things don't matter when it comes to jobs you get after law school, but certainly your experience for the three years you're in law school should count for something.


This thread is not meant as a pro-UVA troll by any means. I do not go to UVA Law, and honestly do not know that much about it beyond knowing that UVA in general is a pretty place. I just don't really see any important metric in which UVA is not better than its ranking. And for someone who is going to be choosing between UVA w/ money and at least one higher ranked school (presumably without money), whether this is true is important. I don't want to shortchange myself by going to UVA, but it seems to me that I wouldn't be shortchanging myself. Can anyone show me some evidence to the contrary?

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bk641
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby bk641 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:47 am

barring yale, i think you're set with 100K at UVA and instate tuition. UVA places well on the east coast. don't think you need to worry about shortchanging yourself.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby Tom Joad » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:50 am

On a fairly similar note, UVA is throwing out money like crazy this cycle so I wouldn't be surprised if they squeak up to 5th or 6th in 2013's rankings.

Quick edit: ok I would be surprised if they moved up that high but I would predict 7th for sure.

lessthanjake
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby lessthanjake » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:56 am

bk641 wrote:barring yale, i think you're set with 100K at UVA and instate tuition. UVA places well on the east coast. don't think you need to worry about shortchanging yourself.


Yeah, I think I would definitely go to Yale, if I got in. Yale seems to be a no-brainer no matter what. I also fully expect to be rejected from Yale. The real question for me is whether Harvard/Stanford/Columbia/NYU would be worth the extra cost. I imagine a lot of people would argue that Harvard and Stanford ARE worth it, no?

EDIT: I want to be clear that I am NOT at all arrogantly assuming I will get into Harvard, Stanford, or Columbia. I think I have a solid chance at those schools, but I wouldn't be particularly surprised if I didn't get into any of them. I just am thinking about this stuff because I figure it's never too early to figure out your plans.

EDIT 2: You mention UVA placing well on the east coast. I grew up in Chicago, have lived near DC for many years now (and my family is there), and go to undergrad in New England. So DC/Chicago/Boston markets are all attractive to me. What are the chances of getting a market paying firm job in one of those markets at UVA? What percentile in the class would I probably need to be? How does that differ from the other higher-ranked schools I've listed?

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johansantana21
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby johansantana21 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:04 am

Fucking 0Ls

lessthanjake
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby lessthanjake » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:06 am

johansantana21 wrote:Fucking 0Ls



??? I realize I don't know very much, and I have repeatedly acknowledged that in this thread. I also realize that many rankings/metrics (including the ones I listed) are flawed. It's not like I am an 0L acting like I know everything...

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KevinP
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby KevinP » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:51 am

I would guess Faculty Resources (Expenditures per student, student/faculty ratio, and library resources) are weighing UVA down since UVA dominates all the other criteria, as demonstrated by this chart. I quickly browsed the ABA guide and saw that UVA's student/faculty ratio seem to be higher than both Michigan's/Penn's. I haven't done any extensive data mining, so this is just conjecture.

--ImageRemoved--

Credits: boushi
Source: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 1&t=150329

ETA:
I think UVA has a strong chance of hitting #7 in the next U.S. News report.

lessthanjake
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby lessthanjake » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:25 am

KevinP wrote:I would guess Faculty Resources (Expenditures per student, student/faculty ratio, and library resources) are weighing UVA down since UVA dominates all the other criteria, as demonstrated by this chart. I quickly browsed the ABA guide and saw that UVA's student/faculty ratio seem to be higher than both Michigan's/Penn's. I haven't done any extensive data mining, so this is just conjecture.


From what I've seen, it does seem to be faculty resources bringing UVA down. Based on the link from my OP it seems like UVA was dead last in the T14 in expenditures per student last year, with there actually being a pretty big gap between it and a lot of schools. The same was true the year before as well. UVA also has the highest student/faculty ratio of the top schools, although that metric has lower variance, so it probably doesn't affect the numbers as much as the expenditures do.

With that said, if those two things are keeping UVA ranked lower, then I'm not sure it really matters. Expenditures per student as well as student/faculty ratio are essentially a proxy for measuring the quality of the classroom/overall learning experience at a school, no? UVA consistently ranks very highly on the Princeton Review's ranking of Best Classroom Experience and Best Professors, so I think it's safe to say that the classroom/learning experience of their students is not something that SHOULD bring them down. From what I know, the building is quite new, so it's not like their low expenditure score reflects some deficiency in the law school building(s). I suppose maybe low expenditures could reflect lower pay for professors and thus possibly lower faculty quality. Indeed, Leiter's rankings have UVA relatively low in faculty quality. Again, though, I'm not sure how much this matters if the students consistently rank their professors more highly than virtually any other school's students do. I guess MAYBE the pull of your connection with a professor is lower with a less renowned professor. And maybe UVA spends less on career services, idk; but you'd think that would show up in employment data.

ahnhub
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby ahnhub » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:50 am

40% of rankings methodology is assessment by peers/judges/lawyers. 25% is LSAT/GPA/acceptance rate of incoming class.

If you ask some 40-year old lawyer what the best law schools are, he/she is likely to just regurgitate whatever his/her impressions from when they were applying to law schools. This is the #1 reason why the T-14 rankings stay relatively consistent--someone's likely to just start off with Harvard, Yale, Columbia, etc....once they hit a certain point they'll just be going with their own biases. And Columbia/Chicago/NYU's LSAT medians always hover 1-2 points higher than Mich/Virginia/Penn/NU+.

If you're asking whether $105,000 at Virginia is worth it over a school like NYU at sticker, I think most TLS'ers will tell you yes. That's a lot of money, and Virginia's a great school. There does seem to be a certain equivalency in job prospects through most of the T-14. That said, going to NYU probably gives a slightly better absolute chance of landing a 160K Biglaw job. Over the past couple of years the advantage has been 10%+, because NY started hiring again quickly after the crash, while the smaller markets that UVA relies on to an extent were slow to pick back up. I think that advantage gap closed a little bit this past OCI, because Biglaw started hiring in earnest regionally. In a normal year the advantage is smaller--by how much, I can't say. Many people may characterize the difference as negligible. In general for people who are totally gunning for nothing but the Biglaw paycheck, I think going to an elite school in the middle of the biggest legal market is usually the safest bet.

But 105K is a massive amount of money, and coming from a person who's choosing between NYU and Michigan at an 80K difference, I think I would vote for Virginia without reservation.

lessthanjake
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby lessthanjake » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:23 am

ahnhub wrote:40% of rankings methodology is assessment by peers/judges/lawyers. 25% is LSAT/GPA/acceptance rate of incoming class.

If you ask some 40-year old lawyer what the best law schools are, he/she is likely to just regurgitate whatever his/her impressions from when they were applying to law schools. This is the #1 reason why the T-14 rankings stay relatively consistent--someone's likely to just start off with Harvard, Yale, Columbia, etc....once they hit a certain point they'll just be going with their own biases. And Columbia/Chicago/NYU's LSAT medians always hover 1-2 points higher than Mich/Virginia/Penn/NU+.

If you're asking whether $105,000 at Virginia is worth it over a school like NYU at sticker, I think most TLS'ers will tell you yes. That's a lot of money, and Virginia's a great school. There does seem to be a certain equivalency in job prospects through most of the T-14. That said, going to NYU probably gives a slightly better absolute chance of landing a 160K Biglaw job. Over the past couple of years the advantage has been 10%+, because NY started hiring again quickly after the crash, while the smaller markets that UVA relies on to an extent were slow to pick back up. I think that advantage gap closed a little bit this past OCI, because Biglaw started hiring in earnest regionally. In a normal year the advantage is smaller--by how much, I can't say. Many people may characterize the difference as negligible. In general for people who are totally gunning for nothing but the Biglaw paycheck, I think going to an elite school in the middle of the biggest legal market is usually the safest bet.

But 105K is a massive amount of money, and coming from a person who's choosing between NYU and Michigan at an 80K difference, I think I would vote for Virginia without reservation.


I tend to lean the way you describe. I recognize that NYU gives me a marginally better chance at a 160k job than UVA. However, I feel like that marginally better chance cannot outweigh the 150k or so extra debt I'd have going there (that is assuming they don't offer me money; they haven't released their non-named merit scholarship money yet AFAIK). Furthermore, I don't think that NYC BigLaw is the be all end all for me. It seems like 160k anywhere besides NYC is better than 160k in NYC because of vast differences in cost of living. And from what I've read (correct me if I'm wrong; I do not pretend to know anything beyond what I've read online) NYU is not really better than UVA in any market besides NYC. Thus, my ideal jobs wouldn't be harder to get going to UVA over NYU, no? (Bear in mind, I realize getting 160k in a non-NYC market is pretty tough, but I figure it's worth mentioning that that's my ideal situation).

I feel like this same logic applies to Columbia, but how would this change if I got into Harvard or Stanford? Am I not most likely to end up with a job that pays the exact same coming out of HS as out of UVA? If I were to get a market-paying job coming out of UVA but just had less debt, wouldn't I be in a better position than I would have been at HLS or SLS?

I realize that many jobs might require top 1/3 at UVA but only median at Harvard, or something like that. But is there really a difference in difficulty for those two feats? I think it's reasonable to assume that the overall student body at Harvard is marginally more intelligent than the student body at UVA. With that said, it should be harder to get a given percentile in the Harvard class than in the UVA class. If stuff is graded on a curve, isn't it possible that someone equally good at law school classes could get top 1/3 at UVA but only median at Harvard? And in that case, is that person REALLY at an advantage going to Harvard?

I'm not convinced that this makes any sense, I am honestly just posing the question and hoping to be told the answers to these by people more knowledgeable. I assume that at the margins, going to Harvard would help. If I were destined to be bottom of my class at UVA, then I'd likely be bottom of my class at Harvard, but bottom at Harvard > bottom at UVA. Conversely, if I end up being really good at law school, I think I'd be better off at Harvard, because top at Harvard > top at UVA. Furthermore, I imagine law school GPA has an element of randomness, so if there's a job that requires top 10% at Harvard or top 5% at UVA, I imagine one is less likely to get top 5% at UVA just because the better percentile required, the more luck and statistical noise is involved.

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NYC Law
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby NYC Law » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:34 am

The rankings don't matter.

For the most part, none of those links you've posted matter for what goes into the rankings.

lessthanjake
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby lessthanjake » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:40 am

NYC Law wrote:The rankings don't matter.

For the most part, none of those links you've posted matter for what goes into the rankings.


I know that. And I know what DOES go into the USNWR rankings because, well, its public knowledge. But if the rankings "don't matter" then why is it common knowledge on TLS that the schools are tiered YHS-CCN-MVPB or whatever? What honestly makes UVA be thought of as clearly worse than CCN besides just parroting of the USNWR rankings? And is whatever makes UVA clearly worse a big deal or just a small, but noticeable one?

acrossthelake
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:58 am

lessthanjake wrote:
I realize that many jobs might require top 1/3 at UVA but only median at Harvard, or something like that.


Eh. From my view of the cycle of a handful of people at UVa and HLS(admittedly small sample), median at Harvard is probably better set for the job search than top 1/3 at UVa. The money is good and will offset that, but I don't think those two are equivalently positioned for jerbs. I dunno, Vanwinkle probably has something worthwhile to add in to this analysis.

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chem
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby chem » Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:23 am

Quality posts all around. Tagging, as I'll be deciding UVA at sticker vs t-20 with scholarship.

Thanks guys

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TaipeiMort
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby TaipeiMort » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:11 am

I am just wildly guessing here, but I think it may be that 1) UVA spends less per student, or calculates it wrong. Chicago changed its calculation methodology to be in line with the Columbia, Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, and moved up to a solid #5. 2) UVA doesn't feed into the New York job market like NYU and Penn, or be one of only two west coast schools to capture west coast votes in the T14, so it likely effects practicioner perception of it in the rankings.

That being said, I know very, very few practicioners outside of New York who would put UVA behind NYU, Penn, or Berkeley in quality level.

thecactus
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby thecactus » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:52 pm

To the OP: Impressive research. Makes me feel a lot better about getting into UVa while getting waitlisted by Chicago and Penn. :)

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NYC Law
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby NYC Law » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:57 pm

lessthanjake wrote:
NYC Law wrote:The rankings don't matter.

For the most part, none of those links you've posted matter for what goes into the rankings.


I know that. And I know what DOES go into the USNWR rankings because, well, its public knowledge. But if the rankings "don't matter" then why is it common knowledge on TLS that the schools are tiered YHS-CCN-MVPB or whatever? What honestly makes UVA be thought of as clearly worse than CCN besides just parroting of the USNWR rankings? And is whatever makes UVA clearly worse a big deal or just a small, but noticeable one?


The distinctions are based on pre-existing reputation distinctions reinforced by employment stats. The rankings are just a lagging indicator of what already is.

UVA isn't grouped with CCN because it doesn't place as well job wise and doesn't have as high of a reputation.

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AreJay711
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby AreJay711 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:05 pm

NYC Law wrote:
lessthanjake wrote:
NYC Law wrote:The rankings don't matter.

For the most part, none of those links you've posted matter for what goes into the rankings.


I know that. And I know what DOES go into the USNWR rankings because, well, its public knowledge. But if the rankings "don't matter" then why is it common knowledge on TLS that the schools are tiered YHS-CCN-MVPB or whatever? What honestly makes UVA be thought of as clearly worse than CCN besides just parroting of the USNWR rankings? And is whatever makes UVA clearly worse a big deal or just a small, but noticeable one?


The distinctions are based on pre-existing reputation distinctions reinforced by employment stats. The rankings are just a lagging indicator of what already is.

UVA isn't grouped with CCN because it doesn't place as well job wise and doesn't have as high of a reputation.


This. TLS groupings are based on job prospects while lots of things that measure academic quality more than professional school quality find their way into USNWR

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skers
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby skers » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:11 pm

UVA is a great school and I love Charlottesville. It doesn't place as well as NYU, but 105k is a lot of money. I'd take it.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:12 pm

My understanding is that when USNews drew names out of the hat that Virginia was the ninth one picked.

005618502
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby 005618502 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:20 pm

Great Post! Honestly if I were you, barring a HYS acceptance I would take UVA and run. I would also be so excited about it you wouldnt believe it haha

Thanks for all the info!

acrossthelake
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:39 pm

NYC Law wrote:
The distinctions are based on pre-existing reputation distinctions reinforced by employment stats. The rankings are just a lagging indicator of what already is.

UVA isn't grouped with CCN because it doesn't place as well job wise and doesn't have as high of a reputation.


Yeah. TLS also doesn't tend to make too many distinctions within MVDP or whatever order we do it(see, order doesn't matter)--they have similar placement stats, but vary in strength depending on the market, so it depends what your goals are. UVa definitely doesn't have Chicago or Columbia's placement record, though, and I don't know like anything about NYU.

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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby 005618502 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:44 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
NYC Law wrote:
The distinctions are based on pre-existing reputation distinctions reinforced by employment stats. The rankings are just a lagging indicator of what already is.

UVA isn't grouped with CCN because it doesn't place as well job wise and doesn't have as high of a reputation.


Yeah. TLS also doesn't tend to make too many distinctions within MVDP or whatever order we do it(see, order doesn't matter)--they have similar placement stats, but vary in strength depending on the market, so it depends what your goals are. UVa definitely doesn't have Chicago or Columbia's placement record, though, and I don't know like anything about NYU.


Attorneys at the firm I am working at (before law school) all pushed me toward UVA over Penn. Said it was a much better school, which was interesting. Texas firm, so I guess it really depends on the area because NYC lawyers might have a very different opinion. I picked UVA over Penn simply because I want TX, CA or DC (not NY, at all) and I figured it places better in those areas (ties to TX and CA). But that could just be self selection

AlphaCentauri
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby AlphaCentauri » Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:32 pm

For the ranking-obsessed, the only ranking that matters is how employers (hiring partners, judges, etc.) perceive law schools. Viewed from this perspective, UVA generally makes it into the top 5-7 schools. If you're getting 105K from UVA and no comparable package from a peer institution, I don't think there can be serious debate about what you should do: Go to UVA! And I have it on good authority (my own experience): you very likely won't regret your choice. Good luck!

CanadianWolf
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Re: Why isn't UVA ranked higher?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:39 pm

Why isn't UVA ranked higher ? Because Yale, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, Chicago & NYU got in the way.




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