sach1282 wrote:A lot of the rankings is essentially based on cumulative advantage. A school gets a name for being a "top" school, that school then attracts the best and brightest students, those students go out into the workforce and do incredible things, reinforcing the school's position on top. In my opinion, almost all of the variation between school outcomes can probably be explained by variations in the students rather than the school.
How a school got to be a "top" school in the first place varies from place to place, but once it's there, it's like fighting against an incumbent in Congress. Name recognition is just such a powerful for attracting students (or almost anything else).
You're right. I'm all for prestige and schools attracting top talent. But the rankings should also reflect what current graduates ware doing in the real world. Shouldn't the ultimate result - what lawyers accomplish in practice - actually matter as much as anything? I'm more impressed with the schools that attract students whose numbers don't necessarily appear to predict success, yet turn out real superstars every year. If Yale "could" do something, it would. Yale law is nothing but an incubator for highly intelligent but socially challenged people, despite having graduated the second coolest president in U.S. History.
Yale grads don't tend to go into practice because they are not inclined to. They are not inclined to because they can't function in that type of environment unless they are above the fray bossing everyone around. They are glorified lab rats who would get along better at Roswell. I don't care what anyone says, there's something insideous about that.
It's not like college basketball, where the schools that recruit the elite talent go out and prove their superiority every year. Yale and a few other so-called elite schools lag behind when it comes to producing the superstars who actually make a difference.
Consider this: http://www.superlawyers.com/toplists/la ... ates/2009/
It's only one way of looking at a school's quality, but it should matter. USNWR and other ranking systems are input-based, whereas Lawdragon and Super Lawyer are output-based. All of the rankings (except for Cooleys) are useful, but none capture all of the important metrics/qualities. If such a ranking did, Yale would likely be top-15 or better, but never #1.
I also think a useful metric would be number of students who express in writing (upon law school entrance) an interest in public interest law and actually go on to practice public interest for at least five years. It would be easy to score, just mandate a completed public interest questionaire/survey for every incoming 1L and submit them to the ABA. Again, such an output metric would reflect on a school's ability to educate and influence students, and that would reflect a school's quality.