2014 Rankings Released

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
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BlueJeanBaby
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby BlueJeanBaby » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:07 pm

JCougar wrote:
That doesn't say anything to suggest they're not counting school-funded employment. They were planning on changing the job computation a while back. Under the old rule, unemployed students that were "not seeking full-time employment" were not counted as unemployed, as were students who went back to school for an LLM. As far as I know, the revised strategy still counts as "employed" anyone who has any job. So all the non-JD-required jobs still count. I'm assuming the school-funded fellowships fall into this category.

In other words, the formula is still extremely problematic, only slightly less so.


Is "not-seeking" going to count as unemployed in the new system?

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:16 pm

BlueJeanBaby wrote:
JCougar wrote:
That doesn't say anything to suggest they're not counting school-funded employment. They were planning on changing the job computation a while back. Under the old rule, unemployed students that were "not seeking full-time employment" were not counted as unemployed, as were students who went back to school for an LLM. As far as I know, the revised strategy still counts as "employed" anyone who has any job. So all the non-JD-required jobs still count. I'm assuming the school-funded fellowships fall into this category.

In other words, the formula is still extremely problematic, only slightly less so.


Is "not-seeking" going to count as unemployed in the new system?


Unless we believe that schools are going to influence unemployed graduates to dishonestly select "not-seeking," I see no reason why this category should count towards unemployment.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:21 pm

We don't know exactly how the methodology changed, do we? I bet they punish schools with high part-time scores, and stay away from taking a stand on the whole full-time JD required debate...

I really wish they would just stop giving points for employed at graduation given how schools game that.. 83% at Davis but only 40% at Hastings?

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BlueJeanBaby
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby BlueJeanBaby » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:27 pm

Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:
BlueJeanBaby wrote:
JCougar wrote:
That doesn't say anything to suggest they're not counting school-funded employment. They were planning on changing the job computation a while back. Under the old rule, unemployed students that were "not seeking full-time employment" were not counted as unemployed, as were students who went back to school for an LLM. As far as I know, the revised strategy still counts as "employed" anyone who has any job. So all the non-JD-required jobs still count. I'm assuming the school-funded fellowships fall into this category.

In other words, the formula is still extremely problematic, only slightly less so.


Is "not-seeking" going to count as unemployed in the new system?


Unless we believe that schools are going to influence unemployed graduates to dishonestly select "not-seeking," I see no reason why this category should count towards unemployment.


I hope not. I'd like to think if I chose to spend the year after law school having/raising a child I wouldn't be hurting my law school's ranking.

rad lulz
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby rad lulz » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:30 pm

BlueJeanBaby wrote:
Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:
BlueJeanBaby wrote:
JCougar wrote:
That doesn't say anything to suggest they're not counting school-funded employment. They were planning on changing the job computation a while back. Under the old rule, unemployed students that were "not seeking full-time employment" were not counted as unemployed, as were students who went back to school for an LLM. As far as I know, the revised strategy still counts as "employed" anyone who has any job. So all the non-JD-required jobs still count. I'm assuming the school-funded fellowships fall into this category.

In other words, the formula is still extremely problematic, only slightly less so.


Is "not-seeking" going to count as unemployed in the new system?


Unless we believe that schools are going to influence unemployed graduates to dishonestly select "not-seeking," I see no reason why this category should count towards unemployment.


I hope not. I'd like to think if I chose to spend the year after law school having/raising a child I wouldn't be hurting my law school's ranking.

LOL it's a law school; who fucking cares

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:44 pm

rad lulz wrote:
BlueJeanBaby wrote:
I hope not. I'd like to think if I chose to spend the year after law school having/raising a child I wouldn't be hurting my law school's ranking.

LOL it's a law school; who fucking cares


Woman feels guilt for having family. Man laugh. Har Har Har

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JCougar
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby JCougar » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:47 pm

Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:
BlueJeanBaby wrote:
JCougar wrote:
That doesn't say anything to suggest they're not counting school-funded employment. They were planning on changing the job computation a while back. Under the old rule, unemployed students that were "not seeking full-time employment" were not counted as unemployed, as were students who went back to school for an LLM. As far as I know, the revised strategy still counts as "employed" anyone who has any job. So all the non-JD-required jobs still count. I'm assuming the school-funded fellowships fall into this category.

In other words, the formula is still extremely problematic, only slightly less so.


Is "not-seeking" going to count as unemployed in the new system?


Unless we believe that schools are going to influence unemployed graduates to dishonestly select "not-seeking," I see no reason why this category should count towards unemployment.


Part of the problem is that schools have been dishonestly selecting "not-seeking" in an effort to boost their employment scores. There's really no objective way to verify this unless you have a third party agency call each unemployed student and make them swear they are telling the truth. By allowing schools to not count these people, it gives dishonest schools a very big opportunity to lie. Simply counting everyone that is unemployed as unemployed may not be perfect, but it at least solves the problem of those who lie faring the best.

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HBBJohnStamos
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby HBBJohnStamos » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:51 pm

Wormfather wrote:This is why, in my personal statement, I guaranteed that I would raise the ranking of the school I attend by no less than 3 spots. I know what the adcoms are really thinking about.

I WAS BORN AND BRED FOR COTTON SUCCESS!


LOL

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Yukos
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby Yukos » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:55 pm

Wormfather wrote:This is why, in my personal statement, I guaranteed that I would raise the ranking of the school I attend by no less than 3 spots. I know what the adcoms are really thinking about.

I WAS BORN AND BRED FOR COTTON SUCCESS!


Harvard to rank 0!

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:15 pm

JCougar wrote:
Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:
BlueJeanBaby wrote:
JCougar wrote:
That doesn't say anything to suggest they're not counting school-funded employment. They were planning on changing the job computation a while back. Under the old rule, unemployed students that were "not seeking full-time employment" were not counted as unemployed, as were students who went back to school for an LLM. As far as I know, the revised strategy still counts as "employed" anyone who has any job. So all the non-JD-required jobs still count. I'm assuming the school-funded fellowships fall into this category.

In other words, the formula is still extremely problematic, only slightly less so.


Is "not-seeking" going to count as unemployed in the new system?


Unless we believe that schools are going to influence unemployed graduates to dishonestly select "not-seeking," I see no reason why this category should count towards unemployment.


Part of the problem is that schools have been dishonestly selecting "not-seeking" in an effort to boost their employment scores. There's really no objective way to verify this unless you have a third party agency call each unemployed student and make them swear they are telling the truth. By allowing schools to not count these people, it gives dishonest schools a very big opportunity to lie. Simply counting everyone that is unemployed as unemployed may not be perfect, but it at least solves the problem of those who lie faring the best.


Cite? I'm not saying you're wrong, but this would be some Illinois style cheating. I mean, wouldn't they have to litterally erase the graduates response and replace it with a new one?

EDIT: Also why can't the ABA just take over the whole employment questionare business? They are already the ones that report the data!! Just increase the dues on the member schools and hire 5 new people to do this. All they would need is contact info.. Amrite or amrong?

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JCougar
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby JCougar » Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:23 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:While it might not be fair to everyone who goes to law school, I do think that it would be beneficial to change the "employment rate" of the USNWR rankings to only count full-time, long-term, JD-required positions. If we assume that the purpose of law schools is to train lawyers, then the best way to assess a school's ability to achieve this purpose would be through excluding non-lawyer jobs from the employment rates. (If someone was interested in non-JD-required work but wanted to go to law school, they could use sites like LST to assess schools' placement into other fields.)

Also, I believe that instead of simply categorizing full-time, long-term, JD-required positions by "tier," it would be better to base the score off of income instead. That is, take the median starting salaries and divide them by the cost of tuition for 3 years to get a score; this score would be an incentive for schools to lower tuition in order to raise their rank while simultaneously being an indicator of outcome to potential applicants. Instead of being based on absolute values, it would be based on a curve so that schools would be directly competing with each other for points. To make sure that low salaries are not intentionally left out, the score would be multiplied by the % of the graduating class for which the income was reported (so x 1.0 if 100% of the graduates were accounted for, and x 0.8 if only 80% of the graduates were accounted for).

The above could be used to replace the current 18% (4% for at graduation and 14% for 9 months after graduation) of a school's overall score that goes to employment rate as follows:

10%: Employment Rate (Full-time, Long-term, JD-required Positions within 9 months of graduation)
8%: Income/Tuition*Reliability (A full 8% would be awarded to the school with the best (highest) ratio)


I'd like to see US news broken down into three different broad categories: raw reputation, inputs, and outcomes. Raw reputation is probably measured somewhat well already with the peer/practitioner surveys, although I'd up the "practitioner" weight and lower the "peer school" rate so that they are both 20%.

The inputs would measure LSAT and GPA, and account for about 20%. I do think the school's ability to attract students is a somewhat large factor, as it influences how flat the grading curve is going to be and, in general, better inputs lead to better outcomes. LSAT and GPA aren't the most comprehensive measures of inputs, but it's also hard to objectively measure other inputs on a standardized, industry-wide basis. I'd ditch the selectivity rankings, because these are just to easy to game with fee waivers, yield protection, etc.

The outcomes are probably the most poorly measured. This should be a balance between the type of job you get and your average debt at graduation. Maybe 25% for job placement and 15% for average debt. It would have a similar effect to the ratio you speak about. The current rankings place emphasis on "money spent on teaching" and "money spent on scholarships." But this creates perverse incentives, such as raising tuition but giving out more scholarships--instead of just lowering tuition across the board. An "average debt at graduation" figure would solve that.

I would be somewhat in favor of measuring placement success by salary alone, but that has problems, too. You'd have to adjust for the public interest IBR factor, sort out which clerkships actually lead to prestigious biglaw and which ones are just a 12-month cure for chronic unemployment, etc.

Either way, I don't think it would take educated people more than 1 hour in a room discussing things to come up with a much better ranking system than US News. If you could come up with a smart one, the effects on the entire legal education complex would be astronomical. One hour or two of work is all it would take. Yet no one wants to do it.

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JCougar
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby JCougar » Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:26 pm

Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:Cite? I'm not saying you're wrong, but this would be some Illinois style cheating. I mean, wouldn't they have to litterally erase the graduates response and replace it with a new one?

EDIT: Also why can't the ABA just take over the whole employment questionare business? They are already the ones that report the data!! Just increase the dues on the member schools and hire 5 new people to do this. All they would need is contact info.. Amrite or amrong?


http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot. ... ously.html

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Sheffield
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby Sheffield » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:31 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
Sheffield wrote:
Hard to imagine all the politicking that goes on before THE LIST is published.

Surprisingly enough, there isn't all that much politicking that goes on. . . . .there seems to either no correlation or even a negative correlation between the prestige of the faculty member's school you hire from and your school's prestige ranking in USNews . . . .Anxiety I can assure you is high at almost all law schools.

Thanks for the input. I am surprised the schools are not heavily promoting the reasons why their program should climb in the rankings . . . new library, millions spent on renovation, state of the art technology, improved employment placement, etc., etc.

I also thought schools placed a high value on hiring professors from elite schools, but you are saying, “not as much as one would think.” Correct?

What is not surprising is that the anxiety level is high at almost all law schools, given that there are schools aspiring to lock in a T14 position while others want desperately keep their T14 rank. Then there are the schools wanting to jump up to the top 100, or from 2 to tier 1. Any truth to the urban legend that heads roll when a ranking goal is not achieved (or worse, if the school tanks).

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Crowing
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby Crowing » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:07 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:One thing about USNews rankings. I think people often assume (I did) that Bob Morse has a crack staff, resides in a palatial building, and had all kinds of resources at his disposal. In fact, it is Morse and a bunch of college age interns in an old, small building. This is not to say that they could change their methodology considerably or that he does not have the bandwidth to do so. But, I have a gut feeling that if one were to contact him and suggest mindful changes, it might not ever make it to him.


This is really crazy/funny considering how mich power the rankis have over prospective students and law school deans.

The deans should band together and buy him a better place.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:04 pm

JCougar wrote:
Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:Cite? I'm not saying you're wrong, but this would be some Illinois style cheating. I mean, wouldn't they have to litterally erase the graduates response and replace it with a new one?

EDIT: Also why can't the ABA just take over the whole employment questionare business? They are already the ones that report the data!! Just increase the dues on the member schools and hire 5 new people to do this. All they would need is contact info.. Amrite or amrong?


http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot. ... ously.html


Thanks.

Geez SCU is a dump. 2/3 of their unemployed grads weren't seeking? Still, the blog admits that SCU appears to be the only real offender here-- only 2 schools out of the 200+ reported half as many "not seeking" as SCU.

I'd rather provide more honest results for 99.5% of schools than worry about policing a few bad apples.

To the main herp derp going on--My pick would be to exclude school funded from the long-term category -- GW reports 80 such students -- because that is obvously a farce. I wouldn't cut out school funded though. All that is going to do is make it likely that schools will cut such programs, an outcome that no one wants. Also, I think it would be misleading to cut out all school funded jobs from the total employed numbers-- many of these people would have found some job had the school not provided them with a chance to essentially have a paid post-bar internship in a gov office.. I'd then give 1 full point to anyone employed long-term/ full-time, regardless of whether or not the job is JD required. I'd include law clerks in this, even though they are arguable not long-term (though at most schools they are well on their way to more permanent employment). Then I'd probably give half a point to any graduate working part-time, short-term, or both. It's simple and would be less controversial than trying to allocate points for certain firms, clerkships, etc.

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JCougar
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby JCougar » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:21 pm

Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:. I'd then give 1 full point to anyone employed long-term/ full-time, regardless of whether or not the job is JD required. I'd include law clerks in this, even though they are arguable not long-term (though at most schools they are well on their way to more permanent employment). Then I'd probably give half a point to any graduate working part-time, short-term, or both. It's simple and would be less controversial than trying to allocate points for certain firms, clerkships, etc.


And even this would be a drastic improvement upon what they have now.

SydneyC
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby SydneyC » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:22 pm

ManoftheHour wrote:
wannabelawstudent wrote:So the idea is to just apply to every school you can and go to the highest ranked school right?


That's the idea. Even though I'm from Cali and want to work in LA, I'd choose Vandy over USC because 16th is better than 18th.


That's a joke right? No way Vandy sets a grad up better for a gig in LA than USC does. Half of LA went to USC.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:25 pm

JCougar wrote:
Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:. I'd then give 1 full point to anyone employed long-term/ full-time, regardless of whether or not the job is JD required. I'd include law clerks in this, even though they are arguable not long-term (though at most schools they are well on their way to more permanent employment). Then I'd probably give half a point to any graduate working part-time, short-term, or both. It's simple and would be less controversial than trying to allocate points for certain firms, clerkships, etc.


And even this would be a drastic improvement upon what they have now.


Thanks. I guess.

rad lulz
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby rad lulz » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:26 pm

SydneyC wrote:
ManoftheHour wrote:
wannabelawstudent wrote:So the idea is to just apply to every school you can and go to the highest ranked school right?


That's the idea. Even though I'm from Cali and want to work in LA, I'd choose Vandy over USC because 16th is better than 18th.


That's a joke right? No way Vandy sets a grad up better for a gig in LA than USC does. Half of LA went to USC.

It does. It's ranked hire.

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jbagelboy
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:30 pm

ph14 wrote:
Bildungsroman wrote:I hope UChicago doesn't drop because then I'll have to drop out in shame as employers abandon the school IN DROVES.


Chicago is moving up to Columbia's spot. See my above post for full reasoning.


I'm going to have to disagree with part of this assessment.. CLS still has by some measures the best employment numbers nationwide (http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/ ... ospects-2/) and highest lsat median outside of hys. Like it or not, these are key indicators for USNWR. I'm going with chicago and columbia tied at 4th.

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Yukos
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby Yukos » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:53 pm

1. Yale
2. Stanford
3. Harvard
4. Columbia
5. Chicago
6. NYU
7. Penn
7. UVA
9. Berkeley
10. Michigan
10. Duke
10. NU
13. Cornell
14. GULC

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twenty
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby twenty » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:57 pm

1. Yale
2. Stanford
3. Harvard
4. Columbia
4. Chicago
6. NYU
7. Penn
8. Berkeley
9. UVA
10. Duke
10. NU
12. Michigan
13. Cornell
14. GULC

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shortporch
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby shortporch » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:14 pm

Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:most fascinating part of the methodology is the peer review and lawyers and judges score. wtf. first of all, who decides who gets these surveys? second, how the fuck do you rate schools based on 1 to 5? at least make it 1 to 10 and allow for half scores. ridiculous. this score counts for like 40% of the rankings, and there is no way to even reform it and make it less than horse-shit.


USNWR has been notoriously opaque as to its methodology. It says it surveys "hiring partners of law firms, state attorneys general, and selected federal and state judges." It also says it surveys "750 hiring partners and recruiters at law firms who made the 2011 Best Law Firms rankings produced jointly by U.S. News and the publication Best Lawyers." But this category has had notoriously low survey returns. Only 12% returned them in Fall 2011. It's led USNWR to average two years' worth of surveys to give some heft to this component of the rankings. But it's essentially a worthless, non-scientific survey that weighs as 15% of the overall ranking.

kingjones59 wrote:Anyone see this yet? Or am I late to the party.....

"In less than a month, on March 12, 2013, U.S. News will publish the 2014 edition of the Best Graduate Schools rankings on usnews.com....In the 2014 edition, we made a change in the law school rankings methodology used to compute placement rates for 2011 J.D. graduates employed at graduation and nine months after graduation. We also changed how we computed admissions selectivity in the full-time and part-time MBA rankings.

All the other rankings methodologies remain unchanged from the 2013 edition. Detailed explanations of all the methodologies will be available online on March 12.
"

Looks like they are going to change how they facor in school-funded rates. I cant think of another change in computing placement rates...


Why would anyone view it as anything but marginally relevant what the employment rates for people who graduated in 2011 nine months out--that is, those who were interviewing on-campus in Fall 2009, and who took the LSAT in October 2007--for anyone considering entering law school in Fall 2013?

JCougar wrote:Honestly, the job outcomes are probably the most important part of the rankings. There's no reason for them to be so poorly measured. US News needs to come up with a formula that rewards some jobs over others. The "employment" part of the rankings should count at least as much as the reputational rankings, e.g. 40%. Each job should get assigned a certain point value depending on the type of job. For example:

1.0 - Art III clerkship/V100 firm/law professor
0.8 - NLJ350 firm, some jobs from the "business" category that fall into consulting
0.5 - other long-term + full time JD required (minus school-funded "fellowships"), or white-collar, professional "business" jobs
0.4 - JD preferred
0.25 - other legal (part time, temp, school fellowship, administrative academia)

You can adjust this formula any way you like, and maybe there can be exceptions made (some JD preferred may actually be highly desirable). But make granting any "exceptions" contingent on the school releasing a report of each individual job by each student (minus the student's name, but listing the firm/employer, city, starting salary, and position).


Anyone who becomes a law professor within 9 months of graduation is at an institution doing it wrong.

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jenesaislaw
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby jenesaislaw » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:18 pm

Crowing wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:One thing about USNews rankings. I think people often assume (I did) that Bob Morse has a crack staff, resides in a palatial building, and had all kinds of resources at his disposal. In fact, it is Morse and a bunch of college age interns in an old, small building. This is not to say that they could change their methodology considerably or that he does not have the bandwidth to do so. But, I have a gut feeling that if one were to contact him and suggest mindful changes, it might not ever make it to him.


This is really crazy/funny considering how mich power the rankis have over prospective students and law school deans.

The deans should band together and buy him a better place.


Now I know I'm not some random TLSer, but Morse has been open to the changes I've suggested at every turn. He's actually remarkably easy to get a hold of considering how in demand his head is.

Some corrections on the office: I know of at least two others that work on the methodology, besides Morse, who are full-time, permanent employees. Moreover, the building is pretty nice inside in my opinion, though that's neither here nor there. Awesome location in Georgetown, that's for sure.

Anyhow, as of a last week they were undecided on what to use for the employment metric. I of course suggested the Employment Score.

run26.2
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Re: 2014 Rankings Waiting Thread

Postby run26.2 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:07 pm

JCougar wrote:
kappycaft1 wrote:While it might not be fair to everyone who goes to law school, I do think that it would be beneficial to change the "employment rate" of the USNWR rankings to only count full-time, long-term, JD-required positions. If we assume that the purpose of law schools is to train lawyers, then the best way to assess a school's ability to achieve this purpose would be through excluding non-lawyer jobs from the employment rates. (If someone was interested in non-JD-required work but wanted to go to law school, they could use sites like LST to assess schools' placement into other fields.)

Also, I believe that instead of simply categorizing full-time, long-term, JD-required positions by "tier," it would be better to base the score off of income instead. That is, take the median starting salaries and divide them by the cost of tuition for 3 years to get a score; this score would be an incentive for schools to lower tuition in order to raise their rank while simultaneously being an indicator of outcome to potential applicants. Instead of being based on absolute values, it would be based on a curve so that schools would be directly competing with each other for points. To make sure that low salaries are not intentionally left out, the score would be multiplied by the % of the graduating class for which the income was reported (so x 1.0 if 100% of the graduates were accounted for, and x 0.8 if only 80% of the graduates were accounted for).

The above could be used to replace the current 18% (4% for at graduation and 14% for 9 months after graduation) of a school's overall score that goes to employment rate as follows:

10%: Employment Rate (Full-time, Long-term, JD-required Positions within 9 months of graduation)
8%: Income/Tuition*Reliability (A full 8% would be awarded to the school with the best (highest) ratio)


I'd like to see US news broken down into three different broad categories: raw reputation, inputs, and outcomes. Raw reputation is probably measured somewhat well already with the peer/practitioner surveys, although I'd up the "practitioner" weight and lower the "peer school" rate so that they are both 20%.

The inputs would measure LSAT and GPA, and account for about 20%. I do think the school's ability to attract students is a somewhat large factor, as it influences how flat the grading curve is going to be and, in general, better inputs lead to better outcomes. LSAT and GPA aren't the most comprehensive measures of inputs, but it's also hard to objectively measure other inputs on a standardized, industry-wide basis. I'd ditch the selectivity rankings, because these are just to easy to game with fee waivers, yield protection, etc.

The outcomes are probably the most poorly measured. This should be a balance between the type of job you get and your average debt at graduation. Maybe 25% for job placement and 15% for average debt. It would have a similar effect to the ratio you speak about. The current rankings place emphasis on "money spent on teaching" and "money spent on scholarships." But this creates perverse incentives, such as raising tuition but giving out more scholarships--instead of just lowering tuition across the board. An "average debt at graduation" figure would solve that.

I would be somewhat in favor of measuring placement success by salary alone, but that has problems, too. You'd have to adjust for the public interest IBR factor, sort out which clerkships actually lead to prestigious biglaw and which ones are just a 12-month cure for chronic unemployment, etc.

Either way, I don't think it would take educated people more than 1 hour in a room discussing things to come up with a much better ranking system than US News. If you could come up with a smart one, the effects on the entire legal education complex would be astronomical. One hour or two of work is all it would take. Yet no one wants to do it.

I was thinking about something similar yesterday. Why not have a democratically determined rankings system? You could accomplish this with technology. My thinking is that resources like TLS and LST have provided law school applicants, students, recent graduates, etc. with an unprecedented insight, via data on the schools, into the legal industry. Why should US News tell us which schools are best? A technologically based system could accept votes, each vote assigning a weight to a particular data point (e.g. LSAT, graduates employed at 9 mos., etc.). Then these values could be averaged and a weight assigned to each category. The weights could be recalculated annually, to reflect the current values in the student/recent graduate population. It would be possible to use a running average of weights, over the last 3 years say, although I haven't thought through of the pros/cons of this approach.

If this system were implemented technologically, i.e. using a web-based system, it would be possible to allow each user to assign his/her own weightings to each category of data, to help determine which school is best for him/her.

IMO, one of the advantages of a system like the above is that it minimizes the influence of the peer assessment and lawyer/judge scores, which account for 40% of the rankings. I assume that these scores are heavily influenced by the school from which the assessor graduated. I'm not saying these metrics mean nothing, but I think they are overly influential and work to reinforce the rankings at the top.




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