swheat wrote: ScaredWorkedBored wrote:
danquayle wrote:The same thing that separates HYS from t-14 and t-14 from the rest --> a strong student body, for which median LSAT and GPA serve as a proxy.
Say what you will about gaming and say what you will about Alabama being overrated (which I agree with, by the way), but how does one truly determine the value of a law school except by the talent of its student body?
You determine it by return on investment. Who the hell goes to law school for a "strong student body?" The entire point of that is that it is used as a proxy for marketability of graduates.
Does anyone in BigLaw take Alabama seriously? Based on LSN - 49 firms at their OCI in 2007 (which was an excellent OCI year), no NY/DC/LA at all - the answer there is no.
This is true to a lesser extent at Illinois. Sure, they place pretty well, but they've tried to jack their stats to reflect a T14 and absolutely no one belives that BS either.
TITCR + 1,000,000
How Bama suckers in 160+ LSATs with mediocre career prospects is a great mystery to me. Usually the schools that are successful at that are at least in desirable regions.
You miss understand my point. Completely. I'm not saying you're be smarter to go to Alabama or that Bama is a better choice than, say, Northeastern. Alabama won't give you better prospects than most Tier 2 schools, and I'm not pretending they are. But please, try to think a little deeper.
Us News is a not a proxy for the marketability of your degree. Its states nothing more than 'the best law schools.' Just because you or other potential law students use them as a proxy for marketability doesn't make it so. '
The best law schools are the best law schools only because they have consistently received the best law students over a long period of time. That's it. Employers go there because they essentially shift the 'selecting' cost off to these institutions. They push the cost of failure off to a third party. They go to Harvard because they know Harvard is particularly adept at picking solid law students, so their risk in hiring a Harvard selected law student is subtantially lower than their risk in choosing a Suffolk trained law student. I actually think that's terribly inefficient for the system, but its efficient for the individual firm.
There's nothing particularly special about Michigan, for example. It probably only became so reputable because it was a public school that served one of the 5 largest population centers in the country. It just had more people to choose from, so invariably had a stronger student body. Likewise, they're nothing special about Harvard, other than it was in the first major university in the first Colonial population center. They developed their reputations somewhat early on, and everything after that has simply been an continuous positive feedback loop.
This ties very well into the 'nothing beyond the T-14 matters' train of thought. While I agree, to a certain point, I do think Us News is great for shedding light on trends. If Alabama is able to sustain its ability to recruit highly credentialed student bodies, eventually employers will catch wind of this and Alabama's marketability will grow exponentially. So while at the moment Alabama's marketability isn't even close to those of other T-30 schools, it may be after 10 decades of producing a student bodies with strong incoming credentials.
If you know how to look at US News and don't make the mistake of thinking its intended to convey marketability, as you have, its actually remarkably accurate. Its just another tool. A student wouldn't be crazy to look at the trends and bet on Alabama over Tennessee, for example, on the theory that they'll be receiving a diploma with increasing value.
Edit: Again, this is a very narrow point. I'm not attempting to pretend Alabama is better than Georgia or Tennessee. I'd choose either of the latter, personally, over Bama. I'd likewise choose Tulane, UNC, SMU, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky, etc., over Bama. I'm merely stating that for the most recent recruiting class, Alabama had a superior student body. If that is a trend that holds for 10-20 years, then Alabama would probably be as good or a better choice than any of those schools.
That's why I say outside of the t-14, maybe t-30, the US News should only be used for trends. The point differentials between all the schools outside of the t-18 are so narrow, that its expected the rankings would be somewhat volatile. Maybe that's why the US News includes the raw scores in addition to the rankings.
The problem is that marketability is almost entirely based upon reputation, particularly in the legal field. And that's such an ephemeral concept, that all of these rankings systems are going to be imperfect. So, when real empirical data is available, like LSAT medians, I'd rather err in their favor than against them. Otherwise, I'm merely letting my personal biases guide me.