notanumber wrote:And I'd argue that Leiter's rankings aren't that much much more useful than the USNWR rankings (and usually seem to give Chicago, his school, a bit of a Cooley-like-boost). Though, in his defense, he's upfront about it when his rankings extrapolate from weak data (as in his "student quality" rankings).
Why even bother ranking schools at all? A simple matrix presenting job results, class sizes, LSAT/GPA 25/75, etc... would be far more useful for students.
Leiter is pretty new to Chicago, I think this is his second year there. He was at Texas and san Diago before that. Chicago is not getting any Cooley like bump from him. That is absurd.
It's not at all absurd. The kinds of statistics that he highlights (such as AAAS membership rosters) and the way he compiles his reputational rankings (e.g. using faculty names and reputations without reference to institutional resources) tends to favor schools that are small and consistent over schools that are large and intellectually diverse (why Chicago often bests Harvard in his rankings). For example, it's easier (and more desirable from an institutional standpoint) for a school like Chicago to have higher average citation rates for their professors than it is for a school like Columbia.
Again, in his defense and unlike the USNWR, he's honest about the shortcomings of his approach and what it specifically means, but his methods certainly tend to advantage smaller schools (Yale, Chicago) over their larger peers (Harvard, Columbia, NYU).
Leiter's rankings are much better than the USNWR rankings but for the average student they're not that much more useful and they need to be taken in context and their shortcomings need to be understood. Ultimately, anybody who decides where to attend law school based on the school's "ranking" without understanding what that ranking means is an idiot.