Leiter's open letter to USNWR

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MURPH
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Re: Leiter's open letter to USNWR

Postby MURPH » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:13 pm

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.

notanumber
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Re: Leiter's open letter to USNWR

Postby notanumber » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:55 pm

MURPH wrote:
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.

Torvon
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Re: Leiter's open letter to USNWR

Postby Torvon » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:46 pm

notanumber wrote:Ultimately, anybody who decides where to attend law school based on the school's "ranking" without understanding what that ranking means is an idiot.

I think most prospective law students use the rankings because it's easily accessible; the same reason they go to TLS for some quick advice. Using either of these sources as a primary factor in your decision without understanding the context would be naive. Yes the rankings have their problems, but even if you compare Leiter's rankings to the USNWR rankings the same schools always end up at the top. So while the rankings can most definitely be misleading, I would argue that TLS has that same potential if you aren't researching your options carefully. With the exception of a very small number of posters on TLS the advice is extremely biased (not to mention almost entirely based on the very rankings that are so often accused of being misleading). Both TLS and USNWR can play an important role in helping future law school students make their decision, the student just has to be able to critically analyze the information.

notanumber
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Re: Leiter's open letter to USNWR

Postby notanumber » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:57 pm

Torvon wrote:
notanumber wrote:Ultimately, anybody who decides where to attend law school based on the school's "ranking" without understanding what that ranking means is an idiot.

I think most prospective law students use the rankings because it's easily accessible; the same reason they go to TLS for some quick advice. Using either of these sources as a primary factor in your decision without understanding the context would be naive. Yes the rankings have their problems, but even if you compare Leiter's rankings to the USNWR rankings the same schools always end up at the top. So while the rankings can most definitely be misleading, I would argue that TLS has that same potential if you aren't researching your options carefully. With the exception of a very small number of posters on TLS the advice is extremely biased (not to mention almost entirely based on the very rankings that are so often accused of being misleading). Both TLS and USNWR can play an important role in helping future law school students make their decision, the student just has to be able to critically analyze the information.


I certainly agree with everything you said.

Especially this: "I would argue that TLS has that same potential if you aren't researching your options carefully."

Do research, figure out what you want out of law school, and enroll in a school that will meet those needs.

I still think that USNWR and (to a much lesser extent) Leiter oversell their rankings, but the data that they generate, when taken with a grain of salt, can help people to make informed decisions.

SandyC877
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Re: Leiter's open letter to USNWR

Postby SandyC877 » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:23 pm

Flanker1067 wrote:We also need better job placement data. Using the NLJ250 presents alot of problems because 250 is alot of firms, and placement into them doesn't necessarily represent the placement power of a school. If a school (Yale, bastards) have many people self select away from biglaw but the ones who go all end up in V5 firms, we should know that.

Also thinking NYU, who seems to have a good reach into the very top firms although placement % was on par with many others this year. Maybe people there figured that if they couldn't get the biglaw jobs they wanted, they would go PI because of good LRAP (this is arbitrary speculation, I have no idea what really happens)


So force the graduates to report their place of employment so you can compile a dubious ranking system? If we're to rank schools, how about we rank them by what they are - educational institutions. It's not the job of the schools to find you a job. As Leiter suggests, do away with the whole reputation/employment statistics altogether, or have a separate ranking addressing just those 2 factors.

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Fancy Pants
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Re: Leiter's open letter to USNWR

Postby Fancy Pants » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:26 pm

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).


And your suggestion for why the rankings were that way for the years and years and years before he taught at Chicago?

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OperaAttorney
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Re: Leiter's open letter to USNWR

Postby OperaAttorney » Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:57 pm

SandyC877 wrote:why not quote the actual letter? It was very insightful
An Open Letter to Bob Morse of U.S. News
MOVING TO FRONT FROM MARCH 31, 2008, SINCE IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN

Dear Mr. Morse:

***

The lawyer/judge survey, by contrast, currently gets such a low response rate that the results are highly suspect. I do not know how you can increase the response rate, but you may need to put in place measures to insure geographic and practice-area diversity in the response pool. In any case, you need to make public the geographic distribution of the respondents, since I suspect that will shed important light on the reputational results.

****



http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leit ... tte-1.html


Big booboo in red. Leiter needs to edit more carefully. :lol:




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