Thomas Jefferson wrote:
I think both Vandy and UT will overtake GULC precisely because of their location: their markets have more room for growth than the oversaturated places GULC tends to place.
Then again, at the rate we're going the federal government will be pretty much the entirety of the economy, making DC the go-to, and only, market.
Hmm. According to Vandy's ABA data 59 out of 152 took the bar in NY and CA, (with a bar passage rate ~5.5% below the state average in NY). I would expect that the number of Vandy grads looking for employment in the major markets will increase, not decrease, as the school tries to climb the rankings ladder. I don't see a major shift in huge corporate or government interests away from NYC, Philly, DC, Chicago and LA, so I'm not sure I understand your "room for growth" argument. Vandy grads are going to have to go to biglaw just like everyone else, biglaw isn't going to come to them.
As you said, I think that if any city is going to see an expansion of its legal market in the future, it's DC.
UT is a thing unto itself, but I don't see it surpassing GULC, at least in terms of rankings any time soon, if ever. I think Vandy has a stronger case. UT places worse by every metric that I've read, even in the Leitner rankings.
By the way, in the scholarly impact section of the Leitner rankings, Leitner discusses flaws in ranking systems that have to compare large schools like GULC to small schools like Vandy (although he is speaking specifically about professorial citation rankings as a measure of faculty distinction). He says:
"Needless to say, citation studies are but one measure of the scholarly distinction of faculties. They tend to favor smaller faculties over larger faculties, which no doubt explains why schools like Texas and Virginia and Georgetown come out behind schools like Vanderbilt and Cornell, even though I don’t think any informed scholarly judgment would rate them that way."