Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

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JWalker
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby JWalker » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:56 pm

YLS or bust.

BostonLawStudent
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby BostonLawStudent » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:02 pm

YES. And, notice too how the ONLY PEOPLE who tell you law school rankings "don't matter" are the ones who go to shitty law schools.

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dingbat
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby dingbat » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:15 pm

jenesaislaw wrote:
skri65 wrote:IMO, rankings do not matter. However, employment statistics do matter, and they are very much correlated with rankings.


This is not true. http://www.lstscorereports.com/?r=guides&show=13

In all fairness, biglaw placement is correlated with rankings, while "shitlaw" is not.

LST great value, but they treat all legal employment equally, whether it be making $160k doing M&A work for a V5, or whether it's performing local real estate closings making $40k per year.

If you want to be a lawyer regardless of the type of law job, LST is great. If you're more concerned about earning a big enough paycheck to justify the cost of law school, or want to work for a big firm, or for prestigious clients, then not so much.

WhiskeynCoke
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:32 pm

If you want to be a lawyer regardless of the type of law job, LST is great. If you're more concerned about earning a big enough paycheck to justify the cost of law school, or want to work for a big firm, or for prestigious clients, then not so much.


Not true, LST is great for those things as well. You can search schools based on big firm hiring (highly correlated with rankings), Federal Clerkships (ditto), State Clerkships, and PI positions. LST is the best tool around.

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jenesaislaw
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby jenesaislaw » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:15 am

Going to echo WhiskeynCoke here (my favorite drink, btw). If you're thinking that LST is only about the employment score, you're extremely mistaken and doing it wrong. That's a starting point and then users should dive deeper. The school profiles are the most extensive, comparable information available. The portions of the report beyond the three basic scores also go well beyond. We have far more than the ABA data, and put the cost data right next to all of the employment data.

Nevertheless, just because the U.S. News rankings do a good job sorting the very top schools does not mean it does a good job with the rest of them (the other 90%). The correlation ends for biglaw placement (and biglaw + fed clerkships) after the top schools. You cannot tell the degree of difference between schools, the schools are in a national rather than regional scope, and change over time is not measurable with relative rankings.

If you're going to go to a top school, you'll luck into a fine choice if you want to maximize your biglaw or Vault firm chances. But why luck into it when you can rely on hard data? And why not get a feel for your actual chances in real terms, rather than hoping a school's relative positioning justifies cost?

b33eazy
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby b33eazy » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:22 am

jenesaislaw wrote:Going to echo WhiskeynCoke here (my favorite drink, btw). If you're thinking that LST is only about the employment score, you're extremely mistaken and doing it wrong. That's a starting point and then users should dive deeper. The school profiles are the most extensive, comparable information available. The portions of the report beyond the three basic scores also go well beyond. We have far more than the ABA data, and put the cost data right next to all of the employment data.

Nevertheless, just because the U.S. News rankings do a good job sorting the very top schools does not mean it does a good job with the rest of them (the other 90%). The correlation ends for biglaw placement (and biglaw + fed clerkships) after the top schools. You cannot tell the degree of difference between schools, the schools are in a national rather than regional scope, and change over time is not measurable with relative rankings.

If you're going to go to a top school, you'll luck into a fine choice if you want to maximize your biglaw or Vault firm chances. But why luck into it when you can rely on hard data? And why not get a feel for your actual chances in real terms, rather than hoping a school's relative positioning justifies cost?


What does LST stand for?

DerekTokaz
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby DerekTokaz » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:27 am

WhiskeynCoke wrote:
If you want to be a lawyer regardless of the type of law job, LST is great. If you're more concerned about earning a big enough paycheck to justify the cost of law school, or want to work for a big firm, or for prestigious clients, then not so much.


Not true, LST is great for those things as well. You can search schools based on big firm hiring (highly correlated with rankings), Federal Clerkships (ditto), State Clerkships, and PI positions. LST is the best tool around.

Just click the Job Characteristics tab on a state report to do this comparison.

The large firm category isn't quite BigLaw. It's firms with 101+ attorneys, while the AmLaw200's smallest firm is about 160. But, we have to work with the categories available, which are 101-250, 251-500, and 501+. If you want a more detailed breakdown (and if you're about to shell out $150k in tuition dollars, you should be doing this much research) go to the individual school's profile, click the Job Characteristics tab, and then click By Employer Type.

DerekTokaz
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby DerekTokaz » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:29 am

b33eazy wrote:What does LST stand for?

It stands for truth, justice, and the American way!

Also, stands for Law School Transparency.

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Sheffield
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby Sheffield » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:37 am

Simply works like this. Go to a top rated law school, get median or better grades and step into a $160K job. From experience, this is the way it works. Across town, well known great school but not nearly as highly ranked. . . even their LR students are struggling to land a mid-law gig.

Don’t make it harder than it needs to be.

BostonLawStudent
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby BostonLawStudent » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:40 am

Sheffield wrote:Simply works like this. Go to a top rated law school, get median or better grades and step into a $160K job. From experience, this is the way it works. Across town, well known great school but not nearly as highly ranked. . . even their LR students are struggling to land a mid-law gig.

Exactly

DerekTokaz
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby DerekTokaz » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:48 am

Sheffield wrote:Simply works like this. Go to a top rated law school, get median or better grades and step into a $160K job. From experience, this is the way it works.

Except that it's not. Only 10 schools placed at least 50% of their class in a large (101+) firm or a federal clerkship. Only Stanford broke 70%.

Cornell (USN #14) only had 46.8% in these jobs. Michigan (USN #10) had 44.6%. Georgetown (USN #13) had only 37.4%.

Not to mention that placing in the top half of a top school isn't a gimme. In fact, half of all students at these schools will fail to do it.

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sambeber
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby sambeber » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:52 am

DerekTokaz wrote:
Sheffield wrote:Simply works like this. Go to a top rated law school, get median or better grades and step into a $160K job. From experience, this is the way it works.

Except that it's not. Only 10 schools placed at least 50% of their class in a large (101+) firm or a federal clerkship. Only Stanford broke 70%.

Cornell (USN #14) only had 46.8% in these jobs. Michigan (USN #10) had 44.6%. Georgetown (USN #13) had only 37.4%.

Not to mention that placing in the top half of a top school isn't a gimme. In fact, half of all students at these schools will fail to do it.


46.8% of students getting large firm jobs ≠ have to be in the top 46.8% to get a large firm job.

I'm not saying Sheffield is totally right, but neither are you. I say that as a matter of both experience and logic.

DerekTokaz
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby DerekTokaz » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:03 am

sambeber wrote:
DerekTokaz wrote:
Sheffield wrote:Simply works like this. Go to a top rated law school, get median or better grades and step into a $160K job. From experience, this is the way it works.

Except that it's not. Only 10 schools placed at least 50% of their class in a large (101+) firm or a federal clerkship. Only Stanford broke 70%.

Cornell (USN #14) only had 46.8% in these jobs. Michigan (USN #10) had 44.6%. Georgetown (USN #13) had only 37.4%.

Not to mention that placing in the top half of a top school isn't a gimme. In fact, half of all students at these schools will fail to do it.


46.8% of students getting large firm jobs ≠ have to be in the top 46.8% to get a large firm job.

I'm not saying Sheffield is totally right, but neither are you. I say that as a matter of both experience and logic.

That actually bolsters my point (that it's not as simple as top school + top half).

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Sheffield
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby Sheffield » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:22 am

DerekTokaz wrote:
Sheffield wrote:Simply works like this. Go to a top rated law school, get median or better grades and step into a $160K job. From experience, this is the way it works.

Except that it's not. Only 10 schools placed at least 50% of their class in a large (101+) firm or a federal clerkship. Only Stanford broke 70%.

Cornell (USN #14) only had 46.8% in these jobs. Michigan (USN #10) had 44.6%. Georgetown (USN #13) had only 37.4%.

Not to mention that placing in the top half of a top school isn't a gimme. In fact, half of all students at these schools will fail to do it.

I totally differ, given what I am experiencing first hand. Most cohorts are choosing from multiple offers. Some receive 1L SAs out of the box (although not common). Many with less than median grades are offered mid-law, paying nicely over $100k. Even at this late stage of the recruiting process I know of several cohorts turning down offers because firms offered too late. Even those with far less than stellar grades are receiving SA positions. . . IMHO, these offers are primarily extended due to the school’s high ranking.

DerekTokaz
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby DerekTokaz » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:49 am

Can you get a great job with less than stellar grades from a top school? Sure.

Is it the norm? I'm going to rely on the stats to answer that.

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Sheffield
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby Sheffield » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:58 am

DerekTokaz wrote:Can you get a great job with less than stellar grades from a top school? Sure.

Is it the norm? I'm going to rely on the stats to answer that.

As far as I know, there are no stats for ’12. If you have ’12 stats, let ‘er rip. FWIW: No one I know believes ’12 was nearly as bad as ’11.

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Ludo!
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby Ludo! » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:00 pm

Even in the boom years it wasn't as simple as go to top school, be in top half, get handed $160K/yr job. People at the top still strike out

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Sheffield
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby Sheffield » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:10 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:Even in the boom years it wasn't as simple as go to top school, be in top half, get handed $160K/yr job. People at the top still strike out

Although it seems like a hundred years ago, I recall reading comments from Columbia law students saying that getting a $160K gig was like shooting fish in a barrel. Then came the ITE world. There was obvious concern, but as ’12 wraps up for the upper ranked schools, shooting-fish-in-a-barrel might be too strong a sentiment, but the light in the tunnel is certainly much brighter.

I say this as a former 1L with an SA position, so I did not have to deal with OCI. Those around me got what they wanted (unless they wanted it in DC).

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Ludo!
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby Ludo! » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:14 pm

Obviously at Columbia you've got a great chance of getting a BigLaw job, especially if you end up above median. I'm just saying you're oversimplifying it.

DerekTokaz
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby DerekTokaz » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:16 pm

I was going through OCI at the height of the hiring boom, and even at NYU it wasn't as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. If you were in the top 20% or on Law Review, it probably was. But for people at the median, you weren't necessarily rolling in offers. Odds are you'd get one, but that might be the only one you got from 40+ interviews.

2012 will probably be better than 2011, but it'll look more like 2010 than 2006.

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Sheffield
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby Sheffield » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:04 pm

DerekTokaz wrote:I was going through OCI at the height of the hiring boom, and even at NYU it wasn't as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. If you were in the top 20% or on Law Review, it probably was. But for people at the median, you weren't necessarily rolling in offers. Odds are you'd get one, but that might be the only one you got from 40+ interviews.

2012 will probably be better than 2011, but it'll look more like 2010 than 2006.


I do agree wholeheartedly with your underlined comment. There is a fair amount of anxiety too. But as the curtain goes down on ’12, I do not know of anyone who did not get on base with a good firm at a six figure salary. I will add that two across town LS acquaintances with good grades are still looking. Which, rightly or not, I primarily attribute to the school ranking. So, the one word answer to this thread is YES.

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby ScottRiqui » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:12 pm

Sheffield wrote:I do agree wholeheartedly with your underlined comment. There is a fair amount of anxiety too. But as the curtain goes down on ’12, I do not know of anyone who did not get on base with a good firm at a six figure salary. I will add that two across town LS acquaintances with good grades are still looking. Which, rightly or not, I primarily attribute to the school ranking. So, the one word answer to this thread is YES.


Just for context, what's the approximate ranking of the "across town" school?

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Ludo!
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby Ludo! » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:20 pm

Sheffield wrote:
DerekTokaz wrote:I was going through OCI at the height of the hiring boom, and even at NYU it wasn't as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. If you were in the top 20% or on Law Review, it probably was. But for people at the median, you weren't necessarily rolling in offers. Odds are you'd get one, but that might be the only one you got from 40+ interviews.

2012 will probably be better than 2011, but it'll look more like 2010 than 2006.


I do agree wholeheartedly with your underlined comment. There is a fair amount of anxiety too. But as the curtain goes down on ’12, I do not know of anyone who did not get on base with a good firm at a six figure salary. I will add that two across town LS acquaintances with good grades are still looking. Which, rightly or not, I primarily attribute to the school ranking. So, the one word answer to this thread is YES.


Well if everyone you know has a 6 figure job then I guess your school will be the first law school in history to have 100% employment at graduation... or, you know, your anecdotal evidence is meaningless. One of the two.

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Sheffield
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby Sheffield » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:46 pm

ScottRiqui wrote:Just for context, what's the approximate ranking of the "across town" school?

One is mid-high Tier 2 (the one I was referring to), the other is low Tier 2

Ludovico Technique wrote:Well if everyone you know has a 6 figure job then I guess your school will be the first law school in history to have 100% employment at graduation... or, you know, your anecdotal evidence is meaningless. One of the two.

Everyone I know is 100% employed (SA locked). But wait, I do not know everyone! On the other hand ’12 stats are not out yet. In the end I may only be +95% right.

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jenesaislaw
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Re: Do law school rankings REALLY matter?

Postby jenesaislaw » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:26 pm

Sheffield wrote:So, the one word answer to this thread is YES.


As with your other posts, you've overstepped here. Nobody would dispute that Penn (obviously your school) places well relative to the 190 schools un/ranked below it. People have actively disputed the broad strokes you've painted, however. The data show that once you get beyond the top schools, there's no correlation between employment opportunities and ranking. So does ranking "matter" in some trivial sense for the top schools? Yes, but only the top schools. By giving the rankings as much credit as you do, you mistakenly posit something that flies in the face of mountains of empirical data, while crediting a ranking system that is equally as flawed as it is dangerous to legal education for doing a good job at the top.

Let's say that the Cooley rankings did a good job at the very top at predicting employment success. Does this mean they matter? Note that this question, as with the OP, is normative. It's accurately reworded to, "should law school rankings matter to my decision?"

The answer is no because the one thing the rankings do well is predict biglaw employment opportunities at the top, but there are other data that do a better job at showing that than U.S. News ranking.




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