ATL's Law School Rankings

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JXander
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ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby JXander » Wed May 01, 2013 11:16 am

Above the Law just released its rankings of ABA accredited law schools with a clear, interesting methodology.

Thoughts?

I am glad they placed so much weight on employment outcomes, but I go back and forth as to whether ignoring FA and numbers completely is appropriate.

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northwood
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby northwood » Wed May 01, 2013 11:29 am

I like it , but I wish they expanded it to top 100 schools.

it would be even better if someone started tracking what people who did not obtain a job as an attorney did with their degree ( but that is probably asking way too much for someone to take on)

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jetsfan1
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby jetsfan1 » Wed May 01, 2013 11:33 am

I like it as well. Tagging.

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Gunnar Stahl
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby Gunnar Stahl » Wed May 01, 2013 11:35 am

jetsfan1 wrote:I like it as well. Tagging.

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ph14
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby ph14 » Wed May 01, 2013 11:35 am

JXander wrote:Above the Law just released its rankings of ABA accredited law schools with a clear, interesting methodology.

Thoughts?

I am glad they placed so much weight on employment outcomes, but I go back and forth as to whether ignoring FA and numbers completely is appropriate.


Interesting for the most part, but the percentage of SCOTUS clerks and federal judgeships seems to be of minimal importance to the average person picking a law school. They should just roll that in with the other categories.

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nickb285
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby nickb285 » Wed May 01, 2013 11:36 am

It's an interesting idea, but I don't agree with giving double the weight to "quality jobs" (aka biglaw), triple if you count SCOTUS clerks and judges, as to cost. For one, there are two reasons that a majority of students on TLS and at top schools in general are gunning for biglaw: 1. Models and bottles, and 2. Because it's the only way to pay down their debt. The former is relevant, but the latter is a function of cost--if you pay $5-10k/year for LS, who gives a shit if you get biglaw, as long as you're not looking to get rich (which, if you're going to LS, you shouldn't be)? I also don't give two shits about how many grads from three decades ago managed to become judges--that's not much different than people on here defending TTTs by talking about how many partners at local firms went to said TTT--nor do I give a shit about SCOTUS clerkships, because I'm not going to HYS, and the odds of that happening outside of HYS and especially outside of the T14 are so slim as to be completely irrelevant to a school decision. Even if you're going to HYS, there's absolutely no way that your odds of becoming a SCOTUS clerk or a judge should be as important to your decision as how much you're going to pay for school.

Overall I'd say it's a step in the right direction, but it's only really relevant as a T14 rankings alternative, not as a T50 ranking alternative.

SportsFan
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby SportsFan » Wed May 01, 2013 11:37 am

Most surprising thing to me is that Columbia is so low, at 8, below UVA and Duke, and NYU at 10.

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ph14
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby ph14 » Wed May 01, 2013 11:38 am

nickb285 wrote: I also don't give two shits about how many grads from three decades ago managed to become judges--that's not much different than people on here defending TTTs by talking about how many partners at local firms went to said TTT--nor do I give a shit about SCOTUS clerkships, because I'm not going to HYS, and the odds of that happening outside of HYS and especially outside of the T14 are so slim as to be completely irrelevant to a school decision. Even if you're going to HYS, there's absolutely no way that your odds of becoming a SCOTUS clerk or a judge should be as important to your decision as how much you're going to pay for school.


+1.

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JXander
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby JXander » Wed May 01, 2013 11:41 am

ph14 wrote:Interesting for the most part, but the percentage of SCOTUS clerks and federal judgeships seems to be of minimal importance to the average person picking a law school. They should just roll that in with the other categories.

That was also my thought, but ATL did justify its choice of methodology with its reader poll:

"When we surveyed our audience about what are the most relevant factors that potential law students should consider in selecting a school. By a large margin, these were the top choices, along with the percentage of respondents classifying them as “highly relevant”:

Employment data (90.3%)
Large firm placement (54.42%)
Federal clerkship placement (49.07%)
Tuition/Cost – (37.27%)"

I am not saying this justification undermines your claim that the "average person" selecting a school does not consider this to be as important as other factors, but I think it is reasonable basis for ATL's specific ranking system.

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ph14
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby ph14 » Wed May 01, 2013 11:44 am

JXander wrote:
ph14 wrote:Interesting for the most part, but the percentage of SCOTUS clerks and federal judgeships seems to be of minimal importance to the average person picking a law school. They should just roll that in with the other categories.

That was also my thought, but ATL did justify its choice of methodology with its reader poll:

"When we surveyed our audience about what are the most relevant factors that potential law students should consider in selecting a school. By a large margin, these were the top choices, along with the percentage of respondents classifying them as “highly relevant”:

Employment data (90.3%)
Large firm placement (54.42%)
Federal clerkship placement (49.07%)
Tuition/Cost – (37.27%)"

I am not saying this justification undermines your claim that the "average person" selecting a school does not consider this to be as important as other factors, but I think it is reasonable basis for ATL's specific ranking system.


They already include federal clerkship placement in the "quality employment" category, I believe.

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beepboopbeep
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby beepboopbeep » Wed May 01, 2013 11:50 am

ph14 wrote:Interesting for the most part, but the percentage of SCOTUS clerks and federal judgeships seems to be of minimal importance to the average person picking a law school. They should just roll that in with the other categories.


Yea, I did not see why that got 15%. It's great and all, but these are pretty exceptional outcomes.

SportsFan wrote:Most surprising thing to me is that Columbia is so low, at 8, below UVA and Duke, and NYU at 10.


The NYC schools got screwed by dat CoA, I'd guess - I'm surprised the "quality jobs score" didn't push them up higher, given their reputations for NYC biglaw. I wonder what the granularity is for that metric.

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stuckinthemiddle
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby stuckinthemiddle » Wed May 01, 2013 11:52 am

Best thing about those rankings: The pretty graphics <3

How is Columbia so low, though? :shock:

dixon02
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby dixon02 » Wed May 01, 2013 11:55 am

Agreed with most people here -- the SCOTUS/Judge category is just stupid. How many people have ever made their decision based on the likelihood of becoming a judge? It's also not reflected in their poll. FWIW, I don't mind the separate clerkship input, as it is a different job than big law and it does matter to some folks. It's a small number, so I don't think it's a big deal. But the Judge/SCOTUS thing is just silly and classic ATL prestige-whoriness.

Only other small complaint is that I wish legitimate PI could somehow be factored in, but I know that's really hard because some of it is actual self-selection and some of it is a poor outcome and last resort. Still, I'd think you could get close by looking at the data over a 5-year span and regressing it, and maybe including something about the quality of the school's LRAP in there since that would likely be correlated to self-selection (better LRAP more likely to attract people planning to do PI willingly). There are people who legitimately want those jobs, and those plus Big Gov are all very good outcomes that shouldn't count against a school. This problem at least really only affects the margins.

So not perfect, but certainly better and more useful than USNews. Also provides more fuel to the fire that often occurs on TLS: people who don't want to live in NYC and debating a lower T14 vs. NYU/Columbia, sometimes with only a small money gap.

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francesfarmer
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby francesfarmer » Wed May 01, 2013 11:57 am

stuckinthemiddle wrote:Best thing about those rankings: The pretty graphics <3

How is Columbia so low, though? :shock:

beepboopbeep wrote:
SportsFan wrote:Most surprising thing to me is that Columbia is so low, at 8, below UVA and Duke, and NYU at 10.


The NYC schools got screwed by dat CoA, I'd guess - I'm surprised the "quality jobs score" didn't push them up higher, given their reputations for NYC biglaw. I wonder what the granularity is for that metric.


Comforting myself with this response

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untar614
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby untar614 » Wed May 01, 2013 12:00 pm

I'm guessing CLS and NYU are so low due to higher COAs. I really don't agree with including educational cost in there as this is something that varies from student to student, and so it is something that should be compared separately from what the school offers outcome-wise. If GULC had very low tuition, would that make it a better school than CLS (I don't know how the actual ATL score would be affected, just making a point)? No, but it might be a better deal for the money, but that all depends on what an individual student is going to pay. If they have a Hamilton or Butler, it's a different story.

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piccolittle
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby piccolittle » Wed May 01, 2013 12:02 pm

Yeah, I really think they should have used tuition cost rather cost of attendance, as it penalizes schools that happen to be in high cost-of-living areas. I understand that cost of attendance is most relevant to prospective students' choices, but I think using COA unfairly rewards schools with high tuitions in low cost of attendance areas. Then again, CLS and NYU both have astronomical tuition costs too...

dixon02
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby dixon02 » Wed May 01, 2013 12:06 pm

piccolittle wrote:Yeah, I really think they should have used tuition cost rather cost of attendance, as it penalizes schools that happen to be in high cost-of-living areas. I understand that cost of attendance is most relevant to prospective students' choices, but I think using COA unfairly rewards schools with high tuitions in low cost of attendance areas. Then again, CLS and NYU both have astronomical tuition costs too...


Why should that matter? If I'm attending a school, I want to know how much it's going to cost me. I don't care whether that money goes toward tuition or toward my living expenses. If I'm borrowing money, I want to know how much I have to borrow/repay. It's all one and the same to me.

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JXander
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby JXander » Wed May 01, 2013 12:07 pm

dixon02 wrote:Only other small complaint is that I wish legitimate PI could somehow be factored in, but I know that's really hard because some of it is actual self-selection and some of it is a poor outcome and last resort. Still, I'd think you could get close by looking at the data over a 5-year span and regressing it, and maybe including something about the quality of the school's LRAP in there since that would likely be correlated to self-selection (better LRAP more likely to attract people planning to do PI willingly). There are people who legitimately want those jobs, and those plus Big Gov are all very good outcomes that shouldn't count against a school. This problem at least really only affects the margins.

Oh, excellent thought. I agree. I think these last few cycles in particular has also attracted more of those with PI objectives. I am not sure if this factor was somehow incorporated in ATL's poll.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby Elston Gunn » Wed May 01, 2013 12:10 pm

untar614 wrote:I'm guessing CLS and NYU are so low due to higher COAs. I really don't agree with including educational cost in there as this is something that varies from student to student, and so it is something that should be compared separately from what the school offers outcome-wise. If GULC had very low tuition, would that make it a better school than CLS (I don't know how the actual ATL score would be affected, just making a point)? No, but it might be a better deal for the money, but that all depends on what an individual student is going to pay. If they have a Hamilton or Butler, it's a different story.

+1

I mean, I get where they're coming from. But really, when you're picking a law school, you're considering two things 1) How good the outcomes are likely to be and 2) How much it costs for you. It's silly to try to combine the two together when #2 is so individualized. And if they were going to do it, average actual cost when scholarships are considered would have been better.

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BlueJeanBaby
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby BlueJeanBaby » Wed May 01, 2013 12:12 pm

I like that all these non-US News rankings rank UGA so high! :D

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smaug_
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby smaug_ » Wed May 01, 2013 12:22 pm

NYU and CLS also are probably underrepresented in the "quality jobs score" due to the continuing NLJ 250/actual placement mismatch. Some large NY firms that hire a disproportionate number of NYU/CLS grads.

All in all, it isn't shocking. I think the numerical aspect seems odd (if there is a gap between Penn and CLS, even taking COL into account, I doubt it is larger than the gap between CLS and Cornell) but overall it does a good job at showing the importance the T-14 and the overall absurdity of the US News rankings below that.

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Rahviveh
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby Rahviveh » Wed May 01, 2013 12:25 pm

Why are they using the NLJ data when we have the ABA data now?

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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby Stinson » Wed May 01, 2013 12:27 pm

I haven't run the numbers, but at first glance I wondered whether the SCotUS Clerk/Judge categories, which I agree with others here are silly, were basically an insurance policy that would make sure HYS would be the top three. Did they do it to avoid a situation, perhaps in subsequent years, where people just go "LOL HYS not top three rankings are DUMBBBB!!!" by placing undue weight on extremely unusual elite outcomes?

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smaug_
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby smaug_ » Wed May 01, 2013 12:30 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:Why are they using the NLJ data when we have the ABA data now?


They're using it to distinguish "good" biglaw jobs from just jobs, I think. It's a bit of a broken metric, but the reasoning behind it was good.

Did they do it to avoid a situation, perhaps in subsequent years, where people just go "LOL HYS not top three rankings are DUMBBBB!!!" by placing undue weight on extremely unusual elite outcomes?


No, I think ATL honestly cares a lot about elite outcomes. David Lat did the whole Underneath Their Robes/Article III Groupie thing. It's not surprising that it has an influence.

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Rahviveh
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Re: ATL's Law School Rankings

Postby Rahviveh » Wed May 01, 2013 12:31 pm

hibiki wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:Why are they using the NLJ data when we have the ABA data now?


They're using it to distinguish "good" biglaw jobs from just jobs, I think. It's a bit of a broken metric, but the reasoning behind it was good.

Did they do it to avoid a situation, perhaps in subsequent years, where people just go "LOL HYS not top three rankings are DUMBBBB!!!" by placing undue weight on extremely unusual elite outcomes?


No, I think ATL honestly cares a lot about elite outcomes. David Lat did the whole Underneath Their Robes/Article III Groupie thing. It's not surprising that it has an influence.


Right, but I figure the 100+ firms ABA stat is more accurate? Also the NLJ got NW's biglaw percentage wrong, I wonder if ATL accounted for that.

ETA: Nvm, it looks like they do use the ABA




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