What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
Andrew the Wolverine
Posts: 255
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:56 pm

What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby Andrew the Wolverine » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:28 am

In the course of the whole law school application process, it seems like the distinctions of "Tier 1" and the like come up a lot. I have also heard varying definitions of what it means. Sometimes a Tier 1 is Top 14, sometimes it's top 30, sometimes top 50. Is there a most common standard for tier ratings? With regards to transferring to HYS, what tier schools (i.e. what USNWR ranked schools) do they accept students from? Thanks.

User avatar
Ragged
Posts: 1509
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby Ragged » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:34 am

As I understand it, each tier consists of 50 schools. So, Tier 1 is 1-50 Tirt 2 is 51-100 and so on. T14, T10, and T5 are just that. And T3 sometimes also means top 3, depending on context. The ranking is as per USNWR. http://www.top-law-schools.com/rankings.html

Top 30 is usually is referred to as T30 not T1.

User avatar
Cupidity
Posts: 2214
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:21 pm

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby Cupidity » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:37 am

Ragged wrote:As I understand it, each tier consists of 50 schools. So, Tier 1 is 1-50 Tirt 2 is 51-100 and so on. T14, T10, and T5 are just that. And T3 sometimes also means top 3, depending on context. The ranking is as per USNWR. http://www.top-law-schools.com/rankings.html

Top 30 is usually is referred to as T30 not T1.


TITCR

Don't know where you got your defs from, but home-slice here is on the money.

b_o3
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:53 pm

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby b_o3 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:47 am

Canadian here so don't mind my lack of knowledge about the US system but if these Tier 2 schools are worse than Tier 1 schools then why don't they work to change that? also, in what ways are they worse?

User avatar
bees
Posts: 310
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:50 pm

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby bees » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:21 am

b_o3 wrote:Canadian here so don't mind my lack of knowledge about the US system but if these Tier 2 schools are worse than Tier 1 schools then why don't they work to change that? also, in what ways are they worse?


They are trying super hard. Give them time.

User avatar
ihatelaw
Posts: 107
Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:26 pm

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby ihatelaw » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:22 am

b_o3 wrote:Canadian here so don't mind my lack of knowledge about the US system but if these Tier 2 schools are worse than Tier 1 schools then why don't they work to change that? also, in what ways are they worse?


you really are canadian.

Renzo
Posts: 4265
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby Renzo » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:34 am

b_o3 wrote:Canadian here so don't mind my lack of knowledge about the US system but if these Tier 2 schools are worse than Tier 1 schools then why don't they work to change that? also, in what ways are they worse?

The job market for lawyers is like one big gladiator deathmatch, where the winners get lucrative $160K jobs and the losers are sold into eternal slavery. It's not that the schools are worse as in teach less well, they are worse as in employers don't hire from them, so you get a running start into eternal slavery. There aren't enough good jobs to go around, so for a T2 school to improve, some other school has to get worse.

User avatar
vanwinkle
Posts: 9740
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:02 am

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:34 am

Ragged wrote:As I understand it, each tier consists of 50 schools. So, Tier 1 is 1-50 Tirt 2 is 51-100 and so on. T14, T10, and T5 are just that. And T3 sometimes also means top 3, depending on context. The ranking is as per USNWR. http://www.top-law-schools.com/rankings.html

Top 30 is usually is referred to as T30 not T1.


TITCR.

Nobody refers to the Top 14 as "Tier 1". They just refer to them as T14.

b_o3 wrote:Canadian here so don't mind my lack of knowledge about the US system but if these Tier 2 schools are worse than Tier 1 schools then why don't they work to change that? also, in what ways are they worse?


Not everyone can be in the top 50. Only the top 50 schools can.

Honestly, a big part of this is self-reinforcing. Tier 1 schools have more money and more prestige. The "more money" allows them to attract better professors and the "more prestige" allows them to attract better students. The better students boost USNWR rankings (because they're based in part on GPA/LSAT) and then go on to get better jobs based on the prestige of their degree. Then as rich and powerful alumni they're associated with the school, which gives the school more prestige, and they donate back to their school, which gives the school more money, which allows them to attract better professors...

See how it works? It's pretty much a cycle. Harvard and Yale being the best helps Harvard and Yale stay the best, because Harvard and Yale grads use the prestige of Harvard and Yale degrees to make lots of money and donate some back to Harvard and Yale. The T14 being in the T14 helps them stay in the T14 also. It's very hard for a school to make a lot of movement; they can't instantly gain prestige, so what they need is an awful lot of money--an awful lot more than their peer schools are spending--to attract better professors (which attract better students and creates prestige) and to give scholarships (which attracts better students and improves rankings).

There aren't that many schools that have so much money that they can make a run on the rankings. One example would be WUSTL, which has thrown a shitton of money at people with high LSAT scores for years trying to improve the quality of their student body and boost their rankings as a result. The end result is that from 2004 to 2009 they moved up from 25th to 20th in the rankings. That's a lot of money being spent for what amounts to not too much movement.

So, like I said, Tier 1 schools more money and prestige, which is a cycle feeding them more money and prestige. Tier 2 schools just don't have the money to compete with that, and they can't get an increase of prestige without more money... so it's kind of a chicken and egg problem. How would you get a school both more money and more prestige without having any additional resources?

Burger in a can
Posts: 1116
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:21 pm

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby Burger in a can » Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:18 am

vanwinkle wrote:
Ragged wrote:As I understand it, each tier consists of 50 schools. So, Tier 1 is 1-50 Tirt 2 is 51-100 and so on. T14, T10, and T5 are just that. And T3 sometimes also means top 3, depending on context. The ranking is as per USNWR. http://www.top-law-schools.com/rankings.html

Top 30 is usually is referred to as T30 not T1.


TITCR.

Nobody refers to the Top 14 as "Tier 1". They just refer to them as T14.

b_o3 wrote:Canadian here so don't mind my lack of knowledge about the US system but if these Tier 2 schools are worse than Tier 1 schools then why don't they work to change that? also, in what ways are they worse?


Not everyone can be in the top 50. Only the top 50 schools can.

Honestly, a big part of this is self-reinforcing. Tier 1 schools have more money and more prestige. The "more money" allows them to attract better professors and the "more prestige" allows them to attract better students. The better students boost USNWR rankings (because they're based in part on GPA/LSAT) and then go on to get better jobs based on the prestige of their degree. Then as rich and powerful alumni they're associated with the school, which gives the school more prestige, and they donate back to their school, which gives the school more money, which allows them to attract better professors...

See how it works? It's pretty much a cycle. Harvard and Yale being the best helps Harvard and Yale stay the best, because Harvard and Yale grads use the prestige of Harvard and Yale degrees to make lots of money and donate some back to Harvard and Yale. The T14 being in the T14 helps them stay in the T14 also. It's very hard for a school to make a lot of movement; they can't instantly gain prestige, so what they need is an awful lot of money--an awful lot more than their peer schools are spending--to attract better professors (which attract better students and creates prestige) and to give scholarships (which attracts better students and improves rankings).

There aren't that many schools that have so much money that they can make a run on the rankings. One example would be WUSTL, which has thrown a shitton of money at people with high LSAT scores for years trying to improve the quality of their student body and boost their rankings as a result. The end result is that from 2004 to 2009 they moved up from 25th to 20th in the rankings. That's a lot of money being spent for what amounts to not too much movement.

So, like I said, Tier 1 schools more money and prestige, which is a cycle feeding them more money and prestige. Tier 2 schools just don't have the money to compete with that, and they can't get an increase of prestige without more money... so it's kind of a chicken and egg problem. How would you get a school both more money and more prestige without having any additional resources?


I was under the impression that movement like that was more common, as in this chart: http://www.concurringopinions.com/archi ... data5.html
Especially if you look at schools outside of the top 15 or so, a 5 point ranking change over a five year period doesn't seem that unusual at all. (Fordham, for instance, was as high as 40th and as low as 25th, within 1 year, or look at BU and BC battle it out over this 10 year span)
Last edited by Burger in a can on Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:26 am, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
Celibidache
Posts: 34
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:10 am

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby Celibidache » Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:20 am

Tier 1 - Yale
Tier 2 - Harvard
Tier 3 - LOL!

User avatar
General Tso
Posts: 2289
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:51 pm

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby General Tso » Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:59 am

Burger in a can wrote:
I was under the impression that movement like that was more common, as in this chart: http://www.concurringopinions.com/archi ... data5.html
Especially if you look at schools outside of the top 15 or so, a 5 point ranking change over a five year period doesn't seem that unusual at all. (Fordham, for instance, was as high as 40th and as low as 25th, within 1 year, or look at BU and BC battle it out over this 10 year span)


And CU Boulder went from 32 to 45 or something from 08 to 09.

User avatar
vanwinkle
Posts: 9740
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:02 am

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:03 am

The further down the rankings the more common this kind of thing is. The closer you move up toward T14 territory the harder it gets.

Burger in a can
Posts: 1116
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:21 pm

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby Burger in a can » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:29 am

vanwinkle wrote:The further down the rankings the more common this kind of thing is. The closer you move up toward T14 territory the harder it gets.


Well, the T14 is definitively the T14 because there is no/very little movement in their rankings, but it seems like even schools in the 15-20 can move around pretty fluidly. Look at GW- 25th in '02, 19th in '06. That's a more drastic "run at the rankings" than your example, and higher up the charts.

I'm not trying to make waves here, but I think your description of ranking movement was pretty heavily dependent upon generalization and assumption. The data seems to indicate that fluctuation in the rankings is neither extraordinarily rare nor especially predictive. And WUSTL's trip to 20th place looks pretty bumpy.

But whatever- I don't even know why I'm disagreeing. I totally agree with your main point- that the top of Tier 1 is a self fulfilling prophecy/feedback loop, especially because national reputation is a main component in establishing rank, while national reputation is heavily influenced by rank. That condition alone should be enough to make anyone hesitate before taking the USNWR too seriously.

User avatar
TheTopBloke
Posts: 486
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 7:29 pm

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby TheTopBloke » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:59 pm

What about University of Louisville - Brandeis, ranked in USNWR #98, says it's Tier 1?

User avatar
irie
Posts: 325
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 9:50 pm

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby irie » Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:01 pm

bees wrote:
b_o3 wrote:Canadian here so don't mind my lack of knowledge about the US system but if these Tier 2 schools are worse than Tier 1 schools then why don't they work to change that? also, in what ways are they worse?


They are trying super hard. Give them time.


winner

User avatar
General Tso
Posts: 2289
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:51 pm

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby General Tso » Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:15 pm

TheTopBloke wrote:What about University of Louisville - Brandeis, ranked in USNWR #98, says it's Tier 1?


what difference does it make?

User avatar
TheTopBloke
Posts: 486
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 7:29 pm

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby TheTopBloke » Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:25 pm

swheat wrote:
TheTopBloke wrote:What about University of Louisville - Brandeis, ranked in USNWR #98, says it's Tier 1?


what difference does it make?


Seems to contradict the definitions I've read thus far in this thread.

Flanker1067
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:47 pm

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby Flanker1067 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:27 pm

Renzo wrote:
b_o3 wrote:Canadian here so don't mind my lack of knowledge about the US system but if these Tier 2 schools are worse than Tier 1 schools then why don't they work to change that? also, in what ways are they worse?

The job market for lawyers is like one big gladiator deathmatch, where the winners get lucrative $160K jobs and the losers are sold into eternal slavery. It's not that the schools are worse as in teach less well, they are worse as in employers don't hire from them, so you get a running start into eternal slavery. There aren't enough good jobs to go around, so for a T2 school to improve, some other school has to get worse.



Nobody gave credit where credit was due yet. Renzo is right (as usual) although the way he put it was pretty dark (Eternal slavery?) . The demarcations that people give are an ATTEMPT to separate schools that typically place differently in terms of types of employment. So the only way for everyone to improve is if there were (via magic, of course) enough good jobs that all top 100 schools grads could get them. Then the top 100 would be considered T1.


Edit: emphasis on "attempt"
Last edited by Flanker1067 on Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
deadpanic
Posts: 1172
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:09 pm

Re: What is the definition of Tier 1, 2, etc?

Postby deadpanic » Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:32 pm

TheTopBloke wrote:
swheat wrote:
TheTopBloke wrote:What about University of Louisville - Brandeis, ranked in USNWR #98, says it's Tier 1?


what difference does it make?


Seems to contradict the definitions I've read thus far in this thread.


Technically, through the new US News definition, Tier 1 is everything from 1-100. But, most seem to still seperate them T1 1-50, T2 51-100. It really doesn't matter.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests