Law School Rankings

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
mjs92983
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby mjs92983 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:44 pm

KibblesAndVick wrote:
gdane5 wrote:When it comes down to making a decision a student should ask "Will I get a good education? Will I be able to pass the Bar exam? Will i be able to secure meaningful employment after graduation?", not "What rank is my school according to USNWR?".


I completely agree that these are the important underlying concerns. But, would you agree that the favorability of the answers to these questions highly correlates to the rank of your school in the USNWR rankings? Harvard will get you a superb education, the vast majority of their graduates pass the bar on their first try, and their job prospects are top notch. The fact that they are ranked #2 doesn't cause this but there is a strong correlation. I suppose this becomes much less meaningful when looking at schools comparable to each other in the rankings (T10 vs T10 or T50 vs T50).


I think there is a correlation but that connection is secondary to the actual student. The vast majority of how effective an education is based on student commitment etc. I think the biggest reason that highly ranked schools have such great job prospects for their students is because those law firms can tell their clients that they have the "top" legal minds out there. But how much brainpower does it really take to do doc review for two years?

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OperaSoprano
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby OperaSoprano » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:47 pm

baboon309 wrote:
gdane5 wrote:Employers dont care about rankings. They do not care whatsoever. employers do not consult USNWR when hiring people.

"Hmm... You went to University of Florida? Its ranked 51... I have a George Mason grad here too. GMU is ranked 38. I think ill go with him". This scenario is very unlikely to happen solely because of the rankings.

I base my opinion off of conversations ive had with professors that are very close to actual attorney's and a family member that works as an administrative assistant at Holland and Knight here in Miami. She tells me that the hiring partner hires from all types of schools regardless of rankings. Of course on thing she stressed was that the "less prestigious" your school was, the more impeccable your grades had to be. She gave me an example of an NYU student that was hired with decent grades, while an FIU grad that was hired was one of the top 10 people in her class, on moot court and all that stuff.

I personally believe that rankings should be used loosely. After the top 25 or so, they go out the window. What makes number 28 GW better than number 30 Fordham? What makes number 26 BC better than number 28 GW? These rankings are very detrimental to the study of law and force students to base their decisions off of what a magazine says.

When it comes down to making a decision a student should ask "Will I get a good education? Will I be able to pass the Bar exam? Will i be able to secure meaningful employment after graduation?", not "What rank is my school according to USNWR?".


Why top 25?


Arbitrary and meaningless cutoff. Placement doesn't start to taper off significantly until you reach schools in the lower part of the T1. I would argue that there is no magic line, because USNews rankings are based largely upon entering credentials and peer reputation, not student outcomes.

EDIT: By significantly, I mean less than a 1 in 5 shot at an NLJ250 job before ITE.

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gdane
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby gdane » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:49 pm

yea its no surprise that the schools at the top are the ones that boast the highest bar passage rates (and thus the "best" education) and best employment prospects. However, look at the schools. Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, Penn, Columbia. These are the wealthiest, oldest and most well connected schools in the country and the world. Its no surprise that they are at the top of the rankings.

To be honest, do we really need USNWR to tell us that these schools are at the top? Absolutely not. Also, should it matter what number each respective school is and who is ahead of who? Im my opinion no. These are all wonderful schools that do well regardless of where they are in the rankings.

When it comes down to it, the USNWR rankings should seriously be discredited and abolished. They seem to cause far more detriment to schools then they do benefit. The schools at the top benefit, while the ones after the top 14 seem to be at the mercy of these damn rankings every year.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby Stringer Bell » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:53 pm

beach_terror wrote:Thomas M. Cooley Law School... better than Fordham since 2008.


You chose to focus on the fact that they rank themselves higher than Fordham as opposed to ranking themselves higher than Stanford?

Fef619
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby Fef619 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:53 pm

gdane5 wrote:Employers dont care about rankings. They do not care whatsoever. employers do not consult USNWR when hiring people.

"Hmm... You went to University of Florida? Its ranked 51... I have a George Mason grad here too. GMU is ranked 38. I think ill go with him". This scenario is very unlikely to happen solely because of the rankings.

I base my opinion off of conversations ive had with professors that are very close to actual attorney's and a family member that works as an administrative assistant at Holland and Knight here in Miami. She tells me that the hiring partner hires from all types of schools regardless of rankings. Of course on thing she stressed was that the "less prestigious" your school was, the more impeccable your grades had to be. She gave me an example of an NYU student that was hired with decent grades, while an FIU grad that was hired was one of the top 10 people in her class, on moot court and all that stuff.

I personally believe that rankings should be used loosely. After the top 25 or so, they go out the window. What makes number 28 GW better than number 30 Fordham? What makes number 26 BC better than number 28 GW? These rankings are very detrimental to the study of law and force students to base their decisions off of what a magazine says.

When it comes down to making a decision a student should ask "Will I get a good education? Will I be able to pass the Bar exam? Will i be able to secure meaningful employment after graduation?", not "What rank is my school according to USNWR?".






I agree...it's just everyone seems to be so concerned with rankings lately it has me starting to worry..I just want to have the best opportunities possible. I've never been one to choose a school based strictly off what U.S. news has to say.

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beach_terror
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby beach_terror » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:57 pm

Stringer Bell wrote:
beach_terror wrote:Thomas M. Cooley Law School... better than Fordham since 2008.


You chose to focus on the fact that they rank themselves higher than Fordham as opposed to ranking themselves higher than Stanford?


Woah there slugger, I just glanced at it and that was the first thing I saw. Sorry for not devoting more time to the Cooley ranking system.

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Great Satchmo
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby Great Satchmo » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:19 pm

Fef619 wrote:
gdane5 wrote:Employers dont care about rankings. They do not care whatsoever. employers do not consult USNWR when hiring people.

"Hmm... You went to University of Florida? Its ranked 51... I have a George Mason grad here too. GMU is ranked 38. I think ill go with him". This scenario is very unlikely to happen solely because of the rankings.

I base my opinion off of conversations ive had with professors that are very close to actual attorney's and a family member that works as an administrative assistant at Holland and Knight here in Miami. She tells me that the hiring partner hires from all types of schools regardless of rankings. Of course on thing she stressed was that the "less prestigious" your school was, the more impeccable your grades had to be. She gave me an example of an NYU student that was hired with decent grades, while an FIU grad that was hired was one of the top 10 people in her class, on moot court and all that stuff.

I personally believe that rankings should be used loosely. After the top 25 or so, they go out the window. What makes number 28 GW better than number 30 Fordham? What makes number 26 BC better than number 28 GW? These rankings are very detrimental to the study of law and force students to base their decisions off of what a magazine says.

When it comes down to making a decision a student should ask "Will I get a good education? Will I be able to pass the Bar exam? Will i be able to secure meaningful employment after graduation?", not "What rank is my school according to USNWR?".



I agree...it's just everyone seems to be so concerned with rankings lately it has me starting to worry..I just want to have the best opportunities possible. I've never been one to choose a school based strictly off what U.S. news has to say.


Everyone on this website is concerned about rankings because we are over-thinkers, many overly competitive over-achievers (most use of "over"s I've ever had, wow). Rankings are an easy way to (1) cope with the anxiety of choosing a school that will play a large part in our future debt and career and (2) because it's easier to quantify who we are better-off than.

I've noticed, at least for my prospects being outside of the top 25, that the rankings are pretty useless. I'm not going to a national school, and I do care where I live following law school. I realize that schools have standing relationships with employers, and the health of those employers and the relationships are important as it will provide a natural opportunity to job-hunt. I also figure that the latent relationship between employers and a school reputation matters - if an employer knows they can go to school X and interview the top Y% of students and get a great employee out of it, it's a comfortable and safe process.

The rankings provide a heuristic for making a complex and weighty decision about our futures.

It seems fine to use it as an initial tool to narrow school searches, but beyond that it behooves the applicant to look at the school's bar passage rate, their academic/clinical programs, their established relationships with employers for internships and employment, and other factors.

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nealric
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby nealric » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:28 pm

Will I get a good education?


Mostly irrelevant. Most school in the top 100 will offer relatively similar educations.


Will I be able to pass the bar exam?

Completely irrelevant. Law school doesn't prepare you for the bar exam. Barbri/PMBR does.

Will I be able to secure meaningful employment?


Pretty much the only thing that matters other than debt load.

09042014
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby 09042014 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:44 pm

OperaSoprano wrote:Rankings seem to matter in relative groupings after the T14, plus Vandy/UCLA/UT. Within the 20-30 range, for instance, employers are likely to pick candidates attending the school in their home region. There is not some magic cutoff at #25, and GW is probably going to beat BC in DC, if the students are otherwise similar.


You've got the cause and effect backwards. The relative groupings exist because these schools have differing levels of reputation, and attract different levels of student quality. And thus they get ranked by USNWR that way. It isn't because of the USNWR that they have their respect.

The top schools have been the top schools before USNWR and will be after USNWR.

USNWR is rough cloudy reflection of what already exists.

It's why Boalt employment placement didn't sky rocket when it suddenly was a top 6 school on USNWR. It still places like the rest of the T13.

janetcarter
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby janetcarter » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:12 am

Most of my friends care only about US News and the Law School 100. I don't know anyone who cares about Cooley's self-serving rankings. The difference between US News and the Law School 100 is that US News counts library books, LSAT scores, and bar passage rate from one state. The Law School 100 says it considers bar passrates from multiple states, doesn't count books, doesn't count LSAT scores, and visits almost all the law schools.

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PDaddy
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby PDaddy » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:32 am

webbylu87 wrote:
holydonkey wrote:
Fef619 wrote:What is the difference between http://www.lawschool100.com/ and U.S. News rankings? Some schools that are not top tier in U.S. News are considered top tier on lawschool100. Which site is more reliable? Sorry if this question has already been asked. Thanks.
Definitely lawschool100.


Clearly USNWR is more legit, I'm just wondering if anyone has ever looked at lawschool100's methodology. I would by no means make a decision based on that. Just curious.


No. USNWR is more "relied upon"...for whatever reason. It's not a good ranking system at all. LS100 is actually more representative of the qualities b/c, through the "batched" rankings, it at least refrains from propagating major differences between schools that, in reality, don't exist. I also like the fact that certain schools afre ranked much higher in LS100 than in their USN rankings and, thus, get their due respect. The drawback is that, while they look good, the LS100rankers aren't exactly transparent about their methodology, as stated.

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PDaddy
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby PDaddy » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:47 am

gdane5 wrote:Employers dont care about rankings. They do not care whatsoever. employers do not consult USNWR when hiring people.

"Hmm... You went to University of Florida? Its ranked 51... I have a George Mason grad here too. GMU is ranked 38. I think ill go with him". This scenario is very unlikely to happen solely because of the rankings.

I base my opinion off of conversations ive had with professors that are very close to actual attorney's and a family member that works as an administrative assistant at Holland and Knight here in Miami. She tells me that the hiring partner hires from all types of schools regardless of rankings. Of course on thing she stressed was that the "less prestigious" your school was, the more impeccable your grades had to be. She gave me an example of an NYU student that was hired with decent grades, while an FIU grad that was hired was one of the top 10 people in her class, on moot court and all that stuff.

I personally believe that rankings should be used loosely. After the top 25 or so, they go out the window. What makes number 28 GW better than number 30 Fordham? What makes number 26 BC better than number 28 GW? These rankings are very detrimental to the study of law and force students to base their decisions off of what a magazine says.

When it comes down to making a decision a student should ask "Will I get a good education? Will I be able to pass the Bar exam? Will i be able to secure meaningful employment after graduation?", not "What rank is my school according to USNWR?".


Do you see the contradiction in your assertion? On one end, employers do not care about rankings. On the other hand, you admit that graduates from lower ranked schools are held to stricter standards in terms of what grades will suffice. This would suggest to any objective observer that, to the extent that employers operate under this paradigm, they do, in fact, ascribe much significance to the rankings, believing that schools' places in the pecking order reflect the quality of education their students receive (and their relative preparedness).

Thus, employers aren't saying, "I'll take the graduate from #38 over the grad from #51 (all things being equal)." What they are saying is, "In order for me to take the #51 grad over the #38 grad, the #51 grad has to be more spactacular relative to his peers at his school." And that demonstrates employers' unfair use of law grades and rankings, and, because of the pre-sorting done by law schools, employers' reliance on the LSAT by extension.

janetcarter
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby janetcarter » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:24 am

US News publishes its methodology, so most law schools game the system. They put students with low LSAT scores in the night division. They admit fewer students to increase ratios. They buy more useless books for their library. Law School 100 says it doesn't publish its methodology, thereby keeping law schools from gaming its rankings!

Fef619
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby Fef619 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:24 am

janetcarter wrote:US News publishes its methodology, so most law schools game the system. They put students with low LSAT scores in the night division. They admit fewer students to increase ratios. They buy more useless books for their library. Law School 100 says it doesn't publish its methodology, thereby keeping law schools from gaming its rankings!



huh..interesting...I don't know what rankings to follow anymore lol..they all just seem useless.

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jlnoa0915
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby jlnoa0915 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:33 am

beach_terror wrote:
Stringer Bell wrote:
beach_terror wrote:Thomas M. Cooley Law School... better than Fordham since 2008.


You chose to focus on the fact that they rank themselves higher than Fordham as opposed to ranking themselves higher than Stanford?


Woah there slugger, I just glanced at it and that was the first thing I saw. Sorry for not devoting more time to the Cooley ranking system.


Haha, well played.

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ShibaDan
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby ShibaDan » Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:49 am

Desert Fox wrote:
OperaSoprano wrote:Rankings seem to matter in relative groupings after the T14, plus Vandy/UCLA/UT. Within the 20-30 range, for instance, employers are likely to pick candidates attending the school in their home region. There is not some magic cutoff at #25, and GW is probably going to beat BC in DC, if the students are otherwise similar.


You've got the cause and effect backwards. The relative groupings exist because these schools have differing levels of reputation, and attract different levels of student quality. And thus they get ranked by USNWR that way. It isn't because of the USNWR that they have their respect.

The top schools have been the top schools before USNWR and will be after USNWR.

USNWR is rough cloudy reflection of what already exists.

It's why Boalt employment placement didn't sky rocket when it suddenly was a top 6 school on USNWR. It still places like the rest of the T13.


this makes me :lol: every time. Viva la T13.

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nealric
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby nealric » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:50 pm

They put students with low LSAT scores in the night division.


No longer the case. USNEWS now includes night students.

this makes me every time. Viva la T13.

--ImageRemoved--

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Borhas
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby Borhas » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:50 pm

wait they rank law schools? Why the hell am I on this site then?

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legalease9
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby legalease9 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:58 pm

All rankings have limitations, but my personal favorite is NLJ 250. Doesn't work for clerkships but certainly does for big law!

dan.garner42
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Re: Law School Rankings

Postby dan.garner42 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:31 pm

I would not base any important decision where 40% of the ranking is based on data that is self serving!!




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