AReasonableMan wrote:unfortunately, school rank is just a tie breaker. is it that hard to do well? i'd think ivys would have high grade inflation. when i tutored the LSAT to private university students they'd frequently have high GPA's. at weak private colleges this would have no correlation, think 3.9 starting with a 140. a lot of the penn and harvard types started with much higher scores. the process isn't that confusing. it's all numbers. penn may have some secondary benefits, but not for admissions. however, if there is a curve of sorts, the experience of that at a respectable institution is pretty useful.
and yeah, it doesn't cost nearly as much to run a law school as other programs. in addition, while many do poorly, a pretty high percentage succeed relative to other graduate professions. there's a big market in alumni relations. if i ever was rich i'd give money to my law school before my undergrad, which did nothing for me or my career.
I surely don't think a Penn degree will boost any law school admissions however, I do think it opens up more doors upon graudation when one enters the job market. This would go in line with the secondary benefits you mention.
Personnaly, I don't get the whole grade inflation that many refer to. My daugher works a helluva lot more than I ever did getting an engineering degree from a local state univeristy. I can't see where Penn is boosting her grades. I can't speak for Harvard but getting into Penn out of high school is VERY difficult. High SAT scores, top 1%-2% of your graduating class, blah, blah, blah indicates your probably well prepared for college and any grades you get, you've earned them. For whatever reasons, top private universities (and not just Ivies) seem to get a bad rap regarding grade inflation. This is only my opinion and I definetely don't have any experiences with this. Sorry for getting off topic.