General vs specialty ranking

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xholdman
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General vs specialty ranking

Postby xholdman » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:30 am

Hi everybody, I'm been thinking that when it comes to choose between a law school with high ranking in general but lower ranking in speciality, and a law school with high ranking in speciality but a lower general ranking, which one would you choose? Assuming that the speciality is the legal field you would most likely to practice after graduation.

I have been thinking about this and it really bothers me...

Thanks in advance.

cavalier1138
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Re: General vs specialty ranking

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:40 am

Assuming you're referring to the specialty rankings in USNWR, they're largely meaningless (and by "largely", I mean all but about two of them). It should not factor into your decision at all.

If you're interested in a particular field, then figure out where you want to practice that kind of law. And then find out where lawyers in that field went. But remember that your interests may change during school, and the reason people generally recommend T14 is that those schools offer you potential careers in every field of law at a very high level without restricting you to a specific state/county.

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ponderingmeerkat
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Re: General vs specialty ranking

Postby ponderingmeerkat » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:44 am

Specialty rankings aren't a real thing.

They exist only for glossy promotional brochures and as billboard-fodder used to lure unsuspecting rubes into pay sticker for Cooley's top-10 dolphin law program.

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stego
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Re: General vs specialty ranking

Postby stego » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:16 pm

Specialty programs are real, they just don't really matter. The example I always use is Vermont Law School: they're ranked near the bottom overall, but they have a lot of environmental classes, an environmental law journal, and an environmental law clinic. So their environmental specialty is real, it just probably doesn't matter that much.

VLS is weird also because usually such a low-ranked law school doesn't really place people outside of its region, but Vermont is such a small state that it barely has a legal market. People go all over the place from VLS, but unsurprisingly their overall job placement numbers are not great.

Curious what cavalier thinks the two specialty rankings that aren't meaningless are.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: General vs specialty ranking

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:48 pm

Specialty rankings are by professors of professors, based on their research production. They don't generally have much/anything to do with training students in the field and getting students jobs in those fields. If you want to do environmental law, for instance, you have a much better shot getting a job from Harvard than from VLS despite VLS's speciality ranking. Really, almost any law school will offer the classes you will want to be able to go into any speciality; you don't need a ranked program. (We can also give you better advice if you say what speciality you're interested in.)

cavalier1138
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Re: General vs specialty ranking

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:50 pm

stego wrote:Specialty programs are real, they just don't really matter. The example I always use is Vermont Law School: they're ranked near the bottom overall, but they have a lot of environmental classes, an environmental law journal, and an environmental law clinic. So their environmental specialty is real, it just probably doesn't matter that much.

VLS is weird also because usually such a low-ranked law school doesn't really place people outside of its region, but Vermont is such a small state that it barely has a legal market. People go all over the place from VLS, but unsurprisingly their overall job placement numbers are not great.

Curious what cavalier thinks the two specialty rankings that aren't meaningless are.


I was mainly thinking of International Law and Tax Law rankings. I think that they're probably only valid for the first handful of schools ranked (and the difference between #1 and #2, etc. is probably minimal). My main reasoning is that they're not throwing a weird school like Case Western into the mix, but they are, I believe, accurately showing which top schools have good reputations in these specific areas of law (which can be quite difficult to break into).

But yeah, Health Law, Environmental Law, etc. rankings are bullshit.

xholdman
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Re: General vs specialty ranking

Postby xholdman » Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:55 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Specialty rankings are by professors of professors, based on their research production. They don't generally have much/anything to do with training students in the field and getting students jobs in those fields. If you want to do environmental law, for instance, you have a much better shot getting a job from Harvard than from VLS despite VLS's speciality ranking. Really, almost any law school will offer the classes you will want to be able to go into any speciality; you don't need a ranked program. (We can also give you better advice if you say what speciality you're interested in.)


I'm thinking about IP law. Specifically, it's UT Austin vs UH.

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ponderingmeerkat
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Re: General vs specialty ranking

Postby ponderingmeerkat » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:04 pm

xholdman wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Specialty rankings are by professors of professors, based on their research production. They don't generally have much/anything to do with training students in the field and getting students jobs in those fields. If you want to do environmental law, for instance, you have a much better shot getting a job from Harvard than from VLS despite VLS's speciality ranking. Really, almost any law school will offer the classes you will want to be able to go into any speciality; you don't need a ranked program. (We can also give you better advice if you say what speciality you're interested in.)


I'm thinking about IP law. Specifically, it's UT Austin vs UH.


All else equal, UT with zero hesitation.

Only way I could see an argument for UH would be some weird, bifurcated cycle-outcome like full-ride with stipend at UH and sticker at UT with a burning, unquenchable desire to practice only in Houston forever and always.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: General vs specialty ranking

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:39 pm

Yeah, all else equal, definitely UT. If it's UT at sticker v. UH at full scholarships it's maybe a debateable question, especially if you actually have IP qualifications (so a better shot at a job regardless of school). But that would be based on cost and job opportunities, not on UH's place in IP rankings.

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zhenders
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Re: General vs specialty ranking

Postby zhenders » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:52 pm

Yeah, as tempting as it is, just don't factor in specially rankings. They simply aren't in any way helpful in the job market.

cavalier1138
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Re: General vs specialty ranking

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:46 pm

Yeah, UT on this one. There is no scenario in which a UT degree doesn't kick the crap out of a UH degree in Texas.




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