The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

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PDaddy
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The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby PDaddy » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:00 am

http://weblaw.usc.edu/why/students/orgs ... ersity.pdf

My favorite pages were 594-601, which included anectdotes and explanations from students who either considered the rankings to be gospel or ignored them altogether.

What I loved, however, was that the article echoed a point I make on TLS every day (one for which I am often called a "troll"): that many second tier and third-tier law schools are "excellent" schools. To a large degree, they aren't cost-effective, and that, along with pure "esteem issues", as well as major employers' dependence on the law school system for "sorting" students, drives the need for students to attend higher-ranked schools.

This explains why Miami, for example, is a top-20 school when it comes to producing superlawyers. There's nothing wrong with the inside of the the classrooms at such schools, only the tuition and the distorted reasoning caused by the rankings. Yet there are TLSers who actually believe that lower ranked schools are somehow inferior in quality to those ranked higher. Nothing could be further from the truth. Certain schools have missions that do not involve the BigLaw model, and they produce public servants who do good work in the community. What really strikes me is the elitism that black applicants spout, when such elitism in general is ironically precluding them access to the profession, as it has always done.

The so-called T14 should all boycott the rankings and lobby the ABA to cease providing all data to USNWR and other ranking systems until a better system can be devised. And...no...I am not going to a "T2 school" or a "TTT".

Weigh in.
Last edited by PDaddy on Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

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nick637
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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby nick637 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:14 am

Interesting article. Thanks op. I wonder what kind of benefits the aba receives from giving ranking info to usnwr?

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Kohinoor
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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby Kohinoor » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:21 am

PDaddy wrote:http://weblaw.usc.edu/why/students/orgs/rlsj/assets/docs/issue_18/Rankings_and_Diversity.pdf

My favorite pages were 594-601, which included anectdotes and explanations from students who either considered the rankings to be gospel or ignored them altogether.

What I loved, however, was that the article echoed a point I make on TLS every day (one for which I am often called a "troll"): that many second tier and third-tier law schools are "excellent" schools. To a large degree, they aren't cost-effective, and that, along with pure "esteem issues", as well as major employers' dependence on the law school system for "sorting" students, drives the need for students to attend higher-ranked schools.

This explains why Miami, for example, is a top-20 school when it comes to producing superlawyers. There's nothing wrong with the inside of the the classrooms at such schools, only the tuition and the distorted reasoning caused by the rankings. Yet there are TLSers who actually believe that lower ranked schools are somehow inferior in quality to those ranked higher. Nothing could be further from the truth. Certain schools have missions that do not involve the BigLaw model, and they produce public servants who do good work in the community. What really strikes me is the elitism that black applicants spout, when such elitism in general is, ironically, precluding them access to the profession, as it has always done.

The so-called T14 should all boycott the rankings and lobby the ABA to cease providing all data to USNWR and other ranking systems until a better system can be devised.

Weigh in.
Rankings would be impossible without the entire legal community from judges to the schools themselves playing along.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby Veyron » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:33 am

PDaddy wrote:http://weblaw.usc.edu/why/students/orgs/rlsj/assets/docs/issue_18/Rankings_and_Diversity.pdf

My favorite pages were 594-601, which included anectdotes and explanations from students who either considered the rankings to be gospel or ignored them altogether.

What I loved, however, was that the article echoed a point I make on TLS every day (one for which I am often called a "troll"): that many second tier and third-tier law schools are "excellent" schools. To a large degree, they aren't cost-effective, and that, along with pure "esteem issues", as well as major employers' dependence on the law school system for "sorting" students, drives the need for students to attend higher-ranked schools.

This explains why Miami, for example, is a top-20 school when it comes to producing superlawyers. There's nothing wrong with the inside of the the classrooms at such schools, only the tuition and the distorted reasoning caused by the rankings. Yet there are TLSers who actually believe that lower ranked schools are somehow inferior in quality to those ranked higher. Nothing could be further from the truth. Certain schools have missions that do not involve the BigLaw model, and they produce public servants who do good work in the community. What really strikes me is the elitism that black applicants spout, when such elitism in general is, ironically, precluding them access to the profession, as it has always done.

The so-called T14 should all boycott the rankings and lobby the ABA to cease providing all data to USNWR and other ranking systems until a better system can be devised.

Weigh in.


Yes, TTT's are indeed inferior. The top schools have the best professors, students and resources and therefore the most dynamic learning environments and the best outcomes for their students and the advance of legal knowlege. Oh wait, thats right, this is America... well, everyone is a winner. A very very special winner.

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PDaddy
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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby PDaddy » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:36 am

Veyron wrote:
Yes, TTT's are indeed inferior. The top schools have the best professors, students and resources and therefore the most dynamic learning environments and the best outcomes for their students and the advance of legal knowlege. Oh wait, thats right, this is America... well, everyone is a winner. A very very special winner.


I disagree but LMAO @ "well, everyone...winner". I can admit that there's a consortium of about 10 schools worth considering as "elites"...but only because they have more of what I think are the best qualities in a law school. But it's personal preference. I believe the best schools have the most rigorous and widest breadth of education, provide both theoretical and experiential education, are urban, are in major metropolitan areas, and give the widest array of job opportunities (not just biglaw or PI).

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Veyron
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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby Veyron » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:54 am

PDaddy wrote:
Veyron wrote:
are urban, are in major metropolitan areas, and give the widest array of job opportunities (not just biglaw or PI).


Yah, Yale, Stanford, UVA and Michigan really bite, eih? The simple fact is that you don't have any opportunity out of Miami that you don't have out of a T-6 but the converse does not hold.
Last edited by Veyron on Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PDaddy
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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby PDaddy » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:06 am

The thread and the article are more about making people consider the negative effects of the rankings on, not only students, but schools, the public and society in general. What happens if schools with certain nitches are pressured to get students with higher numbers, even though the students with the higher numbers aren't always the best law students and/or lawyers or most compatable with those schools' missions? Can those schools serve the public effectively?

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby MURPH » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:04 am

The most interesting paragraph was:
One simple strategy involves exploiting the flexibility afforded by USN measurements. Because USN uses the median LSAT in its formula for calculating overall rank—which means it only considers the exact mid-dle score of the distribution after scores have been arranged in ascending order (that is, the score at the 50th percentile)—schools can select whom-ever they want below their median without affecting the measure used by USN. So if schools admit the top half of a class with an eye toward pro-tecting or raising their LSAT median, they can use any criteria they want in admitting those below that score. Many schools are aware of this strategy but many do not take full advantage of it. This tactic could be made even more attractive to schools if USN published only the median and not the 25th and 75th percentiles for test scores and GPAs, as it does now. It is also important that USN not adopt a more restrictive measure of selectivity (such as using the 25th and 75th percentile scores in its formula) so that schools can continue to use this flexibility to diversify their student bodies if they so desire.


Schools already have everything they need to compete and to attract minority, PI-minded students or whatever thier mission entails. Fully 49% of the class can have sub 150 LSATs and sub 2.0 GPA and it won't effect the rankings.
I've mentioned this before on TLS. The 25% and 75% are meaningless for USNWR. It is only the median that counts so they should be offering scholarships to anyone who is one point above the median (or 0.1 GPA point above). That way they can constantly move up in the rankings while letting students above the 75% go elsewhere and offering opportunities to many, mnay students below the median. Either the adcoms don't understand statistics and they continue to focus on the meaningless 75% score or they actually believe that a slight difference in the numbers is a meaningful predictor of success in law school.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby MrMcAllister » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:51 pm

There are obvious pros to attending an "elite" institution. The teachers will tend to be some of the best, the resources available to students will tend to be superior to that of lower-ranked schools, and the likelihood of getting a higher paying job will probably be significantly increased by attending such a school.

What it really boils down to is the individual student. The kind of person who is not satisfied until they know every single detail about the topic they are studying will have a higher likelihood of sucess in law school. Someone who carries this characteristic into their practice as an attorney will have a higher likelihood of success in their practice. The difference between a person like that from a T3 and a T1 is that the person from the T3 may need to work their way up in the legal field - to prove their talents as an attorney - to get a higher paying job.

The reality is that civil procedure is still civil procedure at a T3 school. If a student who wasn't serious in undergrad, perhaps didn't study for the lsat, etc. gets into a lower-ranked school, they can still develop a drive to learn everything they can from their law classes and graduate with an exceptional legal intellect. An inferior ranking doesn't have to equate to an inferior education. Even if there is a correlation with a lower-ranked school and less-successful attorneys, there is a severe lack of sufficient evidence to show that a lower-ranked school or less-successful graduates (poorer pay in their jobs?) is causally linked to "dumber" attorneys.

Talk to some serious T3 graduates who weren't so serious in undergrad but got their act together before law school. I just don't believe their ability to practice law will be inferior to that of a T1 graduate. If it is, I don't believe it will be because of the education offered at their school - rather it will be because of the person's inability to fully act on the opportunities offered by their law school.

Lower-ranked schools do tend to accept students of lower qualifications. That doesn't mean that an intelligent individual who goes to a lower-ranked school will graduate from there with an inferior ability to build as strong a case as a graduate of an "elite" school. The smartest T1 graduate won't necessarily be more capable than the smartest T3 graduate. But the dumbest T1 graduate will probably be more capable than the dumbest T3 graduate. Live by that notion, and don't be dumb at any school.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby hotdog123 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:21 pm

Pretty interesting article. Thanks for posting.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:30 pm

While I agree that the rankings are overblown and over-utilized by prospective students, I don't think they are meaningless. Even if you got rid of the rankings, there would still be a clear hierarchy in law schools. COA judges, the DOJ, top firms, etc. wouldn't magically start hiring more people from Northern Illinois law school or Cooley or New England Law, or even decently-reputable schools like Case Western or Miami. At the end of the day, HYS would get top priority, the rest of the T14 after that, etc. etc.

Fluctuations in rankings are pretty meaningless, but I still think a student should be very, very wary of picking a T2 school over a Top-20. The employment statistics clearly back this up.
Last edited by romothesavior on Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby legalease9 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:31 pm

Good Post OP!

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby r6_philly » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:35 pm

"School quality" reflects more on the quality of the student body due to the self-selection process that is admissions. "School quality" reflects less on the quality of the actual school/faculty/facilities. That is the system though. As OP said, employers use law schools to filter and rank the potential suitors.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby blackmamba76 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:41 pm

The so-called T14 should all boycott the rankings and lobby the ABA to cease providing all data to USNWR and other ranking systems until a better system can be devised.


+1

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby r6_philly » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:44 pm

blackmamba76 wrote:The so-called T14 should all boycott the rankings and lobby the ABA to cease providing all data to USNWR and other ranking systems until a better system can be devised.


+1


Why would the T14 do that if they are the one benefiting from the rankings???

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby blackmamba76 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:46 pm

r6_philly wrote:
blackmamba76 wrote:The so-called T14 should all boycott the rankings and lobby the ABA to cease providing all data to USNWR and other ranking systems until a better system can be devised.


+1


Why would the T14 do that if they are the one benefiting from the rankings???


That exactly is the problem. That's the one reason why the rankings would never be done away with, and why everyone's law school hopes and aspirations hinges on the rankings.

bigben
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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby bigben » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:48 pm

You shouldn't be railing against rankings. Rather, rail against the misuse/misunderstanding/overemphasis/obsession with regard to rankings by some prospective students. Many sensible applicants don't have this problem, of course. But some do. There is also at least one law professor who suffers from this problem.

Boycotting rankings...what a joke. Overwrought hand-wringing nonsense.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby r6_philly » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:51 pm

I for one, would like to go to school with other highly intelligent and qualified students. How can I achieve that goal without rankings and the data supporting the rankings?

For the record, I don't feel that there is a problem. But then I also don't bad mouth T2/T3/T4 schools and call them trash. The qualify issue rests with the incoming students of these schools, not the schools themselves for the most part.
Last edited by r6_philly on Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

blackmamba76
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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby blackmamba76 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:52 pm

bigben wrote:You shouldn't be railing against rankings. Rather, rail against the misuse/misunderstanding/overemphasis/obsession with regard to rankings by some prospective students. Many sensible applicants don't have this problem, of course. But some do. There is also at least one law professor who suffers from this problem.

Boycotting rankings...what a joke. Overwrought hand-wringing nonsense.


The prospective students misuse/misunderstanding/overemphasis/obsession with the rankings is due to the, misuse/misunderstanding/overemphasis/obsession with the rankings of the schools and employers!

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby D. H2Oman » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:53 pm

The USNEWS rankings not only meet a necessity, but also actually well done. I fully support the rankings.

r6_philly
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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby r6_philly » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:55 pm

blackmamba76 wrote:
bigben wrote:You shouldn't be railing against rankings. Rather, rail against the misuse/misunderstanding/overemphasis/obsession with regard to rankings by some prospective students. Many sensible applicants don't have this problem, of course. But some do. There is also at least one law professor who suffers from this problem.

Boycotting rankings...what a joke. Overwrought hand-wringing nonsense.


The prospective students misuse/misunderstanding/overemphasis/obsession with the rankings is due to the, misuse/misunderstanding/overemphasis/obsession with the rankings of the schools and employers!


I don't understand what the problem is if the schools and employers wants to rely on the rankings. Define "misuse"? They have the freedom to use it however they want, it is not up to prospective students, professors, or anyone who isn't the person using the rankings to judge what counts as "proper" and "improper" usage. You use it to do whatever you want with it. We will deal with that accordingly.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby D. H2Oman » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:56 pm

D. H2Oman wrote:The USNEWS rankings not only meet a necessity, but also actually well done. I fully support the rankings.


Obviously some level of distinction between the schools needs to be made, however I can't see how you legitimately argue that the rankings are "well done". There are multiple categories in there that are essentially meaningless when it comes to distinguishing the schools. Further, the whole concept of trying to rank a school like Illinois vs. a school like GW is rather pointless. They are both regional schools that play to entirely different markets, comparing them is useless.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby D. H2Oman » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:57 pm

D. H2Oman wrote:
D. H2Oman wrote:The USNEWS rankings not only meet a necessity, but also actually well done. I fully support the rankings.


[strike]Obviously some level of distinction between the schools needs to be made, however I can't see how you legitimately argue that the rankings are "well done". There are multiple categories in there that are essentially meaningless when it comes to distinguishing the schools. Further, the whole concept of trying to rank a school like Illinois vs. a school like GW is rather pointless. They are both regional schools that play to entirely different markets, comparing them is useless.[/strike]


Fuck you.

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D. H2Oman
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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby D. H2Oman » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:58 pm

D. H2Oman wrote:
D. H2Oman wrote:
D. H2Oman wrote:The USNEWS rankings not only meet a necessity, but also actually well done. I fully support the rankings.


[strike]Obviously some level of distinction between the schools needs to be made, however I can't see how you legitimately argue that the rankings are "well done". There are multiple categories in there that are essentially meaningless when it comes to distinguishing the schools. Further, the whole concept of trying to rank a school like Illinois vs. a school like GW is rather pointless. They are both regional schools that play to entirely different markets, comparing them is useless.[/strike]


Fuck you.


:roll: Ad hominem attack, of course.

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skamike
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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby skamike » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:12 pm

MURPH wrote:The most interesting paragraph was:
One simple strategy involves exploiting the flexibility afforded by USN measurements. Because USN uses the median LSAT in its formula for calculating overall rank—which means it only considers the exact mid-dle score of the distribution after scores have been arranged in ascending order (that is, the score at the 50th percentile)—schools can select whom-ever they want below their median without affecting the measure used by USN. So if schools admit the top half of a class with an eye toward pro-tecting or raising their LSAT median, they can use any criteria they want in admitting those below that score. Many schools are aware of this strategy but many do not take full advantage of it. This tactic could be made even more attractive to schools if USN published only the median and not the 25th and 75th percentiles for test scores and GPAs, as it does now. It is also important that USN not adopt a more restrictive measure of selectivity (such as using the 25th and 75th percentile scores in its formula) so that schools can continue to use this flexibility to diversify their student bodies if they so desire.


Schools already have everything they need to compete and to attract minority, PI-minded students or whatever thier mission entails. Fully 49% of the class can have sub 150 LSATs and sub 2.0 GPA and it won't effect the rankings.
I've mentioned this before on TLS. The 25% and 75% are meaningless for USNWR. It is only the median that counts so they should be offering scholarships to anyone who is one point above the median (or 0.1 GPA point above). That way they can constantly move up in the rankings while letting students above the 75% go elsewhere and offering opportunities to many, mnay students below the median. Either the adcoms don't understand statistics and they continue to focus on the meaningless 75% score or they actually believe that a slight difference in the numbers is a meaningful predictor of success in law school.


But why would they want to do that? Hmm...let's fill our school is substandard applicants and not pursue the superior ones, but it's okay, we are moving up in the rankings. What makes you think those below the median are going to be better lawyers than those above? Schools still want the best applicants possible.




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