The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

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

Postby bigben » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:15 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!


Employers don't give a shit about USNWR.

It is true that they put a lot of stock in the idea of a law school hierarchy. But that was the case before USNWR existed and would continue to be the case if USNWR ceased to exist. They are motivated by student quality - they want the students that prevailed over their competition in the law school admissions game. See Scalia's explanation that the top schools admit the "best and brightest" students and no matter what the quality of their law school education may be, they are still the best and brightest upon graduation.

Basically USNWR is much more a reflection of a pre-existing reality rather than something that wields independent influence.

The only place that USNWR wields undue influence is in the minds of a few prospective students who lack judgment. I am all for enlightening people about the proper use and interpretation of rankings, but to imagine that the system is suffering at the behest of a tyrannical USNWR is just ludicrous.
Last edited by bigben on Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:17 pm

bigben wrote:
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!


Employers don't give a shit about USNWR.

It is true that they put a lot of stock in the idea of a law school hierarchy. But that was the case before USNWR existed and would continue to be the case if USNWR ceased to exist. They are motivated by student quality - they want the students that prevailed over their competition in the law school admissions game. See Scalia's explanation that the top schools admit the "best and brightest" students and no matter what the quality of their law school education may be, they are still the best and brightest upon graduation.

Basically USNWR is much more a reflection of a pre-existing reality rather than something that wields independent influence. Properly understood means you don't make a big deal of a few spaces, you supplement it with outside information, and you think of the schools more in terms of tiers rather than ordinal rankings.

The only place that USNWR wields undue influence is in the minds of a few prospective students who lack judgment. I am all for enlightening people about the proper use and interpretation of rankings, but to imagine that the system is suffering at the behest of a tyrannical USNWR is just ludicrous.


+1, especially regarding USNWR reflecting an existing reality and not offering a groundbreaking new concept.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby 09042014 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:19 pm

MURPH wrote:The most interesting paragraph was:


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.



Or they can adopt a strategy where they pick two high medians ( LSAT and GPA), then let people in who are above one and below the other. This allows them to raise their medians without having to buy students. This is actually how most schools pick a class.

You must be above one median. And if you are above both, they'll buy your scores. Then URMs and other special cases will be let in who are below both.

UVa cannot build a class with 50% of their students above 3.85 and 170 because a 3.86/170 goes to UChi or Columbia. But they can build a class where 50% are above 3.85 and 50% are above 170. It is why a 3.75/169 has no shot, while a 3.2/170 does.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby bigben » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:22 pm

PDaddy 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. And...no...I am not going to a "T2 school" or a "TTT".


If you don't like USNWR then make your own rankings. If they are better then people will use them instead.

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

Postby bigben » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:22 pm

An article about the controversy over law school rankings and Robert Morse, the creator of the USNWR rankings.

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/arti ... ings_czar/

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

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:39 pm

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. And...no...I am not going to a "T2 school" or a "TTT".

Weigh in.

1) I've explained to people before myself about how the difference in faculty between top-tier and lower-tier schools is not necessarily so great. But when you attend a top-tier law school, that's not all you're getting. You're also getting the prestige and networking that has been built up around that school, and that is valuable in the job market. Having Yale ranked #1 clearly helps make it easier for 0Ls to understand the value of a Yale degree, but Yale was that valuable before the USNWR rankings came into existence. The rankings identify and reinforce differences in value from different institutions, they didn't generate it all on their own.

2) The T14 are so-called because they are the 14 schools with the highest prestige and value in the hiring market. It's not like the USNWR is lying to people; you really do get more potential for success with a Michigan degree than you do with a DePaul degree. It's not USNWR's rankings that created this difference, it's the historical strength of Michigan's program and the national recognition of that strength that does.

The rankings can help differentiate between schools with better and worse post-employment options fairly easily. Those rankings only end up mattering locally once you get down below 20 or 30 or so, but that's because the prestige and connections those lower-ranked schools have built up mostly have only a local reach.

3) As has already been mentioned, the T14 are never going to abandon the current rankings, because it helps them the most. What sense does it make to call for the people who benefit from a system to be the ones to boycott it?

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

Postby UFMatt » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:55 pm

PDaddy 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. And...no...I am not going to a "T2 school" or a "TTT".

Weigh in.


Why? The current system serves them well. Did you mean non-T14?

In regards to the bigger issue of the quality of "lesser" law schools, I agree that most probably provide an excellent education. The difference with the "top" schools will be with more esteemed professors, better contacts for job placement, and (all else being equal) students with superior credentials.

For all of the flaws in the current system, the one element that I love is the importance of the LSAT. It is an objective criterion that really does level the playing field for applicants from all backgrounds.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby showNprove » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:11 pm

PDaddy wrote:This explains why Miami, for example, is a top-20 school when it comes to producing superlawyers.

LOL @ at anyone citing the "Super Lawyers" as evidence of their school's quality. "Super Lawyers" picks a number of lawyers from each state each year. That means X number of "Super Lawyers" are going to be chosen from, say, Florida each year, regardless of how they compare nationally. How many top-tier law schools are there in Florida? None (UF is marginal). And how many lawyers from top law schools are clamoring to practice in Florida? Very few. UMiami Law is going to have a lot of "Super Lawyers" simply because there aren't any other great schools in Florida, and Florida isn't a popular place to work.

I'm not into bashing second-tier law schools (except Georgetown), but your support holds no water. I'm sure there are super lawyers in Florida and from UMiami Law, but the "Super Lawyers" stats grossly overstate that number. Grossly.

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

Postby gdane » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:16 pm

I hate the rankings and here is why:

They are based off of what you did in the past. UG GPA and LSAT. The rankings should include things like Law school GPA and employment statistics. In other words, instead of the rankings being decided by what school's incoming students have the highest GPA'a and LSAT's, they should be decided by which schools boast the highest law school GPA's and whatnot. This brings up the issue of "A 3.5 at Harvard is 100x better than a 3.5 at Cooley". To this I say the hypotheticals should include something like the percentage of students that have high GPA's. Also, what I think should be most stressed in these hypothetical rankings is employment. Legal employment. This is what will differentiate many schools from each other.
So lets say that 95% of Harvard grads are employed in some legal job and 65% of cooley grads are employed in some form of legal job. Obviously, Harvard wins. Now the rankings could factor in salary. Ill use a school other than cooley. Lets say the 95% of Harvard grads that are employed in the legal field are making an average of $110k/yr while UVA had an 85% placement in legal jobs that averaged $95k/yr. Harvard would win out in that category too.

I know this might not make much sense because honestly I was just brainstorming, but the overall point is that any rankings should be based off of concrete and sound evidence and should be tied directly to law school performance, not UG and LSAT performance.

All these Peer surveys or whatever the hell USNWR uses dont give you a good picture. Sure, in theory one could say " Higher ranked schools have higher peer scores and that means that you'll get a better job", but theres no guarantee in that. It would be much better if the rankings had an actual way to tell prospective students "Here are the exact numbers of who went where and who is making what now". Not "heres a number that tells you how a bunch of lawyers and judges like your school".

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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 7:18 pm

gdane5 wrote:I hate the rankings and here is why:

They are based off of what you did in the past. UG GPA and LSAT. The rankings should include things like Law school GPA



I'm gonna go ahead and stop right there.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby GeePee » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:19 pm

gdane5 wrote:I hate the rankings and here is why:

They are based off of what you did in the past. UG GPA and LSAT. The rankings should include things like Law school GPA and employment statistics. In other words, instead of the rankings being decided by what school's incoming students have the highest GPA'a and LSAT's, they should be decided by which schools boast the highest law school GPA's and whatnot. This brings up the issue of "A 3.5 at Harvard is 100x better than a 3.5 at Cooley". To this I say the hypotheticals should include something like the percentage of students that have high GPA's. Also, what I think should be most stressed in these hypothetical rankings is employment. Legal employment. This is what will differentiate many schools from each other.
So lets say that 95% of Harvard grads are employed in some legal job and 65% of cooley grads are employed in some form of legal job. Obviously, Harvard wins. Now the rankings could factor in salary. Ill use a school other than cooley. Lets say the 95% of Harvard grads that are employed in the legal field are making an average of $110k/yr while UVA had an 85% placement in legal jobs that averaged $95k/yr. Harvard would win out in that category too.

I know this might not make much sense because honestly I was just brainstorming, but the overall point is that any rankings should be based off of concrete and sound evidence and should be tied directly to law school performance, not UG and LSAT performance.

All these Peer surveys or whatever the hell USNWR uses dont give you a good picture. Sure, in theory one could say " Higher ranked schools have higher peer scores and that means that you'll get a better job", but theres no guarantee in that. It would be much better if the rankings had an actual way to tell prospective students "Here are the exact numbers of who went where and who is making what now". Not "heres a number that tells you how a bunch of lawyers and judges like your school".

Lol sorry. I stopped reading after this. You may or may not have made some good points later in the article, but have you ever heard of a curve?

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

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:22 pm

gdane5 wrote:I hate the rankings and here is why:

They are based off of what you did in the past. UG GPA and LSAT. The rankings should include things like Law school GPA and employment statistics. In other words, instead of the rankings being decided by what school's incoming students have the highest GPA'a and LSAT's, they should be decided by which schools boast the highest law school GPA's and whatnot.


I haven't been able to use one of these yet, and I've always wanted to:

--ImageRemoved--

You do realize that a school could be ranked 150th and have the same average GPA as a T10? It's called a CUUUUURRRRVE.

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

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:23 pm

gdane5 wrote:I hate the rankings and here is why:

They are based off of what you did in the past. UG GPA and LSAT. The rankings should include things like Law school GPA and employment statistics. In other words, instead of the rankings being decided by what school's incoming students have the highest GPA'a and LSAT's, they should be decided by which schools boast the highest law school GPA's and whatnot. This brings up the issue of "A 3.5 at Harvard is 100x better than a 3.5 at Cooley". To this I say the hypotheticals should include something like the percentage of students that have high GPA's. Also, what I think should be most stressed in these hypothetical rankings is employment. Legal employment. This is what will differentiate many schools from each other.
So lets say that 95% of Harvard grads are employed in some legal job and 65% of cooley grads are employed in some form of legal job. Obviously, Harvard wins. Now the rankings could factor in salary. Ill use a school other than cooley. Lets say the 95% of Harvard grads that are employed in the legal field are making an average of $110k/yr while UVA had an 85% placement in legal jobs that averaged $95k/yr. Harvard would win out in that category too.

I know this might not make much sense because honestly I was just brainstorming, but the overall point is that any rankings should be based off of concrete and sound evidence and should be tied directly to law school performance, not UG and LSAT performance.

All these Peer surveys or whatever the hell USNWR uses dont give you a good picture. Sure, in theory one could say " Higher ranked schools have higher peer scores and that means that you'll get a better job", but theres no guarantee in that. It would be much better if the rankings had an actual way to tell prospective students "Here are the exact numbers of who went where and who is making what now". Not "heres a number that tells you how a bunch of lawyers and judges like your school".


Also, QFP.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby stratocophic » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:23 pm

D. H2Oman wrote:
gdane5 wrote:I hate the rankings and here is why:

They are based off of what you did in the past. UG GPA and LSAT. The rankings should include things like Law school GPA



I'm gonna go ahead and stop right there.
Priceless.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby eldizknee » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:26 pm

.
Last edited by eldizknee on Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby hotdog123 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:27 pm

I agree we should rank law schools by their students law school GPAs.

Cooley, the new Harvard.

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

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:29 pm

eldizknee wrote:This thread really took a turn for the lulzy


+1. On the list of most retarded things ever argued with a straight face on TLS, that is right up near the top.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby gdane » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:30 pm

ok well you guys are just breaking my balls now.

I think Im going to come up with my own rankings and get maxim to publish them. I think Maxim has a larger circulation than USNWR.

One note, why should an UG GPA be such a huge factor in the rankings? Everyone agrees that law school is much different than UG and is much more difficult. So, why not use law school GPA's?
Nevertheless, i see the point thats being made and honestly, I completely forgot about curves. Completely forgot.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:33 pm

gdane5 wrote:ok well you guys are just breaking my balls now.

I think Im going to come up with my own rankings and get maxim to publish them. I think Maxim has a larger circulation than USNWR.

One note, why should an UG GPA be such a huge factor in the rankings? Everyone agrees that law school is much different than UG and is much more difficult. So, why not use law school GPA's? Nevertheless, i see the point thats being made and honestly, I completely forgot about curves. Completely forgot.


I think you just answered your own question one sentence later.

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

Postby gdane » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:37 pm

yea i did. But i still dont think UG GPA is an appropriate measure of a law schools worth. mainly because of what i said that law school is much different and more difficult than UG. so even if a person got a 3.7 in undergrad, that might not mean that he/she will earn that GPA in law school. especially since study methods are so much different.

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby ChattTNdt » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:40 pm

gdane5 wrote:yea i did. But i still dont think UG GPA is an appropriate measure of a law schools worth. mainly because of what i said that law school is much different and more difficult than UG. so even if a person got a 3.7 in undergrad, that might not mean that he/she will earn that GPA in law school. especially since study methods are so much different.



I hope you are in my 1L section :D

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

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:40 pm

gdane5 wrote:yea i did. But i still dont think UG GPA is an appropriate measure of a law schools worth. mainly because of what i said that law school is much different and more difficult than UG. so even if a person got a 3.7 in undergrad, that might not mean that he/she will earn that GPA in law school. especially since study methods are so much different.


While it is not perfect, your undergrad GPA is a good determinant of a student's calibur. Someone with a 4.0 is usually a better student than someone with a 3.5. Exceptions exist, obviously. (For example, I would say most 3.3 engineering majors are better overall students than me with my 3.75. Whether or not I'll be the better LS remains to be seen.) I would argue that the LSAT is a better piece of information, since it is the only thing that all applicants have in common. But I do think GPA is a decent indicator of the overall calibur of a student.

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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 7:43 pm

ChattTNdt wrote:
gdane5 wrote:yea i did. But i still dont think UG GPA is an appropriate measure of a law schools worth. mainly because of what i said that law school is much different and more difficult than UG. so even if a person got a 3.7 in undergrad, that might not mean that he/she will earn that GPA in law school. especially since study methods are so much different.



I hope you are in my 1L section :D



Really? Pretty sure that would mean you'd be at a T4. Let me check post history to verify.

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

Postby ChattTNdt » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:50 pm

D. H2Oman wrote:
ChattTNdt wrote:
gdane5 wrote:yea i did. But i still dont think UG GPA is an appropriate measure of a law schools worth. mainly because of what i said that law school is much different and more difficult than UG. so even if a person got a 3.7 in undergrad, that might not mean that he/she will earn that GPA in law school. especially since study methods are so much different.



I hope you are in my 1L section :D



Really? Pretty sure that would mean you'd be at a T4. Let me check post history to verify.



Wasn't exactly a serious statement. More of a general concept...

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Re: The most cogent anti-rankings article ever!

Postby newcritic » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:13 pm

Just random thoughts on this:

A federal judge came and talked to my 1L class about clerks and told us that she sorts by Top 20 Law Schools (I go to one of the schools currently ranked 30...so it was a bit of a downer) when she screens applications and that she never takes people who went straight from UG to LS. That being said, one of her current clerks and one she had last year were both from my school, and one may have come straight from undergrad. So I'm wondering if this judge is typical of attitudes toward rankings, if out in jobland people like the idea of the rankings, but don't really use them as gospel.

Also, if you ever get the chance you should read The Emperor of Ocean Park by Yale law prof Stephen Carter. The story is set in a not so disguised Yale Law School, and the main character (also a prof) has some very interesting observations about his students: supposedly the "best and the brightest" and in class most willing to espouse a "help the people" philosophy but after graduating they clerk, go into academia, big law, and/or gov't policy rather than going the less lucrative public interest routes. Anywho, if anyone has read that book as well, I'd be curious as to how you responded to it as a potential/current/former law student.
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