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".
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?