Welcome back to our series of open threads on the latest batch of U.S. News law school rankings. Last time, readers weighed in on the law schools that ascended to the tippy-top of the rankings — the T14. What with the Harvard v. Stanford and Georgetown v. Cornell switch-ups, there was certainly a lot to talk about.

This time around, we’ll be taking a look at some additional top-tier law schools that sit just below the coveted T14 rankings. And like the rousing game of musical chairs we saw play out among our nation’s elite law schools, there were some moves worth noting in this segment of the rankings, as well….

As a refresher, here are the schools ranked #15 through #29, according to U.S. News & World Report:

15. UCLA
16. Texas
16. Vanderbilt
18. USC
19. Minnesota
20. George Washington
20. University of Washington
22. Notre Dame
23. Washington (St. Louis)
24. Emory
24. Washington & Lee
26. Arizona State
26. Boston University
26. Indiana University (Maurer)
29. Boston College
29. Fordham
29. Alabama
29. UC Davis
29. Iowa

When we posted the results of last week’s poll, we found out that 43% of our readers thought UCLA should remain a permanent fixture at the 15th slot over Texas and Vanderbilt. UCLA hardly had any competition — apparently hot women are better than hot employment rates.

Speaking of competitions, this segment of the rankings seems to carry with it some traditional sports rivalries (UCLA v. USC and BU v. BC). For those following along, it should be noted that while BC is closing the academic gap on BU, UCLA is slowly, but surely, creeping away from USC.

And while we’re on the topic of sports, what the hell happened to UNC – Chapel Hill? The school was in a five-way tie for thirtieth place last year, but this year, the Tar Heels are nowhere to be found in this portion of the rankings. Alas, much like their basketball team, it seems that the law school got beat down in the end. Also absent from this list is Illinois, but we’ll get to that hot mess in our next open thread.

Last, but not least, how could we forget about Arizona State’s big move? ASU leapt from #40 to #26 in this year’s rankings — hooray for tuition hikes! It must be nice to have actually improved in every category instead of cheating your way to prestige. (And yes, we know, the University of Washington jumped from #30 to #20. Props to them, because it looks like the school’s bar achievement program might have helped them out.)

In the end, we’re left wondering whether these law schools are worth their sticker prices. They might not be as good as the top 14, but they surely charge almost as much. That being said, is going to one of these schools an investment worth making? Leave your thoughts with us in the comments.

Earlier: Open Thread: 2013 U.S. News Law School Rankings (1 – 14)
The U.S. News Law School Rankings Are Out!


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