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 filled out the middle of the traditional first tier. There were some strong moves worth noting in that group (like Arizona State and the University of Washington). Also worth noting are the schools that disappeared from that list, and today, we’ll finally get to talk about them.

This time around, we’ll be taking a look at the law schools at the bottom of the first tier — the schools that some would argue belong in the second tier (no, not the dreaded RNP tier), but charge like they’re the cream of the crop….

As a refresher, here are the schools ranked #34 through #49, according to U.S. News & World Report:

34. Georgia
35. William & Mary
35. Illinois
35. Wisconsin
38. UNC Law
39. BYU
39. George Mason
39. Ohio State
39. Maryland
43. University of Arizona (Rogers)
44. UC Hastings
44. University of Colorado – Boulder
44. Wake Forest
47. Utah
48. Florida (Levin)
49. American
49. Pepperdine

Alright, let’s get to right down to it: close to half of these schools dropped in rank this year, with the most notable being Illinois (dropped 12 spots — what up fraudulent admissions data!), William & Mary (dropped 8 spots), UNC Law (dropped 8 spots), Wake Forest (dropped 5 spots), and Utah (dropped 5 spots). Hot messes, the lot of you! What the hell happened this year?

Also worth mentioning are the schools that dropped out of the top 50 entirely — Florida State, SMU Law, Tulane (what, no assessment score for convicted murderers per class?), and Cardozo. It’s okay, go ahead and blame Pepperdine for knocking you out of the top 50.

Oh wait, we have reports coming in that some of these schools honestly reported their employment statistics and have suffered in the rankings because of it. God and heaven forbid. Come on, people, bring on the lies so students and alumni can have a sense of self-worth!

With all of the drops in the rankings this year, are these schools slipping, or have they just plain given up? Is increased transparency really to blame? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Earlier: Open Thread: 2013 U.S. News Law School Rankings (15 – 29)
Open Thread: 2013 U.S. News Law School Rankings (1 – 14)
The U.S. News Law School Rankings Are Out!


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