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 made up the top half of the traditional second tier. And when we say the “traditional second tier,” we’re harkening back to a time when not all law schools with numerical rankings were classified as “first tier” educational institutions. It’s not an elitist thing, we promise. It’s just easier this way.

That being said, today we’ll take a look at the schools ranked #76 through #99. What does it take to be recognized as a Top 100 law school by U.S. News these days?

Apparently all you have to do is be relatively scandal free to land a spot in this part of the rankings. As a refresher, here are the schools ranked #76 through #99, according to U.S. News & World Report:

76. Northeastern
76. Penn State – Dickinson
76. University of Nevada – Las Vegas
79. Louisiana State
79. St. John’s
79. University of Missouri
82. Catholic University of America
82. Michigan State
82. Rutgers – Newark
82. Seattle University
82. SUNY Buffalo
82. University of Oklahoma
82. University of Oregon
89. DePaul
89. Hofstra
89. Indiana University (Indianapolis)
89. University of Arkansas
89. University of Kansas
89. University of Louisville
89. University of Nebraska
96. Marquette
96. Santa Clara
96. Syracuse
99. Rutgers – Camden
99. University of Tulsa

And when we’re talking about scandal, we’re looking at you, Villanova Law. You might not get spanked too hard by the ABA for admissions fraud, but U.S. News will certainly make you its b*tch. The school plummeted from #84 to #101, but we’ll lay into them more in our next installment of this series.

But speaking of plummeting in the rankings, out of these 25 schools, more than half of them dipped lower than last year’s numbers. Since so many of these schools lost face this year, we’ll only point out the ones that dropped like complete stones: Penn State – Dickinson (dropped 16 spots), University of Oklahoma (dropped 11 spots), Indiana University (dropped 10 spots), University of Kansas (dropped 10 spots), Santa Clara (dropped 11 spots), and Rutgers – Camden (dropped 15 spots). Ouch, that’s really gotta hurt.

Seriously, what the hell happened here? Maybe Penn State can blame this on Sandusky, and Rutgers – Camden can blame it on the proposed merger with Rowan University, what are everyone else’s excuses?

Also worth noting is Catholic University of America’s slight dip in the rankings (the school dropped 3 spots). You’d think that the administration would work harder to maintain rank, considering that CUA is one of the ten law schools in the country with the heaviest average debt load for students after graduation.

On the happier side of the scale, several schools climbed in the rankings in this part of the list, but a few of them soared. Who did well? St. John’s (gained 15 spots), University of Missouri (gained 28 spots), Michigan State (gained 13 spots — woohoo, Food Law), University of Louisville (gained 11 spots — Google it, b*tch), and University of Tulsa (gained 11 spots). Congrats to these schools, and the rest that moved up in rank.

So readers, what do you think? Were there any controversies that caused more than half of these law schools to drop in the rankings? Are any of them being unfairly ranked by U.S. News? Let us know in the comments.

Earlier: Open Thread: 2013 U.S. News Law School Rankings (51 – 69)
Open Thread: 2013 U.S. News Law School Rankings (34 – 49)
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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