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 bottom half of the traditional second tier (no, not the U.S. News second tier). This time, we’ll be taking a look at what was once known as the “third tier” — a group of law schools that was previously unranked.

Two years ago, these law schools were visited by Bob Morse, the U.S. News rankings fairy, who left a now-treasured numerical rank under each of their pillows. Now the deans at these schools can proudly boast that even if they dropped in rank, they’re “in the first tier,” an accomplishment that only the most gullible of prospective law students could be impressed by. Sigh.

Anyway, let’s see if there were any movers and shakers this year in this section of the list….

As a refresher, here are the schools ranked #102 through #144, according to U.S. News & World Report. For your convenience, we’ve noted the difference between last year’s ranking and this year’s parenthetically:

102. Seattle University (down 20)
102. St. Louis University (down 1)
102. University of Mississippi (up 33)
105. Florida International University (up 8)
105. Mercer University (George) (up 5)
105. Texas Tech University (down 4)
105. Wayne State University (up 5)
109. DePaul University (down 20)
109. Drake University (down 3)
109. Stetson University (up 10)
109. University of Missouri​‒​Kansas City (up 26)
113. Gonzaga University (no change)
113. Hofstra University (Deane) (down 24)
113. Samford University (Cumberland) (up 29)
113. University of Arkansas​‒​Little Rock (Bowen) (up 6)
113. University of Montana (up 32)
113. University of Wyoming (up 14)
119. Cleveland State University (Cleveland-Marshall) (up 16)
119. Creighton University (up 16)
119. University of Akron (no change)
119. University of New Hampshire School of Law (up 23)
119. Vermont Law School (no change)
124. University of St. Thomas (up from RNP)
124. University of the Pacific (McGeorge) (down 23)
126. Campbell University (up from RNP)
126. Chapman University (down 16)
126. Drexel University (Mack) (down 7)
126. Hamline University (up from RNP)
126. Howard University (down 7)
126. Loyola University New Orleans (up 9)
132. Albany Law School (down 19)
132. CUNY (down 19)
134. Pace University (up 8)
134. Quinnipiac University (down 21)
134. University of Baltimore (down 21)
134. University of Idaho (down 5)
134. University of Maine (down 15)
134. William Mitchell College of Law (down 7)
140. Southern Illinois University​‒​Carbondale (up from RNP)
140. St. Mary’s University (up from RNP)
140. University of North Dakota (up 5)
140. Washburn University (down 11)
144. Duquesne University (up from RNP)
144. South Texas College of Law (up from RNP)
144. Suffolk University (down 9)
144. University of Memphis (Humphreys) (up from RNP)
144. University of San Francisco (down 38)

Out of the 47 schools that appear in this segment of the U.S. News rankings, 19 of them dropped precipitously in rank. But first, some happier news: many of the schools here saw double-digit gains in rank, and some of them have been positioned to move into the traditional second tier if they continue to play their cards right (because let’s face it, the rankings are really just a game for most law schools). The school that’s perhaps most likely to make that move is Mississippi, so congratulations. After last year’s 28-spot drop, it certainly looks like Dr. Seuss came through with those jobs after all. We also extend our congratulations to the eight law schools that managed to crawl out of the RNP region to get a ranking.

Let’s get back to everyone’s favorite part of rankings analysis, the schadenfreude. Out of the 19 schools that dropped in rank, 11 of them did so with double-digit flair. As usual, we see the coastal bias problem here in that if you were located on or near one of our country’s coasts and your employment statistics were looking rough, you were severely punished in the rankings. The worst offender of all was San Francisco, which you may recall was sued over its allegedly deceptive employment statistics in 2012. Not long ago, a demurrer was denied in the case, and the suit is currently in class discovery.

Let’s not forget about the schools that dropped out of this portion of the rankings completely. We’ll pour one out for our homies: John Marshall-Chicago (sued over job stats; down from #129), University of Toledo (down from #129), Willamette (down from #129), Southwestern (sued over job stats; down from #129), and New York Law School (sued over job stats; down from #135). And while John Marshall and NYLS might have been able to get their law school lawsuits dismissed (both are currently on appeal), the U.S. News rankings still spanked them HARD, presumably due to the schools’ crippled employment statistics. Irony: gotta love it.

Upward moves and downward dives aside, we’ve got to ask an important question: is it worth it to attend one of these schools? Given the employment prospects, it seems like a pretty bleak situation. But what do you think? Should prospective law students be wary of these schools, even if offered scholarships? Let us know.

Earlier: Open Thread: 2014 U.S. News Law School Rankings (76 – 98)
Open Thread: 2014 U.S. News Law School Rankings (53 – 68)
Open Thread: 2014 U.S. News Law School Rankings (33 – 48)
Open Thread: 2014 U.S. News Law School Rankings (15 – 31)
Open Thread: 2014 U.S. News Law School Rankings (1 – 14)
The 2014 U.S. News Law School Rankings


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