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 — a time when not all law deans could defend their law school’s rank by telling students and alumni that the school was still in the “first tier.” It’s not an elitist thing, we promise. It’s just much, much easier this way.
That being said, today we’ll take a look at the schools ranked #76 through #98 (where there’s a four-way tie). What does it take to be recognized as a Top 100 law school by U.S. News these days? Apparently your graduates need to be employed….
As a refresher, here are the schools ranked #76 through #98, according to U.S. News & World Report. For your convenience, we’ve noted the difference between last year’s ranking and this year’s ranking parenthetically:
76. Louisiana State University‒Baton Rouge (Hebert) (up 3)
76. Loyola University Chicago (down 9)
76. University of Miami (down 7)
76. University of Missouri (up 3)
80. Brooklyn Law School (down 15)
80. Catholic University of America (Columbus) (up 2)
80. Lewis & Clark College (Northwestern) (down 22)
80. Michigan State University (up 2)
80. University of Cincinnati (down 11)
80. University of Hawaii‒Manoa (Richardson) (up 26)
86. Northeastern University (down 10)
86. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey‒Newark (down 4)
86. SUNY Buffalo Law School (down 4)
86. University of Kansas (up 3)
86. University of Tulsa (up 13)
91. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey‒Camden (up 8)
91. University of Pittsburgh (down 22)
91. West Virginia University (up 10)
94. Marquette University (up 2)
94. University of Oregon (down 12)
96. Santa Clara University (no change)
96. Syracuse University (no change)
98. Indiana University‒Indianapolis (down 9)
98. St. John’s University (down 19)
98. University of South Carolina (up 11)
98. Villanova University (up 3)
As you can see, the results in this portion of the rankings were about half and half: 12 schools went down in rank (uh oh), 12 schools went up in rank (yay), and two schools didn’t move at all (womp). Because there was so much movement, we’re only going to discuss the more spectacular flameouts and successes.
Here are the schools that went down faster than the Titanic — we’re talking double-digit drops in rank: Brooklyn (our employment statistics are in another castle); Lewis & Clark (where deans throw other schools under the bus); Cincinnati (at least they have hot cheerleaders in that city); Northeastern (proving to be less wicked awesome than previously thought); Pittsburgh (presumably a great place to go 15 years ago); Oregon (go get arrested at a protest about it); and St. John’s (now they have a reason to hate the school even more).
Here are the schools that soared with double-digit increases in rank — and three of them are new to the Top 100: Hawaii (the view from the Top 100 is almost as beautiful as Honolulu, but will your students get lei’d?); Tulsa (nice work; this is the second year in a row that the school’s rank jumped up by more than 10); West Virginia (welcome to the Top 100, y’all); and South Carolina (also new to the Top 100; enjoy your stay, but don’t move to Charlestown after graduation). How long these schools will remain in the Top 100 is another story.
Congratulations or condolences to the lot of you on your employment statistics, since that’s probably the reason why these schools did so well or so poorly in the rankings this year. Law schools’ ability to place graduates in positions as lawyers was an absolute game changer this year. This proves that once again, where the American Bar Association refuses to act, U.S. News will happily make you its bitch.
But are these schools being unfairly ranked? When do you think law schools administrators will stop making excuses and realize how important employment is for their graduates? Let us know in the comments.
Earlier: 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