Law Schools, Rankings, U.S. News

The U.S. News 2015 Law School Rankings Are Here: Smell The Prestige

STACI HERE: While we wait for the OFFICIAL U.S. News rankings to come out, here are some of the more offensive drops in rank that we noticed (and by “offensive,” we mean 10 or more spots):

43. Washington & Lee (-17; tied at #26 last year with Iowa)

58. Houston (-10; five-way tie at #48 last year with Florida State, SMU, Tulane, and UC-Hastings)

64. Georgia State (-10; tied at #54 last year with Baylor)

72. American (-16; tied at #56 last year with Temple)

72. Tennessee—Knoxville (-11; three-way tie at #61 last year with Pepperdine and Nebraska)

79. San Diego (-11; eight-way tie at #68 last year with Case Western, Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago-Kent), Loyola Marymount University, University of Arkansas​‒​Fayetteville, Louisville, UNLV, and Oklahoma)

83. UNLV (-15; eight-way tie at #68 last year)

87. Loyola Los Angeles (-19; eight-way tie at #68 last year)

87. Louisville (-19; eight-way tie at #68 last year)

100. SUNY Buffalo (-14; five-way tie at #86 last year with Northeastern, Rutgers-Newark, Kansas, and Tulsa)

100. Hawaii (-20; six-way tie at #80 last year with Brooklyn, Catholic, Lewis & Clark, Michigan State, and Cincinnati)

107. Catholic University of America (-27; six-way tie at #80 last year)

129. Wyoming (-16; six-way tie at #113 last year with Gonzaga, Hofstra, Samford, Arkansas-Little Rock, and Montana)

135. Hofstra (-22; six-way tie at #113 last year)

135. Samford (-22; six-way tie at #113 last year)

RNP. Pacific (McGeorge) (tied at #124 last year with St. Thomas)

RNP. Loyola New Orleans (five way tie at #126 last year with Campbell, Chapman, Drexel, Hamline, and Howard)

RNP. Southern Illinois (four-way tie at #140 last year with St. Mary’s, North Dakota, and Washburn)

RNP. St. Mary’s (four-way tie at #140 last year)

RNP. San Francisco (five-way tie at #144 last year with Duquesne, South Texas, Memphis, and Suffolk)

RNP. South Texas (five-way tie at #144 last year)

RNP. Suffolk (five-way tie at #144 last year)

Please reserve platters for all of these law deans’ heads. Signed, current law students.

UPDATE (9:10 P.M.): ELIE HERE: And now with a bit of a look at what happened with Washington & Lee. Let’s call this section “Washington & Lee’s Experiential Learning Seems To Be A Flop.”

Please remember this the next time a law professor or law school dean tries to sell you a load of bull about “revamping” 3L year. Washington & Lee did just that. The school changed its third-year program to focus on so-called “practice ready” skills.

Employers didn’t take the bait. As we explained this summer, Washington & Lee’s job numbers are really down. Then this fall, we told you that W&L had the most dramatic drop in class size. The class of 2016 at W&L is down just over 40 percent.

Now, U.S. News has come in with the hammer. W&L has dropped from #26 last year to #43 this year. When reached for comment, George Washington and Robert E. Lee said, “THE CENTER MUST HOLD! Wait, what are we talking about?”

Just remember, when legal academics try to sell you on “practice readiness,” they might not necessarily have any idea what they’re talking about.

UPDATE (9:45 P.M.): STACI HERE. Here’s a link to the full, official U.S. News 2015 Law School Rankings. We’re continuing to scan through the list to see if we find anything interesting. We’ll probably take a look at the schools that gained 10 or more spots next.

UPDATE (10:15 P.M.): STACI HERE. We’ve shown you some of the bad, but here’s some of the good. Let’s take a look at law schools that gained 10 or more spots in this year’s U.S. News rankings. Congrats!

51. Penn State (+13; four-way tie at #64 last year with Seton Hall, Denver, and New Mexico)

58. Oklahoma (+10; eight-way tie at #68 last year with the group of schools listed above)

61. Miami (+15; four-way tie at #75 last year with LSU, Loyola Chicago, and Miami)

64. Missouri (+12; four-way tie at #76 last year)

68. Kansas (+18; five-way tie at #86 last year)

72. Tulsa (+14; five-way tie at #86 last year)

81. Rutgers-Camden (+10; three-way tie at #91 last year with Pittsburgh and WVU)

81. Pittsburgh (+10; three-way tie at #91 last year)

87. Indiana-Indianapolis (+11; four-way tie at #98 last year with St. John’s, South Carolina, and Villanova)

87. Seattle (+15; three-way tie at #102 last year with St. Louis and Mississippi)

87. Wayne State (+18; four-way tie at #105 last year with Florida International, Mercer, and Texas Tech)

93. Stetson (+16; four-way tie at #109 last year with DePaul, Drake, and Missouri-Kansas City)

93. New Hampshire (+26; five-way tie at #119 last year with Cleveland State, Creighton, Akron, and Vermont)

113. CUNY (+19; tied at #132 with Albany last year)

115. Washburn (+25; four-way tie at #140 last year with Southern Illinois, St. Mary’s, and North Dakota)

118. Quinnipiac (+16; six-way tie at #134 last year with Pace, Baltimore, Idaho, Maine, and William Mitchell)

118. Idaho (+16; six-way tie at #134 last year)

118. Albany (+14; tied at #132 with CUNY last year)

121. Duquesne (+23; five-way tie at #144 last year with San Francisco, South Texas, Memphis, and Suffolk)

140. New York Law School (rank not published last year)

UPDATE (10:38 P.M.): ELIE HERE. This isn’t your father’s New York Law School? NYLS has climbed out of the pit of sodomites and gone from unranked to #140 on this year’s list. It’s tied with Pace Law in White Plains, New York.

The vagaries of U.S. News means that there are a lot of reasons NYLS could have jumped up, but spending money on things U.S. News likes generally helps. NYLS certainly has that. They’ve got a pretty building in Manhattan, and they charge people an arm and a leg. U.S. News is rewarding NYLS for spending money. You can decide if that is good or bad.

But maybe NYLS is just doing a better job, under a new administration. That’s possible too. And regardless, this bump will be great news to recent NYLS graduates. Congrats guys. We’ll see if prospective law students “reward” NYLS with additional applications.

On the flip side of that coin, Suffolk Law in Boston went from #144 last year to unranked this year. That’s $45K to go to a now unranked law school in the competitive Boston market. Suffolk was ranked #135 just two years ago. People graduating from Suffolk Law this spring started off going to a middling law school in Boston, but they’re graduating from an expensive private school that isn’t even ranked. And it’s not like Suffolk is going to give any of its students a discount or rebate for the school’s fall from U.S. News grace. My prediction for Suffolk Law graduates: Pain.

USNWR Law School Rankings [Spivey Consulting Blog]
2015 USNWR Top 50 with +/- changes [Spivey Consulting Blog]
USNWR 51-100 with +/- from last year [Spivey Consulting Blog]
Best Law Schools (2015) [U.S. News & World Report]

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