Rankings

If there’s one thing that lawyers love more than arguing, it’s law school rankings. Whether you’re a prospective law student, a current law student, or a law school alumnus, you’re likely obsessed with the U.S. News law school rankings, the most well-known of all national law school rankings.

But come on, let’s be real with ourselves: members of the legal profession are unhealthily obsessed with rankings in general. From the rankings that seem to defy logic and common sense to the rankings that seem nonsensical at best, if they’re out there, we know that our loyal readers are going to salivate over them.

One major criticism of the U.S. News rankings of late is that prospective law students still place a far greater weight on these rankings than any other metric — which is quite foolish. That’s why we were excited to see that Law School Transparency recently released an alternative to the U.S. News law school rankings, based on factors that ought to be important to would-be law students: cost and employment outcomes.

Let’s check out the LST rankings alternative, and see what they’ve got to offer….

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Hey, don’t blame us. We didn’t make this list of the worst law schools in the country.

In the Above the Law Career Center, we just give law schools letter grades, based on user surveys completed by ATL readers. But the Daily Caller has compiled a list of the ten worst ABA-accredited law schools. Mwahaha.

One really strong point about this list is that it’s more outcome-oriented than other rankings. It’s not looking at LSAT scores and GPAs; it’s looking at bar passage rates, cost, and employment data.

So, send your angry emails to the Daily Caller, or your own administrators, if you are unlucky enough to be going to one of these schools…

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Earlier this week, we brought you news about the 10 worst cities for young attorneys ranked by standard of living, size of the legal community, and an active social scene for young people. Many of those cities were located in the South or in the Midwest, where law school administrators have insisted there are good jobs waiting. While some complained that the rankings were suspect for one reason or another, others — perhaps they were bitter? — went so far as to suggest they didn’t “want people that ‘rank’ the ‘worst cities’ coming to these great places anyway.” Sheesh.

Well, those worst-city defenders may be in luck, because today we’ve got the rankings for the 20 Best Cities for Young Attorneys, and this time, average billable hours per city are included. Once again, NALP’s Buying Power Index for the Class of 2010 was used to establish each city’s standard of living, and the resultant best cities were not only big, but they were also extremely Biglaw-centric, with reported median salaries to match.

So where are the best cities for young attorneys?

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Given the glut of attorneys being pumped out into the market on a yearly basis, recent graduates are being told to consider applying for employment in places that they normally wouldn’t — rural places like the cities in the Midwest or the Deep South. And for some, it’s been working out, but for others, the experience has been less than enjoyable.

Enter the latest set of rankings. Last year at about this time, the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) released its Buying Power Index for the Class of 2010. This year, National Jurist has presented a list of the Worst Cities for Young Attorneys, based, in part, on NALP’s figures. Unsurprisingly, many of those cities fall near the bottom of NALP’s buying power list, and one was even in second-to-last place. If you have other options, you may want to seriously consider them.

So where are the worst cities for young attorneys?

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I’d like to live in a world where the list of best law schools “for black people” was exactly the same as the list of best law schools “for people.”

I think we’re close. Black people are already conditioned to make the same stupid decisions based on the U.S. News rankings as white people have been making for a generation. And while there are still some unhelpful people who try to tell black people that the reasons for going to law school are somehow radically different for them than for everybody else, for the most part, people understand that black people go to law school for the same reason white people do: jobs.

Still, we’re not quite there, in large part because the strength and vibrancy of the black community can vary greatly between law schools. In this day and age, nobody should expect to be the “only” black student in their small section. Everybody should expect access to a diverse law school faculty. But some law schools do a better job of providing those kinds of environments than others.

Now, usually when I see a non-U.S. News law school ranking, I make fun of it. That’s because there is usually some kind of huge, methodological problem with them. And then, of course, there is the pathetic joke that is the Cooley Law School Rankings. In general, non-U.S. News rankings fail either by offering no new information than what is already captured by U.S. News, or by looking at completely stupid information that nobody cares about.

With that in mind, I opened The Black Student’s Guide To Law School with a lot of skepticism. I mean, unless they figured out how to capture the all important “racist apologist per oblivious white person” metric, I wasn’t sure there would be a lot of utility here.

But having thumbed through the guide and their ranking of the top 25 national law schools for black people, I have to say that there is a lot of good stuff in here. And I’m not just saying that because Yale Law plummets to #19….

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‘Standing with your arms folded is underrated.’

Hot air balloons, Ice Cube, new socks, Ray Guy, Uzbek food, Kevin Bacon, plus-size models, Pittsburgh… what do the items on this random list have in common? In some nook or cranny of the internet, someone is making the claim that they are “underrated.”

Apparently also underrated? The corporate group at Cahill Gordon, according to the ATL audience. Cahill received the most mentions as having an “underrated” corporate group in our ATL Insider Survey. Biglaw has a fairly stable roster of alpha dogs in each practice category (Weil in bankruptcy, Wachtell in M&A, etc.), but we wondered which firms’ practice groups deserve more recognition. So, among other things, our survey asks attorneys to nominate firms with underrated (and overrated) practices within the respondent’s own practice specialty. Litigators nominate litigation departments, tax lawyers do the same for tax groups, and so on.

Read on and have a look at the top three underrated firms in each practice area:

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Earlier this week, we brought our readers news of the latest Princeton Review law school rankings for Best Career Prospects. Basing a “career prospects” ranking on surveys of current students, students who have yet to embark upon their careers, could be questioned methodologically — but you ate that s**t up like Halloween candy, so let’s give you more.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at the new rankings in categories that current law students actually know something about: the law schools that are the toughest to get into, and the law schools with the most competitive students. While one of these rankings lists is consistent with conventional wisdom, the other might surprise you.

MOAR RANKINGS, after the jump….

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Good news, everyone! Princeton Review — the other, other white meat U.S. News — has released its very own law school rankings. This year, we are treated to the Best 168 Law Schools Rankings. As usual, the rankings are divided into 11 categories filled with mostly nonsensical results. After all, where else will you find Cooley Law on a list for having the “Most Competitive Students”?

But nonetheless, in this kind of a down market, everyone’s been itching to see a rankings list of the law schools that will verily ensure graduates’ employability (except for the purposes of suing over employment statistics, of course). Honestly, why go to law school in the first place if as a result you’re only qualified to stock shelves at the local convenience store?

That’s why everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Princeton Review released its somewhat-ridiculous “Best Career Prospects” rankings list. Because any list that doesn’t include Yale is sure to be worth reading….

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Another (dis)satisfied customer.

* Do we really need another “50 Best Law Schools” ranking list? Debatable. But we know you want to find out if your school made the cut. [Business Insider]

* What’s the hardest part of being a public defender? Is it (a) the low pay, (b) the long hours, or (c) getting punched in the face by an unhappy client? [Huffington Post]

* This lawyer is involved in a mess of defamation accusations because he made the mistake of paying attention to anonymous comments. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Only amateur fibbers simply pretend they have cancer. If you want to be the real deal, you gotta tell all your friends you also don’t have health insurance and get them to raise three grand to pay for your imaginary chemo. [Legal Juice]

* So, I would never fake an injury to get to use a wheelchair, because of the serious karma issues it would probably create in my life (e.g., above blurb). But I will say I went to Disneyland once with a physically disabled friend, and it was freaking amazing. I’ve never waited in so few lines in my life. [Consumerist]

* I think the lesson here is that it’s generally poor parenting to name your child after the sound a bomb makes. [CBS Cleveland via Legal Blog Watch]

The world keeps getting smaller, but the law firms keep getting bigger. The American Lawyer magazine just announced its Global 100, the world’s 100 largest law firms in terms of total revenue, and Biglaw seems bigger than ever.

Despite the challenging economic climate, law firms continue to grow. In three key categories — revenue, profits per partner, and attorney headcount — the top firm for 2012 boasts a bigger number than last year’s #1 firm….

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