Please tell me you're not using that thing to actually take notes.
Here at Above the Law we do market research, just like everybody else. Some numbers just came across my desk that I thought some of you might find interesting.
Who needs the Cooley law school rankings? I have a listing of America’s top law schools based on a metric far more important than the number of books in the library: the number of visits to Above the Law….
It’s Christmas morning here at Above the Law. Thomas M. Cooley Law School has released a new set of law school rankings designed to make Thomas M. Cooley Law School look good. Back in 2009, Cooley incredibly ranked itself the 12th-best law school in the country.
Now the farce reaches new and glorious heights. In this latest edition of Cooley’s own Judging the Law Schools rankings, Cooley has rated itself — wait for it, wait for it — the SECOND BEST law school in all that land. That’s right, #2! Harvard is #1, so according to Cooley, if you can’t get into HLS, you’d be making a wise career decision to go to Cooley instead of, oh, I don’t know — YALE. Click over to the Cooley website if you want to see the full list; I don’t want to befoul ATL’s pages with a breakout of Cooley’s top ten.
This, my friends, is funny. But it’s also serious. Because there are real people studying at Cooley right now, and I don’t think they understand how horrible it makes the school look when the administration publishes things like this….
This Villanova scandal is going to get uglier before it finishes. On Friday, we reported that John Y. Gotanda, the dean of Villanova Law School, sent a letter to students and alumni in which he revealed that the school reported inaccurate admissions information to the American Bar Association.
The letter was light on specifics. According to comments made by a Villanova spokesperson to the ABA Journal, the problem involved Villanova providing the ABA with incorrect LSAT and GPA numbers.
The Villanova administration has not yet disclosed exactly what data was inaccurate, who was responsible, and what the school is doing to make sure that this kind of thing won’t happen again. That could be because the school is still investigating the full scope of the problem.
But Villanova students and faculty members are talking. Here’s what we’ve heard so far…
U.S. News & World Report issues rankings of law schools. The most prestigious law firms recruit from only the top-ranked schools. I am not endorsing this; it is just a fact of life. If you are good enough to get admitted to one of the schools ranked in the Top 50, and you are in the top 15-25 percent of your class, you stand a chance of getting one of those $160,000-a-year jobs with a big law firm. If you don’t fall into these categories, the chances are that you won’t get one of these jobs.
— Bill Hebert, president of the State Bar of California, in an essay entitled “What is the value of a law degree?”
Last week we told you that The Conglomerate was crowdsourcing a set of law school rankings. It called upon participants to make head-to-head comparisons between different law schools, then crunched the numbers to produce overall rankings.
We covered the early returns, in which Stanford was leading, with Yale in second place. Then came the University of Michigan, followed by Harvard.
But those were just preliminary tallies. Now the final results are in, and you can check them out here. Professor Gordon Smith of The Conglomerate reports that 6,100 people cast over 300,000 votes.
Every year, Fortune produces a list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, and every year a handful of law firms make the list. And every year I wonder why some law firms made the list, while others did not, and whether Fortune actually has any idea about what they’re talking about.
We cover this list every year (click here for our posts in 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007). Last year, six firms made the list. But this year only four law firms are among the top 100 companies.
Again, I can’t figure out what the two firms that dropped did wrong. But let’s congratulate the four firms that did stay on the list.
Everybody loves law school rankings, but these are special. These rankings are not based on a formula developed in secret by statisticians or prestige gurus. These rankings are put together by you. By us. By the mass of humanity that makes up the general mob. These rankings are crowdsourced.
The Conglomerate is putting together rankings based on what we think. But they’re not going with a straight popular vote. Instead, they’ve got a brilliant set up where they ask you to make a series of comparisons. Which law school do you think is better: SMU or Maryland? The rankings are based on answers to almost 200 questions like that.
I only answered 20 questions, but I’ll do the rest as soon as I get a free moment. It’s fun. Widener or Arkansas? Connecticut or Hastings? Screw what U.S. News thinks, what do you think?
Really, it’s a good news/bad news kind of thing. The good news: the ABA committee reviewing the accreditation standards for law schools is starting to remember it has some power over how law schools operate. The bad news: the committee is contemplating a change that will only result in making it easier for schools to recruit any and all with the ability to pay (or go into debt), while at the same time gaming the U.S. News law school rankings.
The latest brain nugget to come from the ABA is a proposal to remove the LSAT requirement for admission into law school. Currently, the committee requires prospective law students to take a “valid and reliable” test. But a number of schools already have a waiver so they can admit their own undergraduates without taking a rankings hit due to low LSAT scores. The new ABA proposal would simply drop the requirement altogether.
I don’t think the LSAT is indicative of whole lot more than one’s ability to study for the LSAT. Being able to take standardized tests is an important skill — at least if you ever want to pass your state bar exam — but it’s not the only skill. From an educational standpoint, I don’t think it really matters if students have to take the LSAT or not.
But given the proliferation of law schools more concerned about generating tuition dollars than preparing the next generation of lawyers, the LSAT exists as one of the few barriers to entry to a profession that is already overrun with applicants. Dropping the requirement is a move in the wrong direction that will only make it easier for diploma mills to churn out the next generation of unemployed, wage-depressing attorneys….
The new U.S. News law school rankings are due out in March. And according to rankings guru Bob Morse, the publication is considering giving numerical rankings to the third-tier law schools.
This would be a big change. For those unfamiliar with the law school rankings (and if you are unfamiliar with the rankings, you must have ended up here looking for information on a Steven Seagal movie), let’s review. U.S. News currently ranks law schools from #1 to #100. After the first 100, U.S. News drops numerical rankings and groups the remaining schools into a “third tier” and a “fourth tier.” These schools are listed in alphabetical order within each tier.
Why? Well, for one thing, it becomes kind of silly to try to make a meaningful distinction between the 120th law school and the 121st. Doing it this way also benefits lower-ranked second-tier law schools. It arguably makes DePaul Law (ranked #98) look significantly better than all of the law schools in the third tier.
But do these distinctions make sense? The U.S. News people are examining that issue…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
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