Rankings

In the nascent spirit of positivity around here, let’s take a look at where, according to our research, Biglaw’s happiest troopers can be found.

To be sure, lawyers are a notoriously depressive lot. Various studies — and presumably Will Meyerhofer — suggest that the characteristics that make a good lawyer actually correlate with clinical depression. Combine these alleged traits with crushing debt, an oversaturated job market, and an uncertain future, and the industry seems mired in malaise.

But what about those fortunate ones who’ve managed to snag a coveted Biglaw gig? Why, not only are they employed, but they have a realistic chance to pay off their loans. Are they any more upbeat than the industry’s rank-and-file? Our own survey data strongly suggests the answer is definitely maybe.

Respondents to our ongoing ATL School & Firm Insider Survey give their “firm morale” a mean rating of 6.81 out of 10. (By the way, if you haven’t yet, please take the survey here.) For context, lawyers rate morale a bit higher than “hours” (6.55) and bit lower than “training” (6.88). So, generally speaking, firm morale is not conspicuously singled out by lawyers as a negative.

But which are the happiest firms? And the unhappiest? Let’s have a look at the Biglaw shops getting top marks for esprit de corps….

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Of course HRH - 'Her Royal Hillaryness' - made the list.

Earlier this week, Time magazine released its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, the Time 100. For lawyers, there’s good news and there’s bad news.

The good news: lawyers represent over 10 percent of the Time 100. The bad news: many of the law-degree-holding honorees were not recognized for their work as lawyers.

So which legal eagles soared into the Time 100 this year?

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A few years ago, at a conference hosted by Penn APALSA, I had the pleasure of meeting Dean Jim Chen of the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. He gave a luncheon keynote address that was deeply thoughtful and inspiring. Attendees of the conference were quite impressed.

Students and staff at U of L have also praised Dean Chen. And he does have achievements to crow about (besides, of course, his glittering résumé and impressive record of scholarship). In the most recent U.S. News law school rankings, the Brandeis School of Law climbed 11 spots (from 100 to 89).

When law schools fall in the rankings, their deans often follow. But U of L fared well in the latest rankings. So why is Dean Chen departing?

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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 traditionally made up what used to be the alphabetically listed third tier. Last year, however, the law schools that once constituted the “third tier” received the gift that keeps on giving: numerical rankings.

Today, we’ll be talking about the law schools that used to comprise the fourth tier, but now have a new name. These days, this segment of the U.S. News list is referred to as the “second tier,” and although they are all ranked, those rankings are not published (presumably because no one wants to brag about going to the worst law school in the nation).

Let’s use this post to discuss these schools, collectively or individually, and to compare and contrast….

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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.

Just one year 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.

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

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: 2013 U.S. News Law School Rankings (101 – 145)”

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. It’s not an elitist thing, we promise. It’s just easier this way.

That being said, today we’ll take a look at the schools ranked #76 through #99. What does it take to be recognized as a Top 100 law school by U.S. News these days?

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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 third of the traditional first tier. Unfortunately, as we mentioned in our last open thread, some law schools got knocked off of their prestigious pedestals and descended downwards into previously uncharted territory: the traditional second tier.

Today, we’ll take a look at those law schools, as well as their new rankings rivals — the schools that have traditionally been known to dwell in this part of the U.S. News list. Welcome to the top… of the second tier….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: 2013 U.S. News Law School Rankings (51 – 69)”

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 filled out the middle of the traditional first tier. There were some strong moves worth noting in that group (like Arizona State and the University of Washington). Also worth noting are the schools that disappeared from that list, and today, we’ll finally get to talk about them.

This time around, we’ll be taking a look at the law schools at the bottom of the first tier — the schools that some would argue belong in the second tier (no, not the dreaded RNP tier), but charge like they’re the cream of the crop….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: 2013 U.S. News Law School Rankings (34 – 49)”

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 ascended to the tippy-top of the rankings — the T14. What with the Harvard v. Stanford and Georgetown v. Cornell switch-ups, there was certainly a lot to talk about.

This time around, we’ll be taking a look at some additional top-tier law schools that sit just below the coveted T14 rankings. And like the rousing game of musical chairs we saw play out among our nation’s elite law schools, there were some moves worth noting in this segment of the rankings, as well….

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When we talk about the power of the U.S. News law school rankings, we often talk about how prospective law students choose their schools based on the rankings and little other information.

U.S. News also flexes its muscles by getting law school deans fired. Oh, university presidents never like to admit that they push out deans based on the rankings. But if your law school drops like a stone in the law rankings, your law school dean is going to be looking for work.

Today, we could be staring at our first casualty of this year’s U.S. News rankings. We’ve previously written about the faculty member who tried to cheer up his dean after his law school plummeted again in the rankings. Well, now the dean is on his way out of the door….

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