U.S. News 2013 Law School Rankings

It’s the last day of December, so it’s a good time to look back on the year that was. We’ll do what we’ve done for the past three years (wrap-up posts from 2009, 2010, and 2011 can be found here, here, and here) and identify the ten biggest stories of the past year as decided by you, our readers. With the help of Google Analytics, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten posts for 2012, based on traffic (as represented by pageviews).

By the way, for the third year in a row, the most popular category page on Above the Law was Law Schools. People have now been intensely focused on the declining value proposition of going to law school for as long as it takes to earn a Juris Doctor degree. Isn’t it time that we graduate from the current educational model?

The second and third most-popular categories on ATL in 2012 were Biglaw and Bonuses. Although this year brought us the largest law firm failure ever, nearly all other firms indiscriminately doled out offers to summer associates, and bonus season looked better for the first time in years. While the legal profession is still in transition, things are certainly looking up, and through the highs and the lows, we’ve been there to cover it all.

So what were the ten most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2012? Let’s find out….

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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….

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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 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….

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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 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….

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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 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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'Hahaha, and then I said that I didn't know they were prostitutes.'

* Was the Obamacare case brought prematurely? Did the Supreme Court’s judicial intervention come too soon? Yesterday’s arguments before SCOTUS can be summed up in four simple words: “That’s what she said.” [New York Times]

* Howrey going to get out of this one? The defunct firm’s bankruptcy trustee, Allan Diamond, is trying to decide whether he’ll be bringing adversary claims against the dissolution committee and its members. [Am Law Daily]

* U.S. News is doing what the American Bar Association refuses to do: make law schools its b*tch. Listen up, administrators, because your next “reporting error” could cost you your ranking. [National Law Journal]

* Armed with a treasure trove of new evidence, Facebook has moved to dismiss Paul Ceglia’s lawsuit. What does his lawyer from Milberg have to say? A hacker planted all of the evidence, duh. [Wall Street Journal]

* Apparently Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s got hos in different area codes. He’s been keeping his pimp hand strong — so strong, that he’s been charged with aggravated procurement of prostitutes. [Bloomberg]

* Broke your nose trying to walk through a glass wall at the Apple store and now you’re suing for $1M? That’s an app for that! It’s called common sense, and for a limited time only, it’s being offered free of charge. [Forbes]

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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Presumably, Tebow will continue to wear #15.

Much has been said about the baleful impact of the U.S. News hegemony over the law school rankings racket. Probably the most trivial of these effects has been the establishment — based on USN’s dubious methodology — of a static tier of 14 elite schools. And as “collective numerical names for elite groups” go, “T14” must be among the most inelegant and arbitrary-seeming. (By contrast, the exemplar of the genre must be “Sweet Sixteen / Elite Eight / Final Four.”)

As noted earlier this week, the composition, if not the precise order, of the T14 has been basically constant for more than a decade. All the “action” is at number 15, with UCLA, Texas, and Vanderbilt all claiming at least a piece of that spot since 2009.

So we asked you: which school should rightfully claim — and maintain — the 15th position? More than 1,100 of you responded. Quite a few felt that there simply is no other school worthy of inclusion in the top tier; the 14th position is simply where we have to draw the curtain between First Class and Coach, and that’s that. Many more respondents made a case for one of the three top contenders or a write-in candidate. (The three most common write-ins were, in descending order, USC, George Washington, and Washington University in St. Louis.)

After the jump, we’ll reveal the people’s choice for the 15th and final spot in legal academia’s most exclusive club, as well as arguments for and against each of the contenders….

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