We reported on the leaked U.S. News law school rankings on Tuesday afternoon. That leak was correct, and the 2011 rankings are officially up on the U.S. News website, right now.
That’s bad news for NYU kids. They should try asking Berkeley students how transparent it looks to say that you go to a “top 6″ law school.
There was some movement within the top 14, but no school fell out of the so-called “T14.” This seems like a logical time to remind people why the T14 are referenced in this manner. The top 14 schools have been the top 14 schools for as long as most people can remember. Sure, they’ll change their positions relative to each other from year to year; but none of the schools that are in the T14 have been ranked lower than 14th in quite some time.
So with that out of the way, let’s take a look at this year’s version of the T14….
We anticipated that the new U.S. News Law School Rankings would come out this week. That means we anticipated that the new rankings would be leaked beforehand. It happened last year; apparently U.S. News has more moles than Jack Bauer’s office at CTU.
We reached out directly to U.S. News rankings guru Bob Morse, but have not gotten confirmation yet of the authenticity of the leaked rankings. Again, the same thing happened last year; Morse didn’t confirm the leak until two days after we ran the leak on Above the Law.
But it’s not just bloggers and other internet junkies that think they are getting a sneak peak at the rankings. The faculty at Hofstra Law School is apparently very excited. A tipster reports:
Rumor has it the new US News rankings are leaked…at least enough that my law school has made it official. They’ve sent an email to professors, placed it on a TV screen in the law school, and a few profs. have announced it in class.
Hofstra has gone up to 86, from 100…
Well, if it’s good enough for Hofstra, I guess it’s good enough for ATL readers.
But if you are an NYU student, you better hope that these new rankings are some kind of hoax, or that Dean Van Zandt is wrong about the value of rankings…
The debates about the merits of the U.S. News & World Reports annual law school rankings undoubtedly will escalate with the imminent release of the new rankings. The rankings indeed are far from perfect. (I myself think there should be a different weighting of variables.) And we, as legal educators and practitioners, should continue to share our concerns about the methodology and weightings used by U.S. News.
That said, my unpopular position on law school rankings essentially remains unchanged for the past decade. I strongly believe in them. Rankings offer prospective law students an important source of consumer information with which to evaluate law schools.
Frankly, I believe we need more rankings. I especially would welcome additional rankings that would focus on employer perspectives and employment outcomes. Business Week’s rankings of MBA programs, for example, do a much better job of focusing on employers and allowing them to rank graduates of schools based on specific desired qualities and outcomes. However, just having more independent publications (as occurs in the business school world) rank law schools in different ways would help…
There is a growing awareness on just how much the U.S. News law school rankings affect legal education in this country. Last fall, the Government Accounting Office reported that the rankings were a significant factor in the rising cost of legal education. Many have argued that the rankings create perverse incentives for law school deans. Now, some are arguing that the rankings have a negative effect on law school diversity:
U.S. News rankings guru Bob Morse lays out the argument against the rankings:
[Michael Sauder of the University of Iowa and Wendy Nelson Espeland of Northwestern University] also comment on the impact that the U.S. News law school rankings have had on law school diversity, and they give their views on the annual U.S. News law school diversity index. They say that “because rankings include selectivity statistics (LSAT scores, undergraduate grade point averages, and acceptance rates account for 25% of a school’s overall rank) that reflect racial, gender, economic and geographical differences, and because the ability to perform well under duress on a timed, standardized test is a highly restrictive form of merit, efforts to improve these statistics can threaten various forms of diversity. Notably, U.S. News’s diversity index is not factored into the overall rankings given to law schools but is presented separately, which hugely undercuts its impact.”
Of course, Morse doesn’t think the rankings negatively impact law school diversity.
Back in July 2009, U.S. News & World Report announced that it would pimp out its prestige whores to the law firm audience.
For years U.S. News has dominated the thoughts of prospective law students and the actions of law school administrators. For years the ABA has stood idly by while a magazine has distorted the incentives of legal educators.
But now, now that U.S. News is poised to talk directly to law firm clients — large corporate clients, who might want to tell their boards that the #1 law firm in the country is working on their matters — the ABA suddenly gives a crap.
The ABA passed a resolution to “study” the new U.S. News rankings methodology. The National Law Journal reports:
“[The U.S. News] rankings have a profound impact on the law schools. The deans hate it,” said past New York bar President Vincent Buzard, citing reports that law school leaders juice administrative data to boost their schools’ rankings. “It seemed to us that the ABA should look into the methodology of these rankings and ensure that they are reliable and aren’t based on inadequate data.”
While numerous publications and Web sites offer attorney ratings, sitting New York bar President Michael Getnicks worried that the magazine’s plan to numerically rank firms could prove problematic and misleading.
“What considerations do you take into account when you go out and say somebody is No. 1 and somebody is No. 10?” he said.
Like it or not, the U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of law schools profoundly influences the way those schools are managed, spend resources and are perceived internally and by the outside world.
That is the conclusion reached by two sociology professors who interviewed more than 200 law school administrators, faculty members and prospective law students and combed through other statistical data. Their report, “Fear of Falling: The Effect of U.S. News & World Report Rankings on U.S. Law Schools,” has been released by the Law School Admission Council, which partially funded the research.
“One of the things that surprised us most is what a big impact the rankings have,” said Northwestern University associate professor Wendy Espeland, who co-authored the report with University of Iowa assistant professor Michael Sauder. “They affect so many aspects of legal education.”
Also, water is wet.
But hey, I suppose it’s good to have even more evidence that the arbiters of legal education jump through hoops to please a magazine. Maybe U.S. News should just open its own law school so everybody could flock to get the most prestigious education on the entire 11 dimension multi-verse.
More details after the jump.
Ed. note: Find the latest match-ups here.
GQ.com had a charming feature story this week: The Top 25 Douchiest Colleges. This is one of the few times that Kash’s alma mater – Duke (#2) – managed to beat Lat and Elie’s undergrad institution, Harvard (#4). Duke would have taken the top spot on the list but the GQ editors gave Brown that honor, saying:
Duke’s probably number one. But we’d rather not rank Duke number one at anything.
Since we didn’t have a Back-to-School feature planned, we’ve decided to riff off of this one. We’d like to invite you to help us determine the #1 Douchiest law school.
This will not be based solely on our editorial discretion. We’re taking the top 16 law schools from U.S. News & World Report and putting them into brackets, ATL March Madness style. We’ll let you vote on which is douchiest.
Check out the brackets and vote on the first eight match-ups after the jump.
This year’s U.S. News Law School Rankings saw Loyola Law School (L.A.) drop from #63 to #71. Despite the back-and-forth between Above the Law and Loyola Law dean Victor Gold, the drop had nothing to do with us.
Apparently, the drop didn’t have anything to do with any legitimate factor. Brian Leiter is on the case:
This really takes the cake for carelessness on the part of U.S. News. Loyola Law School in Los Angeles dropped from 63 to 71 in the overall U.S. News ranking this past spring, and for one primary reason: its reputation score among academics dropped from 2.6 to 2.3. But that kind of drop is extraordinary: the academic reputation scores move .1 in either direction all the time, without rhyme or reason, but only once in the last eight years did another school’s peer reputation score drop that much….
So with only a 1 in 1,000 chance of this kind of movement, what else might explain the precipitous drop in academic reputation? Unfortunately, the explanation seems to be clear: U.S. News unilaterally changed the school’s name on the survey: from “Loyola Law School” to “Loyola Marymount University.” Loyola was the only school whose name was changed on last year’s survey.
This is the story that Dean Gold is going with too. More details after the jump.
If you enjoyed making crucial decisions on where to receive your undergraduate and post graduate education based on a list in a magazine, you are going to love what is coming next. The WSJ Law Blog reports that U.S. News & World Report will be getting into the business of ranking law firms.
US News & World Report, in connection with the folks who bring you the Best Lawyers survey, have announced that they’ll soon be, yes, ranking the best law firms….
We checked in with a spokesperson at Best Lawyers, who told us that it’s actually going to be two surveys — the best law firms and the best law firms to work for. The best law firms survey, at least, will be based partly on a survey sent to lawyers, general counsel and others, and partly on hard data. They’re still apparently working on nailing down the criteria they plan to use.
Will these new rankings be useful? Will they provide critical information to law school graduates trying to make the best choice about where to start their career? Who cares! My milk shake brings all the boys to the yard, and they’re like, its better than yours, damn right its better than yours.
More details on how U.S. News intends to make sure lawyers carry a huge chips on their shoulders for all their livelong days, after the jump.
We know how much everybody loves rankings. By now, everybody has had time to digest the new law school pecking order — even George Washington Law School students.
But true prestige whoring begins much earlier than law school. U.S. News has just released (hat tip: Tax Prof Blog) a list of the top 400 colleges and universities in the world.
I’m not sure how useful these rankings are, to anybody, anywhere, ever. But I’m sure they will make some people feel good about themselves — and other people mercilessly attack the schools that are more highly ranked than their alma maters.
Of course, U.S. News just did this eight months ago. We posted about it and everything. How many different ways can this magazine come up with to slobber all over Harvard and Yale?
In any event, this time U.S. News is ranking the top 400 universities, instead of the top 200.
After the jump, take a look at the top 10.
Hey, have you read Above the Law for like one single minute in the past month? If so, you probably know that we’re having this big blogger conference on March 14th at the Yale Club. Yeah, the Yale Club. You’ll be able to recognize me: I’ll be the only big… blogger guy surreptitiously holding a can of crimson spray-paint.
Speaking of coming, you should come. We’ve got CLE and all that. Click here to buy tickets to get CLE credit for listening to bloggers scream about stuff on the internet.
To refresh your memory, details on the panel that I’m moderating — almost entirely sober, mind you — follow.
My panel is called Blogs as Agents of Change, and we’re going to talk about whether all of these spilled pixels are actually making a difference. You know my view… just ask Lawrence Mitchell, but here are the panelists:
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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