U.S. News

Late last month, we posed a question: Can Stanford overtake Harvard and Yale and become the #1 law school? We consulted our Magic 8 Ball, which gave this answer: “Outlook Not So Good.”

And it’s not just the Magic 8 Ball. Professor Bill Henderson, one of the leading academics studying the legal profession, constructed a simulation model of the U.S. News rankings. He used this model to figure out what Stanford Law School would have to do to top the list.

For starters, it would need to get its hands on at least $350 million dollars….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Can Stanford Become the #1 Law School? Outlook Not So Good.”

Back in April, we reported on an admirable organization called Law School Transparency. The goal of LST: “encouraging and facilitating the transparent flow of law school employment information.”

Given what’s typically at stake — three years of your life, and six figures of cash (or student loans) — the decision to attend law school is an important one. There’s a case to be made in favor of law school, and there’s a case to be made against it. (For the case against, see pretty much any post about law school by my colleague, Elie Mystal, or any of the bloggers on this blogroll.)

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, the decision should be made based on accurate and complete information. And that information should include data about employment outcomes for graduates of a given law school. If I get a J.D. from law school X, what kind of job can I expect to obtain?

This is where Law School Transparency (LST) comes in. What is LST doing to advance the ball in reporting employment data from law schools?

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Over the past few days we’ve seen an outpouring of support for the proposition that people should go to law school. It’s clear that there are many students in law school or heading to law school who believe that they’ve made the right decision (and it is the right decision, for some people). Moreover, we’ve learned that a lot of people seem to think that ATL — or, more specifically, me — have some kind of vested interest in crushing dreams and making law students feel bad.

Duly noted. I probably should stick my vuvuzela up my butt and let you guys enjoy the excitement of starting out on a new career.

But as Gandalf once said: “I’m not trying to rob you, I’m trying to help you.”

So fine, don’t take my word for it. Maybe you’ll listen to your friend, your God, the U.S. News & World Report

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From the files of “things that will never freaking happen,” the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) is telling law schools to discontinue divulging LSAT scores to U.S. News for the publication’s annual rankings. SALT should duck before that flying pig smacks it upside its head. The National Law Journal reports:

[SALT] has urged law schools to stop providing U.S. News with their incoming students’ LSAT scores on the theory that the immense pressure to snag incoming students with high scores is making it harder to admit diverse classes. The median LSAT scores of the entering class accounts for 12.5% of each law school’s U.S. News score — a greater weight than the magazine gives to average grade point average or acceptance rate.

Not only is this something that will never happen, it’s also an idea that is beyond dumb. Quite an exacta there from the law teachers…

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This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

We’ve come to the end of the U.S. News Law School Rankings. The Fourth Tier. The schools that are friends to those who will do anything in order to go to law school. Here is an open thread to discuss these schools, collectively or individually, and to compare and contrast.

Are any of these schools worth the price of admission? Well maybe for the Lulz. Check out how even high-achieving students get treated at 4th tier Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School

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It was only a matter of time.

SMU Dedman School of Law is now officially willing to pay law firms to hire its graduates. The school is calling its new program “Test Drive,” which adds a nice layer of hilarity: Toyota wouldn’t pay me to test drive a Camry.

Even the logo for this program screams sadness:

Let’s look at the blast email from SMU career services…

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It’s time for us to discuss the third tier law schools. Every year, U.S. News ranks the top 100 law schools, and then throws everybody else into the third tier morass (which is better than the fourth tier morass, I suppose).

We won’t list them all, but you can click here to check them out.

One could argue that the legal profession would be better if there were just 100 ABA accredited law schools (as opposed to 200). One could argue that we should have very different kinds of law schools: a top 100 that caters to Biglaw, big time clerkships, and elite legal work, and another “tier” of law schools that better prepares graduates for small law and the kind of low cost legal services we need more of.

One cannot credibly argue that the price of these third tier institutions should be similar to the first and second tier schools we’ve previously discussed.

But don’t try to get the administration at these schools to reduce the cost of the education just because the debts put their graduates in a bad financial situation…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: 2011 U.S. News Law School Rankings (The Third Tier)”

We have finally come to the last batch of top-100 law schools according to U.S. News.

These are law schools that should not be called “TTT.” They aren’t in the third tier. Okay? They are in the top-100. That means that U.S. News thinks they are better than at least 100 other law schools incomprehensibly accredited by the ABA. Let’s all remember that as I list these schools:

78. Loyola (Chicago)
78. UNLV (Boyd)
80. Chicago-Kent
80. LSU
80. Rutgers
80. University of Denver (Strum)
80. Oregon
86. Hofstra
86. Indiana University – Indianapolis (IUPUI)
86. Northeastern
86. Seattle
86. Syracuse
86. Arkansas
86. Richmond
93. Chapman
93. Santa Clara
93. Missouri
93. Nebraska
93. West Virginia
98. Catholic University of America
98. Depaul
98. San Francisco
98. University of the Pacific
98. William Mitchell College of Law

Sometimes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all. And you know what, the level of acrimony and lack of civility flying around Above the Law the past two weeks has been really ridiculous. So, after the jump, I will endeavor to say one nice thing about every school in this batch…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: 2011 U.S. News Law School Rankings (78 – 100)”

Welcome to the top … of the second tier. We are at the point where the value proposition of going to law school is questionable. But the “nailing attractive co-eds” possibilities remain high. Check out some of the schools ranked in this batch. If you are going to spend three years and six figures on something, you’re going to need more than illusory job prospects to keep you warm at night:

52. Pepperdine
52. Cardozo
54. Florida State
54. Yale Law School’s Hartford Campus/University of Connecticut (j/k)
56. Case Western Reserve
56. Loyola (Los Angeles)
56. Cincinnati
56. San Diego
60. Georgia State
60. University of Houston
60. Miami
60. Tennessee
64. Baylor
64. Lewis & Clark College
64. Kentucky
67. Brooklyn
67. Kansas
67. New Mexico
67. Pittsburgh
67. Villanova
72. Penn State
72. Seton Hall
72. St. John’s
72. Temple
72. Hawaii
72. Oklahoma

See what I’m saying. I bet young law students are just cutting a swath through the undergrads at Yeshiva University.

Seriously though, FSU, Miami, Rocky Top, Ha-freaking-Waii. Good times! You know, unless you want to get a job…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: 2011 U.S. News Law School Rankings (52 – 72)”

Let’s finish off the top 50 law schools as ranked by U.S. News. As many people know, U.S. News jump from its top 100 straight to the “third tier.” The jump allows many clearly “second tier” schools to claim that they are “first tier schools” even though everybody knows they are not. I’m not even sure that all the top 50 schools should be able to call themselves first tier: but I don’t make the rules, I just watch as prospective law students are fooled by them.

To refresh your memory, here are the next batch of schools:

34. Fordham.
34. Ohio State (Moritz)
34. University of Washington
34. Washington & Lee
38. Arizona State
38. Alabama
38. University of Colorado – Boulder
38. Wake Forest
42. BYU
42. George Mason
42. University of Arizona (Rodgers)
42. UC Hastings
42. Utah
47. Florida (Levin)
48. American University
48. SMU
48. Tulane
48. Maryland

These places charge like first tier law schools. But are they?

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