Law School Discussion

Ranking by US News Judge/Lawyer Assessment

Re: Ranking by US News Judge/Lawyer Assessment
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2005, 10:14:23 PM »
With the new NYTimes article further exposing the ridiculous games law schools are now taking to manipulate and move up in the rankings, to me the reputation scores are a better indicator of the quality and future job opportunities from your law school.  How can you assess LSAT/GPA when law schools are playing tricks to hide the true composition of their student body. Furthermore, who cares what other law schools think of your law school.  The Deans are probably undervaluing certain law schools so they can jump ahead of them in the rankings.  Articles like these are just the beginning to expose the flawed ranking methodology and the schams and unethical practices law schools preach against but partake themselves in.  If anything from the USNR should be of value it should be the judge/lawyer rankings because perception is everything, and what they believe is more likely to relate to better job prospects then any other measure in the rankings.

Re: Ranking by US News Judge/Lawyer Assessment
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2005, 02:14:53 AM »
With the new NYTimes article further exposing the ridiculous games law schools are now taking to manipulate and move up in the rankings, to me the reputation scores are a better indicator of the quality and future job opportunities from your law school.  How can you assess LSAT/GPA when law schools are playing tricks to hide the true composition of their student body. Furthermore, who cares what other law schools think of your law school.  The Deans are probably undervaluing certain law schools so they can jump ahead of them in the rankings.  Articles like these are just the beginning to expose the flawed ranking methodology and the schams and unethical practices law schools preach against but partake themselves in.  If anything from the USNR should be of value it should be the judge/lawyer rankings because perception is everything, and what they believe is more likely to relate to better job prospects then any other measure in the rankings.


Agreed.  If nothing else, the 25%/15% weighting of the Peer/practionier ratings should be reversed, to give greater weight to the practitioner ratings.  This along would create some interesting shifts in the rankings.

Re: Ranking by US News Judge/Lawyer Assessment
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2005, 08:07:29 AM »
How is you avg. joe lawyer who is working 50 hours a week, doing no hiring, and worried about the wife and kids, who really only knows one law school the one he went to...going to give you a better ranking that law school deans who at least have knowledge and objective factors like LSAT and GPA.  LSAT and GPA can be manipulated a tiny bit, ignorance can totally affect the rankings.  Look at LSAT and GPA and then reputation scores and see which one varies more year to year when the law school is the exact same.  I am on this board a lot and I am totally incompetent to rank law schools, why would a lawyer or judge who has nothing with law school know anything much less even what I know about different law schools around the country.  And why would lawyers and judges be less biased?  A judge from X school might give 4.0 because its his school, they might also have stronger regional biases.  I think Peer ratings are more important that lawyer rankings.  Now if the lawyer rankings were in accurate representation of the school's reputation within the law field it would be different, but they are rather random.  To me, LSAT and GPA are the most important indicator of academic prestige, better than peer assesment, while the job placement stats, which are not included in the rankings along with location are best indicators of job opp's.

Re: Ranking by US News Laywers/Judges Peer Assessment
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2005, 09:39:24 AM »

Some of the schools that dropped alot: Chicago-Kent, Florida State, Tennessee, Cardozo, Maryland, Kentucky, Arizona State, San Diego, Houston, Alabama, Boston U.


Yes, I have to say I considered this category quite a bit when making my decision between Chicago area schools. I kept noticing that what actual attorneys were saying about my T2 options mirrored this specific part of the ranking more than the overall US News ranking. Peer assessment/perception should prove to be the most important factor in hiring after graduation anyway, and I gave this a lot of weight in choosing to attend Loyola over Kent. (This might seem like a trivial example b/c these schools are so close in the rankings anyway, and are both pretty strong regional T2s. But I do recommend checking out that score and taking it pretty seriously, also try to ask as many practicing attorneys as possible what their thoughts are. I didn't know many/any, but there were a lot of really friendly attorneys at my company who were willing to meet with me for informational interviews; I simply cold-called a few and the experience was great.)

Re: Ranking by US News Judge/Lawyer Assessment
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2005, 09:12:05 PM »
How is you avg. joe lawyer who is working 50 hours a week, doing no hiring, and worried about the wife and kids, who really only knows one law school the one he went to...going to give you a better ranking that law school deans who at least have knowledge and objective factors like LSAT and GPA.  LSAT and GPA can be manipulated a tiny bit, ignorance can totally affect the rankings.  Look at LSAT and GPA and then reputation scores and see which one varies more year to year when the law school is the exact same.  I am on this board a lot and I am totally incompetent to rank law schools, why would a lawyer or judge who has nothing with law school know anything much less even what I know about different law schools around the country.  And why would lawyers and judges be less biased?  A judge from X school might give 4.0 because its his school, they might also have stronger regional biases.  I think Peer ratings are more important that lawyer rankings.  Now if the lawyer rankings were in accurate representation of the school's reputation within the law field it would be different, but they are rather random.  To me, LSAT and GPA are the most important indicator of academic prestige, better than peer assesment, while the job placement stats, which are not included in the rankings along with location are best indicators of job opp's.

I agree with you. The judge/lawyer rankings also have a very poor response rate (around 1/3), and are skewed towards the northeast according to Leiter. Due to this, I do not know how helpful the judge/lawyer ranking is if you are not interested in working in a large firm in NYC.

S.J.

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Re: Ranking by US News Judge/Lawyer Assessment
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2005, 07:42:02 AM »
How is you avg. joe lawyer who is working 50 hours a week, doing no hiring, and worried about the wife and kids, who really only knows one law school the one he went to...going to give you a better ranking that law school deans who at least have knowledge and objective factors like LSAT and GPA.  LSAT and GPA can be manipulated a tiny bit, ignorance can totally affect the rankings.  Look at LSAT and GPA and then reputation scores and see which one varies more year to year when the law school is the exact same.  I am on this board a lot and I am totally incompetent to rank law schools, why would a lawyer or judge who has nothing with law school know anything much less even what I know about different law schools around the country.  And why would lawyers and judges be less biased?  A judge from X school might give 4.0 because its his school, they might also have stronger regional biases.  I think Peer ratings are more important that lawyer rankings.  Now if the lawyer rankings were in accurate representation of the school's reputation within the law field it would be different, but they are rather random.  To me, LSAT and GPA are the most important indicator of academic prestige, better than peer assesment, while the job placement stats, which are not included in the rankings along with location are best indicators of job opp's.


First off, the lawyers who participate in the rankings aren't usually "avg. Joe" lawyers.  USNews tends to survey biglaw firms more than small practitioners.  So the ratings tend to reflect big firm perceptions generally.

As far as the bias issue goes, this is pretty much irrelevant.  It doesn't really matter WHY lawyers prefer certain schools, it only matters that they do.  So if Harvard grads have an unreasonable bias in favor of Harvard, it doesn't change the fact it's a better place to go if you want jobs with those lawyers. 

The truth is that lawyer/judge rankings are in fact fairly accurate representations of the school's reputation within the law field.  They tend to be very consistent, and don't appear to be random at all.  Rather, they represent the yearly opinions of tens of thousands of lawyers and judges, are the best such surveys available, and correlate pretty well with the various national placement surveys.

If you really think that LSAT/GPA is a better indicator of academic prestige, then BYU would be comparable to Texas in this regard.  However, this is clearly not true when you look at academic placement and clerkship surveys. In this regard, peer ratings are probably the best measure, though they are inferior to lawyer/judge ratings for the very specific reason that academics don't do much hiring.

The truth is that the student numbers at Georgetown aren't that different from the student numbers at Stanford.  However, Stanford has a much better reputation in the legal field, and places significantly better.  (The same situations exists with many other schools down the line.)  There are other factors that affect student body quality, and there are other reasons that firms favor certain schools.  Therefore, when looking at schools, it will generally make more sense to focus on actual reputation and placement, and the best way to do this is to ask attorneys and judges.  (Keep in mind that many attorneys are actively invoved with hiring, and therefore have a strong incentive to know a great deal about the true quality of many schools.)  It would probably be better if such surveys were limited to hiring partners, but until then, lawyer/judge rating would appear to be the best single measure of reputation in the profession.

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Re: Ranking by US News Judge/Lawyer Assessment
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2005, 07:50:56 AM »
How is you avg. joe lawyer who is working 50 hours a week, doing no hiring, and worried about the wife and kids, who really only knows one law school the one he went to...going to give you a better ranking that law school deans who at least have knowledge and objective factors like LSAT and GPA.  LSAT and GPA can be manipulated a tiny bit, ignorance can totally affect the rankings.  Look at LSAT and GPA and then reputation scores and see which one varies more year to year when the law school is the exact same.  I am on this board a lot and I am totally incompetent to rank law schools, why would a lawyer or judge who has nothing with law school know anything much less even what I know about different law schools around the country.  And why would lawyers and judges be less biased?  A judge from X school might give 4.0 because its his school, they might also have stronger regional biases.  I think Peer ratings are more important that lawyer rankings.  Now if the lawyer rankings were in accurate representation of the school's reputation within the law field it would be different, but they are rather random.  To me, LSAT and GPA are the most important indicator of academic prestige, better than peer assesment, while the job placement stats, which are not included in the rankings along with location are best indicators of job opp's.

I agree with you. The judge/lawyer rankings also have a very poor response rate (around 1/3), and are skewed towards the northeast according to Leiter. Due to this, I do not know how helpful the judge/lawyer ranking is if you are not interested in working in a large firm in NYC.


The response rate, however, is still better than any other survey of attorneys, and the ratings still represent the opinions of thousands of lawyers, are fairly consistent, and generally correlate with national placement surveys (more so than the overall rankings).  Therefore, they appear to be fairly accurate.

Finally, the surveys have more responses from the northeast only because there are more large firms in the northeast.  Overall, they are fairly proportional on a national basis.  They may in fact be skewed towards large-firm work, but that's what most students seems to want.

I do think that the national ratings may under-predict a given school's local or regional reputation, but this is to be expected, and students should assume that most given schools will have a stronger reputation in its specific area, and a more modest one in other areas.

Re: Ranking by US News Judge/Lawyer Assessment
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2005, 08:13:32 AM »
The response rate, however, is still better than any other survey of attorneys, and the ratings still represent the opinions of thousands of lawyers, are fairly consistent, and generally correlate with national placement surveys (more so than the overall rankings).  Therefore, they appear to be fairly accurate.

Finally, the surveys have more responses from the northeast only because there are more large firms in the northeast.  Overall, they are fairly proportional on a national basis.  They may in fact be skewed towards large-firm work, but that's what most students seems to want.

...

Can you provide a link with data showing that the survey's distribution (and distribution of responses) is fairly proportional on a national basis? I was trusting Leiter in his assesment that they are skewed, but he could be wrong. However, poking around the USNWR site for a couple minutes I was only able to learn that the response rate was 27%. They didn't provide any more data about the survey.

Thanks.

Re: Ranking by US News Judge/Lawyer Assessment
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2005, 08:21:36 AM »
Ouch. . . For the most part, this explains getting into some of my reach schools by number. . . my mediocre numbers fit in just fine with their mediocre lawyer/judge rankings. Oh well. I'm still happy with my decision. Maybe Chiashu should take that into account!  ;)

Re: Ranking by US News Judge/Lawyer Assessment
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2005, 09:09:09 AM »
How is you avg. joe lawyer who is working 50 hours a week, doing no hiring, and worried about the wife and kids, who really only knows one law school the one he went to...going to give you a better ranking that law school deans who at least have knowledge and objective factors like LSAT and GPA.  LSAT and GPA can be manipulated a tiny bit, ignorance can totally affect the rankings.  Look at LSAT and GPA and then reputation scores and see which one varies more year to year when the law school is the exact same.  I am on this board a lot and I am totally incompetent to rank law schools, why would a lawyer or judge who has nothing with law school know anything much less even what I know about different law schools around the country.  And why would lawyers and judges be less biased?  A judge from X school might give 4.0 because its his school, they might also have stronger regional biases.  I think Peer ratings are more important that lawyer rankings.  Now if the lawyer rankings were in accurate representation of the school's reputation within the law field it would be different, but they are rather random.  To me, LSAT and GPA are the most important indicator of academic prestige, better than peer assesment, while the job placement stats, which are not included in the rankings along with location are best indicators of job opp's.


First off, the lawyers who participate in the rankings aren't usually "avg. Joe" lawyers.  USNews tends to survey biglaw firms more than small practitioners.  So the ratings tend to reflect big firm perceptions generally.

As far as the bias issue goes, this is pretty much irrelevant.  It doesn't really matter WHY lawyers prefer certain schools, it only matters that they do.  So if Harvard grads have an unreasonable bias in favor of Harvard, it doesn't change the fact it's a better place to go if you want jobs with those lawyers. 

The truth is that lawyer/judge rankings are in fact fairly accurate representations of the school's reputation within the law field.  They tend to be very consistent, and don't appear to be random at all.  Rather, they represent the yearly opinions of tens of thousands of lawyers and judges, are the best such surveys available, and correlate pretty well with the various national placement surveys.

If you really think that LSAT/GPA is a better indicator of academic prestige, then BYU would be comparable to Texas in this regard.  However, this is clearly not true when you look at academic placement and clerkship surveys. In this regard, peer ratings are probably the best measure, though they are inferior to lawyer/judge ratings for the very specific reason that academics don't do much hiring.

The truth is that the student numbers at Georgetown aren't that different from the student numbers at Stanford.  However, Stanford has a much better reputation in the legal field, and places significantly better.  (The same situations exists with many other schools down the line.)  There are other factors that affect student body quality, and there are other reasons that firms favor certain schools.  Therefore, when looking at schools, it will generally make more sense to focus on actual reputation and placement, and the best way to do this is to ask attorneys and judges.  (Keep in mind that many attorneys are actively invoved with hiring, and therefore have a strong incentive to know a great deal about the true quality of many schools.)  It would probably be better if such surveys were limited to hiring partners, but until then, lawyer/judge rating would appear to be the best single measure of reputation in the profession.

I was about to reply to the previous poster, but I couldn't agree more with your posts.  Thanks for saving me the time as you hit on almost all the points I was going to make. :) 

Also, in regards to the response rate although it is lower then might be expected the sample size response is large enough. A better response rate will bring more accurate results. However, I would expect only minor deviations which would make a difference in the assessment scores unlikely.