Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses => Topic started by: BonJoviLover46 on May 15, 2008, 06:46:38 PM

Title: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: BonJoviLover46 on May 15, 2008, 06:46:38 PM
reasons:

1. aging faculty, including the recent loss of Sunstein.  this is what happened to Michigan before its steady decline from HYS level to the decent but less prestigious MVP.  in the 1950s and 1960s, its faculty was arguably the best in the country.  look at the old issues of the Michigan Law Review for more information.

2. hard sell on the location.  this is what happened to Michigan, too.  Columbia and NYU soundly defeat Chicago in terms of location, despite the fact that NYC isn't that great.  (IMO)  NYU wins the cross-admit battle like cake.

3. US News trouble.  the methodology isn't helping Chicago.  it doesn't seem to do well with expenditures per student, and, despite its high reputation scores, NYU, Columbia, Penn, Boalt, and even NU are all very close to it in the other (hidden) categories.  it might even fall out of the T14.

is the US News bull?  yes.  I seriously loathe the magazine; i think it lets future lawyers off-the-hook in terms of due diligence and turns what should be a difficult career decision into a matter of 41 versus 62.  but . . . perception is everything, and, until we get a better ranking system or a serious US News rival, then the legal world will continue to totally influence the legal market.

These days, it seems like it's more HYSCN than HYSCC. 

any thoughts?  it's sad to see the school fall, especially since I'm a big fan.
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: dischord on May 15, 2008, 08:24:18 PM
Hi, Wally  :P
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: sstar on May 15, 2008, 08:55:38 PM
reasons:

1. aging faculty, including the recent loss of Sunstein.  this is what happened to Michigan before its steady decline from HYS level to the decent but less prestigious MVP.  in the 1950s and 1960s, its faculty was arguably the best in the country.  look at the old issues of the Michigan Law Review for more information.

2. hard sell on the location.  this is what happened to Michigan, too.  Columbia and NYU soundly defeat Chicago in terms of location, despite the fact that NYC isn't that great.  (IMO)  NYU wins the cross-admit battle like cake.

3. US News trouble.  the methodology isn't helping Chicago.  it doesn't seem to do well with expenditures per student, and, despite its high reputation scores, NYU, Columbia, Penn, Boalt, and even NU are all very close to it in the other (hidden) categories.  it might even fall out of the T14.

is the US News bull?  yes.  I seriously loathe the magazine; i think it lets future lawyers off-the-hook in terms of due diligence and turns what should be a difficult career decision into a matter of 41 versus 62.  but . . . perception is everything, and, until we get a better ranking system or a serious US News rival, then the legal world will continue to totally influence the legal market.

These days, it seems like it's more HYSCN than HYSCC. 

any thoughts?  it's sad to see the school fall, especially since I'm a big fan.

A+
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: SCK2008 on May 15, 2008, 09:00:44 PM
Wally World is closed for repairs.


(http://www.eq2daily.com/images/Wally.jpg)
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: Forsythe on May 15, 2008, 11:55:53 PM
Fairly Accurate, but it is not hopeless. 

 All U Chicago needs to do is find half the qualified applicants of NYU.  Its small size is a huge advantage as far as USNWR goes.  In fact size hurts H + Gtown in the Rankings and helps Penn, NU, and Chicago.  (And even with this advantage it is only #7 yikes!)

U Chicago does have a Market niche for those that either: dislike NYC (I met a few)  or lust after clerkships or academia.  That said I think a politically Conservative student would no longer choose U of C if that person got into something better ranked w/ the possible exception of NYU/Berk which are known to be liberal.  The Dean at the ASW pushed U of C's traditional 'life of the mind' cachet.  The problem with this approache is that it is a two edged sword especially given the undergrad's rep as the place 'fun comes to die.'  Chicago does get a a lot of love on the message boards.

The rise of Northwestern has also hurt it.  Although they are very different schools, both are LSAT heavy and I believe that the median LSAT is only one point different.  The same students visit both schools on the same weekend, and it is now a very credible choice to take NU with money over U of C if you like the Chicago area.  This was not a wise decision 10 years ago.  The NU admins did everything in their power to woo me.  U of C would not allow me even to woo them, despite multiple attempts on my part and having the numbers.

If you look at the GPA/LSAT of the accepting students on Law school numbers .com you are in for a shock. U of C 13 Attending (3.64/171) and Penn 26 Attending (3.66/171).  In other words based on this small dataset, it looks like Penn successfully gamed USNWR to move up at Chicago's expense.  Chicago's numbers are no longer in the Columbia 40 Attending (3.69/173.4/)range.  Despite complaints against LSN, I have found them very credible.
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: BonJoviLover46 on May 16, 2008, 04:59:09 AM
Columbia has 370 people.  I would say that the Penn comparison is more relevant.  For better or worse, they're much closer to Penn now in terms of prestige.

I'm one of those dislikes NYC and lusts after academia people, so you nailed me.

Why would a conversative choose Columbia over Chicago?  I think the opportunities for a libertarian, for instance, are probably more solid at the latter.

Can you tell me a little more about the admins, Frosythe?
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: dischord on May 16, 2008, 07:26:02 AM
Hi, Wally  :P

oh i get it, you'll talk to wally alts but not me?  :P

I don't think that's really talking . . . I was dedubbing, though. 
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: Forsythe on May 16, 2008, 11:02:27 AM

To answer BonJovi Lover, I am a conservative, and I did choose Columbia over U of C.  Although the star profs (some of who looked very not young in person) are much more conservative, the student body on the other hand struck me as a fairly studious and pre-professional lot, not a hot bed of conservatism despite the Mormon contingent at U of C and Scalia recruiting his clerks there.  The student body they most resemble actually is that of Columbia whose students are a bit less studious (due to how the grading is handled at the two schools) and a bit more pre-professional (NYC firms are always there).  However, since the student body is larger at Columbia there is more of an opportunity for successful niches.  Being a conservative at Columbia is exactly that.  Even if you do not love NYC, Morningside Heights (think of the Seinfeld Neighborhood which is just to the immediate south) is quite livable even if the apartments are a little small. 

In my case it was a particularly easy decision since as of this post I AM STILL PENDING AT UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO.  That is right, May 16th, pending and not a waitlist or an acceptance and I am not the only one.   This is after visiting the University 3 times and 2 law forums/fair *it was my top pick before I saw Columbia/Chicago up close*.  I believe U of C has a very high opinion of itself, although I met some great students there and my favorite profs are there.  However, this is the only institution that I was snubbed on multiple occasions by both the students and unbelievably by two people on the Admission staff (but two others were good).  In contrast when I showed up on a July day at NU the dean of the law school and the head of admissions took time and answered my questions.  Columbia while not quite as extreme as NU was very open as well.  I do not even want to tell you how frustrating my first visit to U of Chicago  was.  That said (if I needed to clerk) it would still be easier from Chicago, but for me clerkship is merely an option.

As for not gaming the USNWR, it is a stupid decision.  Penn arguably the worst of the top 10 law schools, has managed to game and market themselves from 10 to 6-7 and perception becomes reality.  How powerful is UNSWR rankings?  When Penn jumped from 10 to 7 one year it has been reported that they got nearly a hundred more acceptances than they planned on.  UNSWR attracts good students, which are the life blood of any law school. 
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: czarevich on May 16, 2008, 11:16:41 AM
Since Obama began lecturing at the school, U of C's quality has surely plummeted. 
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: SCK2008 on May 16, 2008, 11:18:31 AM
Since Obama began lecturing at the school, U of C's quality has surely plummeted. 

He seems like a pretty intelligent guy, even if one doesn't agree with his politics...

Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: czarevich on May 16, 2008, 11:19:33 AM
Since Obama began lecturing at the school, U of C's quality has surely plummeted. 

He seems like a pretty intelligent guy, even if one doesn't agree with his politics...



I'm just being facetious  ;D
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: SCK2008 on May 16, 2008, 11:20:46 AM
Yes I know.  Bush had a pretty solid lecture on sovereignty though.  Now there is an intelligent man.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi49tvs8jp8&feature=related
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: Forsythe on May 16, 2008, 01:03:13 PM

Thanks for the sympathy; however I was fairly fortunate in that things did work out for me rather well this cycle, although differently than I originally planned.

U Chicago is (wisely in my opinion) an LSAT heavy school, and as long as top LSAT scores are a zero sum game Chicago needs to change its strategy. I think Harvard, a single school, alone takes ˝ the 174+ LSATs in the entire country.  After YCNS take their share, there simply are not a lot of 172+ LSATs left (who are not hard splitters), yet Chicago has to find about a 100 of them (50  of them 174+) that want to go to Chicago in order not to slip.  This will be incredibly hard if they are competing as just another top 10 school.  This is their situation they will be in if they continue to be tied at #7 in USNWR.  (Which I am sure we all agree is an unfair ranking)
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: BonJoviLover46 on May 16, 2008, 02:01:40 PM
Are T10 students really that silly?  Penn attracted 100 more students because they jumped a few spots?  Were these the 100 who simply opened US News before choosing?

I can see that happening between 70-50, but I would expect T10 admits to be the compulsive types who had researched.  Wouldn't they know that most employers still consider Penn to be an inferior T10 school?  (see: clerking, academic placement.)
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: SCK2008 on May 16, 2008, 02:17:43 PM
"EVERYONE STOP BEING SO NEUROTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE. CALM, CALM."


Credited.
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: SCK2008 on May 16, 2008, 02:28:51 PM
"EVERYONE STOP BEING SO NEUROTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE. CALM, CALM."


Credited.

apologies for my poor (well, lacking) citation.  these wise words are fully credited to the poster known most commonly as "Wallace Stevens."

Your signature gave it away so no need to apologize; I apologize for not acknowledging Wally either.  Street Legal had some interesting comments on the topic as well...
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: Matthies on May 16, 2008, 03:30:19 PM
You guys need to keep everything in perspective!

The odds are good that you will all have pointless jobs, slaving away long hours at a huge firm where most people will never even learn your name, doing mundane research, reporting to some dickhead who treats you like *&^%, making a lot of money yet never seeming to get ahead of your mountains of debt working 14 hour days all so you can have a stroke at 43.

You’re the lucky ones - keep those smiles on your faces!
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: Peter A on May 16, 2008, 03:32:02 PM
I e-mailed Leiter this thread (he has answered my questions before), and here's what he wrote back:

I was surprised to see a reference to an "aging faculty"; the opposite is the case, which may be part of the problem as to 'perception.'  There are very few full-time faculty over 65 (Landes, maybe Helmholz, maybe Epstein), while the cohort, for example, of law & economics faculty in their 30s and 40s is pretty clearly now the best in the country--including now the latest addition, Omri Ben-Shahar, who directs the L&E program at Michigan.  This is a cohort that includes faculty who have turned down offers from Harvard and Yale, among other places--but, for understandable reasons (they are younger, some of their work is quite technical), they don't have as high a profile as someone like Sunstein (but hardly anyone has *that* high a profile).  (Sunstein, by the way, is keeping not only his office at the Law School, but his apartment in Hyde Park, so he will be around "a lot," which may understate it.  The University of Chicago has an absolute rule barring any U of C faculty member from having two tenured appointments, which is the only reason he is going to be an on-going visiting prof at U of C.  His changing from full-time to part-time is a real loss, to be sure, as I noted on my law school blog--among other things, it drops the per capita scholarly impact of the Chicago faculty to 4th, still well ahead of Columbia and NYU.)

Back to faculty age:  all the new hires, including the laterals, are in their 30s and 40s, and by my rough estimate, nearly 2/3rds of the full-time faculty this fall will be under 50, which is an unusually high percentage.  One thing Chicago has not, and will not, do is hire retired, or almost retired, faculty from peer or better law schools, as, for example, NYU has (rather surprisingly) done on several occasions in the last couple of years.

U of C's location is not a reason people come to U of C, unless it's to be in Chicago more generally, that's fair enough.  As a factual matter, though, U of C usually wins the "cross-admit battle" with NYU, for the obvious reasons:  it's smaller, more intellectual, and has much better clerkship and academic placement, and the firms hire more deeply into the class.  (NYU, by taking such a large number of transfers, is also hurting its reputation with the firms.)

The one factor you identify that is clearly contributing to a perception of "decline" is undoubtedly US News.  This year--being #7 instead of #6--was a fluke, resulting from Berkeley's fictional job placement stats.  But even putting that aside, being #6 since 1999--despite being top 5 in almost all the main categories (reputation, job placement, LSAT etc.)--is still too low (and being tied with Penn is just silly, as even my friends at Penn admit).  In 1999, US News began adjusting expenditures for differences in cost-of-living, and the formula they are using hurts Chicago (together with certain peculiar accounting practices which, I suspect, leads U of C to underreport the actual expenditures, because they go via central university channels).  That is the entire reason for the artificially low ranking in US News, and nothing else.

Interestingly, the big expansion in faculty size starting this fall--it will be the largest number of full-time faculty in the Law School's history--will actually help with the US News problem.

Please let me know if you have more questions.

Best wishes,
Brian Leiter
University of Texas, Austin
(512) 232-1319
http://www.naymz.com/search/brian/leiter/793046
Title: Re: Is UChicago in Decline?
Post by: BonJoviLover46 on May 16, 2008, 04:07:39 PM
*utterly shocked*   :o

This thread is over.