Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses => Topic started by: jinc1019 on February 11, 2011, 03:51:05 PM

Title: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: jinc1019 on February 11, 2011, 03:51:05 PM
I know U.S. News is head shoulders above the rest when it comes to the list that matters the most in the perception of the world BUT it is certainly NOT the best list in my opinion. So what is the best list based on methodology, career prospects, admission data, reputation, etc? I mean, the whole purpose of these lists is to determine which schools will give you, the prospective law student, the best chance of success. I know that no list is perfect, but there has to be some kind of hierarchy. U.S. News cannot possibly be the best list out there...even if it is the most used and watched list.
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: nealric on February 18, 2011, 04:30:21 PM
US News is about right for the top 14. After that, the NLJ 250 placement ranking is an OK (but imperfect) bet.

The problem with rankings is that they are one-size fits all. Not everyone has the same financial situation, and not everyone has the same post-graduation goals.
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: lawstudent2011 on February 18, 2011, 04:48:26 PM
http://www.cooley.edu/rankings/nfl_analogy.html

http://www.cooley.edu/rankings/overall2010.html

Someone really should congradulate Cooley; they went from #12 in their own rankings up to #2 beat only by Harvard.

Take that Princton, Yale,etc,etc....... 8)
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: NonTradInSATX on February 18, 2011, 10:48:26 PM
Best Ranking List?  Definitely Cooley!   ;D
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: nealric on February 20, 2011, 08:57:28 AM
http://www.cooley.edu/rankings/nfl_analogy.html

http://www.cooley.edu/rankings/overall2010.html

Someone really should congradulate Cooley; they went from #12 in their own rankings up to #2 beat only by Harvard.

Take that Princton, Yale,etc,etc....... 8)

Everybody knows that Princeton has the best law school.
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: bigs5068 on February 21, 2011, 08:31:50 AM
Cooley's rankings do make nearly as much sense as U.S. News. I think it is awesome they publish their own. U.S. News is probably correct for the first 25 or so schools, but then it is based on quite literally nothing just like Cooley. Actually Cooley's makes more sense because you can at least measure the number of chairs in a school. That is at least something real about the school. I don't know how much it really helps, but it is nice to have space. U.S. News is  some judge in Maine checking a scantron of excllent, good, very good, marginal to rank Williamette over Gonzaga two schools the judge has never been to or met anyone from. Or a judge in San Francisco checking those same boxes to distinguish Franklin Pierce from Suffolk. It makes no sense they do count bar passage as 2% of the ranking for U.S. News and as law student I think it is important to pass the bar, but that is just me.
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: jinc1019 on February 23, 2011, 05:31:07 PM

Cooley's rankings do make nearly as much sense as U.S. News. I think it is awesome they publish their own. U.S. News is probably correct for the first 25 or so schools, but then it is based on quite literally nothing just like Cooley. Actually Cooley's makes more sense because you can at least measure the number of chairs in a school. That is at least something real about the school. I don't know how much it really helps, but it is nice to have space. U.S. News is  some judge in Maine checking a scantron of excllent, good, very good, marginal to rank Williamette over Gonzaga two schools the judge has never been to or met anyone from. Or a judge in San Francisco checking those same boxes to distinguish Franklin Pierce from Suffolk. It makes no sense they do count bar passage as 2% of the ranking for U.S. News and as law student I think it is important to pass the bar, but that is just me.

It amazes me how U.S. News can get away with this system. Imagine a magazine that judges restaurants and determines which restaurants are ranked where by going to the restaurants right across the street, telling them they want to publish a nationally recognized list of which these other restaurants are also on, and then asking them their opinion of the surrounding restaurants who just so happen to be in sink or swim compeition with them. It's ridiculous. If I was an IIT-Chicago Kent alum, chances are I would never give Loyola-Chicago or DePaul anywhere near a fair rating because I know it would help MY school out.

And, if they asked my opinion of some school I know nothing about it Alabama or New Hampshire, I would probably just make a guess based on the previous U.S. News data.
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: the white rabbit on February 23, 2011, 06:10:43 PM
And, if they asked my opinion of some school I know nothing about it Alabama or New Hampshire, I would probably just make a guess based on the previous U.S. News data.

This is why the reputation scores only really make sense for the top 15-20 schools, which as someone pointed out is about how far USNews makes sense.
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: lawstudent2011 on February 23, 2011, 06:38:46 PM
Is it any suprise then that their top competitor TimeMagazine wrote an article questioning the rankings system?
How long untill they do the same do you think?
And, if they asked my opinion of some school I know nothing about it Alabama or New Hampshire, I would probably just make a guess based on the previous U.S. News data.

This is why the reputation scores only really make sense for the top 15-20 schools, which as someone pointed out is about how far USNews makes sense.
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: bigs5068 on February 23, 2011, 06:56:57 PM
Unfounded rankings systems are all the rage now. I love it on yahoo news Stockton was ranked the worst city in America by god knows who, but somebody somewhere said Stockton was the worst city. People will go with it. A truly amazing thing has come out in high school basketball, which just shows how ridiclous rankings in our country and probably every in the world has become. Maxpreps.com Look at this site and find your high school wherever you went has been ranked in every sport from 1-20,000. According to some organization that doesn't even publish a formula. It is ridiculous in my high school conference there are teams rated 34 in the country 1,429, 800, 6,204, and 3,249, the team that is 34th in the country is awesome the other ones are interchangeable on any given day one beats the other and it happened.  As truly sad as it is I have had family friends call and ask me if they should transfer their kid from high school x ranked 2,432 to high school x ranked 1,729. 

According to the post about judging restaurants based on arbitrary unfounded rankings that exists as well. Restaurants are Zagat rated what the hell does that mean it is a stamp that almost every restaurant in San Francisco or New York seems to have I have not lived anywhere else recently, but Zagat some organization somewhere saying this is good comes up with a ranking.

The whole ranking system in our culture makes absolutely no sense. In California everyone was saying we ranked 43rd in the state education and America is something like 28th internationally for education again who the hell is coming up with this and more importantly how are they coming up with them??? Journalists just go with someone saying that person was 29th best and assume it is true.

That is a complete and basically incoherent rant on how rankings just come out of nowhere and basically based on nothing in all aspects of life and should not be taken seriously. Since this is a law school discussion board when choosing your school use something called common sense, which I almost did not use and ended up in Michigan. Harvard is a great school, Yale is a great school, Stanford is a great school. If you think anyone is going to respect Michigan State over Chapman because some organization said Michigan State was 89th while Chapman was 93rd then you are probably mistaken. I am sure someone out there would take it seriously, but it probably would not be a good idea.
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: Rondo on February 23, 2011, 10:42:17 PM
here are the US News law school rankings adjusted for some fishy emplyment stats the schools employ...not much movement in the top 25 but some big jumps lower down:

http://www.jdoasis.com/law-school-usnews-rankings-flawedheres-why
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: Thane Messinger on March 02, 2011, 02:56:31 PM
I know U.S. News is head shoulders above the rest when it comes to the list that matters the most in the perception of the world BUT it is certainly NOT the best list in my opinion. So what is the best list based on methodology, career prospects, admission data, reputation, etc? I mean, the whole purpose of these lists is to determine which schools will give you, the prospective law student, the best chance of success. I know that no list is perfect, but there has to be some kind of hierarchy. U.S. News cannot possibly be the best list out there...even if it is the most used and watched list.

As a contrarian view, it is foolish to seek a ranking system better than U.S. News.  It's not a question of perfection.  It's a question of filters.  Aside from the fact that U.S. News is the ranking system because it is believed to be that system (a statement that could be said of the legal system as well), it factors in just about every reasonably factor-able factor to be factored.  If one disagrees with a specific variable, fine; refigure that according to your preferences.  But it won't make a measureable difference on employers.

Far more important than the ranking is what you do with it.  Depending upon your stats, you should view the layers of schools as nearly independent sets of potential schools.  There isn't "a" ranking; there are several. 

What no one should do is choose Law School A at rank #25 over Law School B at rank #28.  The rankings are not linear.
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: NonTradInSATX on March 03, 2011, 10:25:07 AM
U.S. News is the best ranking out there right now and it does factor in the most important aspects.  However, my objection to their rankings is the reliance on personal opinion of reputation from unqualified persons.  I call these persons unqualified because a judge in New York or Hawaii is unlikely to have any experience with a graduate of a Texas law school, yet they are asked to rank the school. 

Because of this, anything below the top 50 is going to be a regional school and anyone outside the region is less likely to be able to accurately assess the quality of the graduates.  Therefore, the further down the list you go, the less the actual ranking matters.

(On an aside, I suspect this favors schools in more densely populated regions like the Northeast, etc. potentially giving them an artificial boost up the rankings.)
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: Thane Messinger on March 03, 2011, 12:33:55 PM
U.S. News is the best ranking out there right now and it does factor in the most important aspects.  However, my objection to their rankings is the reliance on personal opinion of reputation from unqualified persons.  I call these persons unqualified because a judge in New York or Hawaii is unlikely to have any experience with a graduate of a Texas law school, yet they are asked to rank the school. 

Because of this, anything below the top 50 is going to be a regional school and anyone outside the region is less likely to be able to accurately assess the quality of the graduates.  Therefore, the further down the list you go, the less the actual ranking matters.

(On an aside, I suspect this favors schools in more densely populated regions like the Northeast, etc. potentially giving them an artificial boost up the rankings.)

Quite right as to all points.  This is why we should look at rankings in groupings and location and one's own specific circumstances, rather than as a linear (supposed) truth.  It is pointless to compare Harvard with [choose your Tier 1, 2, 3, 4 favorite here].  It doesn't matter who's doing the judging, or how "subjective" is their judgment, collective or individual.  Likewise, it is misleading to compare law schools within a half-dozen places of each other--or even within a few dozen places of each other, depending upon one's specific, singular factors. 

To take Texas as an example, even with UT-Austin as the lead school in the state, there are still numerous other factors.  For a major employer in, say, Houston, a UT grad will compete with one from Harvard . . . and the Longhorn might well be at the disadvantage, depending upon individual factors.  (i.e., here's where individual performance and connections count.)  But for a smaller firm, the assumption is that the Harvard grad is slumming, and perhaps somehow couldn't land a job at a "real" firm to which Harvard grads are presumed to be headed.  Even that is simplistic: a "major" firm can be a branch office of a national firm, or a top regional firm.  Believe it or not, the top regional firm will, in general, be better regarded within that market than the national firm's branch.  Why?  Because the regional firm is a full-service firm, handling all matters of top clients from that area; the branch is likely there to serve a national or global client, but might have a relative handful of attorneys.  Not that the national firm's attorneys will not be taken seriously--they just won't be as significant a force in that market.  In each market, something similar is operating.  San Antonio, as you know, is very much its own culture, quite distinct from Dallas, Houston, Austin, and, well, every other of the 26 (?) cities in Texas.  Comparing San Antonio to Lubbock is not just misleading, it's downright silly--and yet both cities have lawyers, judges, firms, and new openings.  In short, there's a lot more to rank, prestige, etc., than a grossly simplistic, single "ranking" system.

Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: bigs5068 on March 03, 2011, 01:45:23 PM
Yea the rankings are a real shaky system. I don't even really think it is U.S. News Rankings fault it is just people dying to have someone else make decisions for them. Choosing a law school is hard and most 0L's have no idea what to do. If some magazine out there says so and so school is 50th best then it is nice and easy to choose the 50th best school over the 68th or 72nd best ranked school, even though the system is based on nothing.

I don't know if it is only America, but it seems like our culture is completely rank obsessed. Nobody questoins the people making these rankers, I love hearing how America's public education is 43rd in the world now or whatever it is. I taught in a high school in China and can tell you it was not top notch education out there and I have no idea how you would compare American education to Chinese education and rank it? Surprising as it may be America and China have very different attitudes about a lot of different things and to rank them makes little sense to me.

MaxPreps for high school basketball has just surfaced over the past few years and ranked every single high school look yours up from 1-20,000 in every sport. Again what is this ranking based on? Some people based in the (530) area code, which is Tahoe/Chico area. Small freaking towns making nationally rankings that scouts look at and are often disappointed. I remember being ranked a top prospect as a freshman on this site without having played a varsity game. It really didn't make sense, but that is what happens when you can just make numbers up. There is no way to really question it and I gladly accepted the completely false ranking.

Law schools have the same deal. Really is Gonzaga better than Florida International University? I have absolutley no clue and I imagine nobody really knows the answer. U.S. News saw a market and people are gullible enough to buy into it and I myself was guilty of that as a 0L. Any ABA school will teach you the law and permit you to practice in any jurisdiction. Harvard is probably going to give you an edge of New England law. The admission standards are just so high, the name so impressive, that I think almost anyone would choose Harvard.  Still even there I imagine many of the things taught are the same at each school. You wold read Pennoyer v. Neff, International Shoe, understand the UCC, the list goes on and I can't imagine those differing from school to school. The same textbooks and the same cases are read. I feel like the law is one of the most uniform professions in the world. There are 9 guys writing most of the laws in textbooks i.e. the Supreme Court what they say applies equally to a Harvard Grad or a GGU grad and it is all open to interpretation.

Bottom line of the whole rant is use common sense when picking your law school. I think it is pretty obvious that you should choose UCLA over Southwestern or Stanford over GGU. When it comes down to choosing between Southwestern over Chapman or Suffolk over New England, because some magazine said one was ranked 78th and the other 92nd be real careful.

Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: fortook on April 03, 2011, 08:14:57 PM
http://www.cooley.edu/rankings/nfl_analogy.html

http://www.cooley.edu/rankings/overall2010.html

Someone really should congradulate Cooley; they went from #12 in their own rankings up to #2 beat only by Harvard.

Take that Princton, Yale,etc,etc....... 8)

I've heard about the Cooley list, but honestly thought it was a joke. Wow what were they thinking?  If you read the article they shift from percentages to actual numbers to make Cooley look better to someone not paying attention or a little slow.  They are the Fox News of law school rankings.  Marvelously absurd.  Cheers Cooley.
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: Morten Lund on April 04, 2011, 12:29:32 AM
... it is foolish to seek a ranking system better than U.S. News.  It's not a question of perfection.  It's a question of filters.  Aside from the fact that U.S. News is the ranking system because it is believed to be that system (a statement that could be said of the legal system as well), it factors in just about every reasonably factor-able factor to be factored.  If one disagrees with a specific variable, fine; refigure that according to your preferences.  But it won't make a measureable difference on employers.

This.

Based on the definition of "better" provided by the OP, it is hard to be "better" than U.S. News.  In fact, no other ranking system even matters at all, because that is the list read by all the employers.  When a hiring attorney inquires about the ranking of a candidate's law school, it is the U.S. News rank that is inquired about, and the only rank that is of interest to that hiring attorney.

Now, if you want to consult a different ranking system for some particular purpose, that's fine - but the market has spoken, and there is 100% truthiness to the statement that "the U.S. News law school ranking is the best one."  From a strict marketability perspective, therefore, it would be foolish to consider any other ranking system.
Title: Re: Best Law School Ranking List???? I know it isn't U.S. News!
Post by: MikePing on April 04, 2011, 08:32:46 AM
The thing to remember about USN rankings is that they are a ranking of each school's reputation.

Reputation should factor into a person's choice of school, but it usually shouldn't be outcome determinative. 

IMO each potential law student should consider many different factors, reputation being on of them, and make their own T25 list.