Here is the argument you ought to be trying to make:
Premise: US News purports to be a ranking of the top American law Schools.
Premise: In determining their rankings, US News relied on factors x, y, and z.
Premise: However, factors x, y, and z are either a) not measured properly, b) not weighted properly, or c) not relevant to a determination of what constitutes a top American law school.
Conclusion #1: US News rankings do not successfully measure the top American law schools.
Premise: Factors r, s, and t are more accurate and/or more appropriate measures of what constitutes a top American law school.
Premise: When judged on these factors, schools A, B, and C perform much better than would have been expected based on their US News ranking.
Conclusion #2: Schools A, B, and C are better law schools than would have been expected based on their US News ranking.
Here is the argument you tried to make, which is illegitimate:
Premise: Ranking #1, which measures factors x, y, and z places school A at #50.
Premise: Ranking #2, which measures factor r places school A at #10.
Premise: Ranking #3, which measures factor s, places school A at #20.
Premise: Ranking #4, which measures factor t, places school A at #30.
Conclusion: Ranking #1 is incorrect.
See the difference?
OK sorry for not putting my arguments in numerical format. Calm down dude this is an internet message board not a court room and these are posts not legal motions.
The natural response, of course, to your one anecdote regarding a law professor who claims to be only passingly familiar with certain schools is "The Durability of Law School Reputation" a 1998 article from The Journal of Legal Education, in which its author, Richard Schmalbeck, found that the reputations (and reputation scores) of law schools have remained virtually unchanged since the introduction of US News Rankings in 1987 (indeed, there is a great degree of consistency dating as far back as the 1974 survey, replete with methodological challenges though it was). Given the level of consistency over time, the argument that the reputation scores are the result of poorly informed deans making arbitrary distinctions based on tenuous connections seems untennable.
This is very interesting evidence but it's 8 years old. The study ended in 1998 and yet 1998 is the year that US News made a major change in their system for measuring academic reputation.
Additionally, it is one of the scores that are not manipulable by law schools. So even on top of this problematic tool, you still have a number of other factors that US News uses that are highly manipulable.
Also, the US News scholarly reputation rankings only present professors with a list of schools and has them rank them (with no corresponding faculty lists provideD). Leiter did his own study in 2003 where he handed out faculty lists:http://www.leiterrankings.com/faculty/2003faculty_reputation.shtml
Hastings came in at #29, just ahead of UC Davis (#32), its most comparable school.
For instance, when you post rankings of Hastings that range from #11 to #36, claim that there is "no statistical variance" among those, and then claim that these rankings "show" that another ranking placing Hastings at #43 is bogus.
I think I have said like 3 times already that I agree the Brennan list that ranks hastings at 11 is way old and should obviously be discounted...
the #43 is not an outlier - the value would still be reasonable given the dispersion of other rankings. You can't automatically lop off the lowest or highest values simply becuase they are low or high.
Yes, the #43 is an outlier - it is the worst ranking of hastings out of any of these measurements. By definition it is the highest outlier. Brennan/#11 was the highest outlier on the other end and was obviously bogus.
To make matters worse, you are posting links to information that is even more outdated, irrelevant, and methodologically flawed than the US News rankings. You give us 10-year old salary data, we give you "Correlates of Elite Firm Placement." You give us Brennan, we give you ALAMAR.
Again you keep attacking my brennan cite. You guys have done this like 5 times so far I have said over and over it is old and should be discounted.
You also go after the salary data AGAIN. I already posted the updated salary information from 2006. Hastings was #30. UC Davis was 45 (despite being 9 spots higher in US News).
I dealt with these issues a while back and you guys keep attacking them and pretending like everything I have said is wrong. It's setting up a straw man.
Why? Becuase there are no objectively true, perfectly quantifiable standards for what makes a law school better than another. They just don't exist.
Again this is being relatavist and it doesn't justify the flaws in US News' rankings that I have pointed out. Even if you do think there is no perfect ranking system, the goal should be as good a system as possible and US News clearly is not cutting it with all of these issues.
"Neither your posts nor your links have conveyed any new information (it might be arguable that they conveyed any information at all), and your rankings-obsession is misguided at best. "
What? That Hastings has way higher salary, bar passage, student quality, faculty quality, and firm recruitment than US News ranks it? That Hastings ranks way higher than US News in other comprehensive rankings?
one point you're trying to make (that the US News rankings aren't the best measure of a law school) is so obvious to all of us that it usually gos without saying
I completely agree with you on that point. Interesting that you spend so much time defending US News only to say this now...