i agree with all that's been said, but i still would like to know how making an easier curve is gaming the rankings.
The OP obviously doesn't understand a) how your legal education becomes a career or b) this question when you originally posed it.
My point between grade inflation and rankings was this: GPAs have a subconscious effect on people. A 3.95 seems on face higher than a 3.42. When a school produces vastly higher GPAs than others it creates the illusion that that school is turning out better students. Someone even alluded to it earlier. Top 10% at Texas with their 3.95 is probably at least top 10% at SMU/UH/Baylor/STCL/Tech. If you start off with the assumption that Texas is a better school than others in the state (fair assumption, universally agreed upon) then it might begin to show an approximate correlation with class rank. 3.67 = 10% at Houston = 30% at Texas and so on and so forth.
How this could potentially factor into rankings is the 15% of the score determined by Lawyers and Judges in the Peer Assessment:
"In the fall of 2006, legal professionals, including the hiring partners of law firms, state attorneys general, and selected federal and state judges, were asked to rate programs on a scale from "marginal" (1) to "outstanding" (5). Those individuals who did not know enough about a school to evaluate it fairly were asked to mark "don't know." A school's score is the average of all the respondents who rated it. Responses of "don't know" counted neither for nor against a school. About 29 percent of those surveyed responded."
If GPAs correspond with class rank those interviewed from Texas might seem to think Texas is much better than it actually is relative to the schools they normally see. Thus Texas may get a 5 and others that should get a 4, only get a 3 or something. My point was this might not happen in other regions, putting Texas schools (that are not Texas) at a disadvantage and Texas at a slight advantage. You also run into issues here with the fact that the percentage of respondents responding is disparate across the country so-on-and-so forth/only one in three actually respond etc; the ranking scheme is very far from perfect.
My assumption was entirely speculation and I don't find my reasoning to be that out there. You might not buy it, but that's a different story entirely.
I also recognize largely how education helps your career. A formal legal education is a pre-requisite to taking the BAR which is a pre-requisite to practicing law in your state. The decisions you make regarding your career should be based on a lot more important factors than how schools rank in statistical surveys. In areas of legal concentration (in terms of jobs/schools) rankings are much more helpful in areas where it is sparse. Ultimately, I don't really believe in this "portability" argument that people bring up about their legal degrees. A couple years out of law school what matters is how well you work, not where you went to school. Moreover, a Harvard degree is going to open certain kinds of doors but it's not going to open all doors. I know New Mexico Firms that would interview you, wonder why the hell you were applying for a job in Albequerque because you've lived in Parsippany NJ your whole life, and then hire a UNM grad over you. A top degree is not a ubiquitous key to the legal world.
So are you TOTALLY dense or just partially?
? PEOPLE MAKE THESE DECISIONS TO GO TO HIGHER RANKED SCHOOLS FOR
THEIR CAREERS. Whether you want to believe it or not, schools in the T-14 provide better opportunities in terms of location choices following graduation AND better salaries (stats don't lie). I don't buy your argument that you have a better chance getting a job in Alberquerque from UNM than you do from Harvard, because to get that job from UNM you would need to be in the top 10% and from Harvard you would just need a pulse and decent interviewing skills. I also don't buy that argument that they wouldn't hire you if you were from NJ and randomly wanted to practice in NM. If you can name one Harvard grad who was actively seeking a job in NM and they had absolutely no connections to the state whatsoever I would love to hear about it. I can actually see the conversation now:
Harvard student 1: Hey, I think I'm going to take that offer from Skadden. What are your plans for next year?
Harvard student 2: Well, the offer I have from Sullivan is pretty sweet, but I think I'd really like to move to Alberquerque. I'm going to start sending out some resumes to NM firms next week. Hopefully I get something good!
Welcome to the real world, buddy.