Boyd is ranked higher in legal writing than almost all of the T14 schools. So, we may have a different ballgame 15 years from now... not that this will do me much good by then.
Honestly, Harvard is better than Boyd or GGU. Even if your in the top 10% at Boyd I think the prestige of Harvard will win out. Getting into Harvard is just an accomplishment in and of itself. I almost feel like it is harder to get into some of those schools than it is to rank in the top 10% of a tier 2,3, or 4 school. With that said I have to go on another tangent about these rankings. Boyd is ranked higher in legal writing, Vermont is ranked highly in environmental law, Pepperdine is great at negotiations, but again WHERE DOES THIS COME FROM. I mean these subrankings do not even have any measurable statistics whatsoever. At least as awfully measure as the rankings are at least there is approximately 10% objective facts. These subrankings just seem like they are selected at random. I feel like U.S. News rankings has gotten Wizard of Oz type status. The Wizard was "allegedly" this great all knowing, all powerful entity, yet he was nothing. Nobody questioned his power or how he got there they just accepted well he is the wizard you can't interrupt him, you can't see him, you can't interact with him, but he does know everything. We all know how that turns out. U.S. News is the same thing I have no idea when they started ranking or why, or who determines these rankings, it is just THE GREAT ALL KNOWING U.S. NEWS. Who is on this committee how did they rank my school as a top 25 public interest school , how did they determine Boyd is a top writing school, how did they determine Pepperdine is great at negotiations. I would love answer to any of these questions, but none exists other than U.S. News said so. Based on what how these anonymous random people felt. It is so ridiculous.
The really sad part is that people take these rankings so seriously. I know a girl from my school that transferred to Santa Clara she was in the top 2% at my school and they gave her a full scholarship. However, she transferred because she wanted to do IP law. She has no engineering background whatsoever, but Santa Clara is ranked 8th or something in IP according to U.S. News. So she is going to go 80,000 more in debt than she would have and even though U.S. News says they are the 8th best IP school she will probably lose out to anyone in the Bay Area with a J.D. from and an engineering background. Realistically, if she really wanted to do IP law it would have been better for her to save a ton of money staying at GGU and used the 80,000 in savings to get some type of engineering degree. IP is one of those industries where they don't really care what school you went to if you know how technical things work then you are set. Which is why the patent bar exists. However, U.S. News all knowing as they are and with no facts to support it said Santa Clara is the 8th best IP school. So she up and left leaving 80,000 on the table. I hope it works for her she was a cool person, but odds are she is going to go 80,000 more in debt and not have anymore prospects from Santa Clara than she would from GGU. Maybe I am wrong, but I really think U.S. News is just an awful thing that people use to make life changing decisions. U.S. News has no facts to support anything and yet people follow down the yellow brick road just as Dorothy did. To follow some unnamed, anonymous, thing, that is not there. It made for a great movie, but in real life people need to question these rankings and how they come about.
Harvard is not better than Boyd in many areas: Gaming law (hello, we're in Las Vegas), arguably not in legal writing (I'll put any of my writing samples against those of Harvard grads and see how I compete, I may not beat every or even most Harvard grads, but I bet I compete with a very favorable showing). Objectively, Boyd requires more writing classes (3 to graduate) plus a scholarly (publishable - aka Law Review Note, minimum of 25 pages not including footnotes) from EVERY student to graduate. Harvard doesn't require that. Yes, Harvard admits a better crop of students, but their graduation requirements are not as stringent. It is very possible that the average Boyd admit is weaker than the average Harvard grad upon admission, but ends up equal to or stronger than the average Harvard grad at graduation because of a more rigourous legal writing program.
The subrankings come from law professors and the deans of law schools. So, they are based on reputations in the legal academic community.