« on: March 21, 2011, 09:48:41 AM »
From reading past post by Bigs, one of his points about the ratings be of little value is based on a significant portion of the ratings being based upon reputation scores. Here we have lawyers/judges being asked to generate reputation schools off schools that they have little to know knowledge of.
Such as a judge in Oregon scoring comparing the reputation of Franklin Pierce and University of DC, when in reality he/she has likely never come across a lawyer from either school, much less be in a position to accurately compare and contrast.
That's the part that's probably the squirreliest. Seriously, at some point, people are saying Yale is better just because everybody says Yale is better. There comes a point where the logic becomes circular.
Still, if you're applying for a job, especially outside your region, those opinions matter. Right or wrong, a person making a hiring decision is likely to think a certain way about a school just because most people think that way.
Is there an element of unfairness to include opinion in the rankings? Sure. There's also an element of reality to it.
I think we all realize that getting a job in the law is highly competitive. That means that for every position you apply for, there will be maybe dozens of other candidates who are nearly indistiguishable from you. At that point, you need every advantage you can get. Law review? If you have a 4.0 from a 2T school and somebody else has a 3.0 from a 2T school, I don't see how law review is going to make a difference.
If you have a 3.4 from a 2T school and somebody else has a 3.3 and law review, that might put them over the top.
Schools? We all know that students from some schools have advantages over students from other schools. Where we disagree is that the advantage extends much beyond 1T. Personally, I think it applies (to a lesser, but still significant degree) at the 2Ts.
Though this conversation has me thinking and I am sort of leaning towards the belief that differentiating between 3T and 4T is probably sorta pointless. Instead of ranking the 3T, it might be more realistic to just put everything below the 2T in one big alphabetized pool. Really, I can't see a 3T student doing all that much better than a 4T student (though there are some 4T schools that have such a generally bad reputation that they're sort of in a world all to themselves.)
Also, if there's only one law school in your market, it's likely to be the dominant law school in terms of lawyers holding down important positions. However, if there's more than one, I would say that a 2T is likely to have an advantage over 3Ts in the area. (See Cleveland example above.) There is one major caveat here, though: that I doubt 3Ts and 4Ts are necessarily automatically excluded from the same opportunties as the 2T grads. They just might need a higher class rank to qualify for the same jobs. Ultimately, though, the same amount of work that would get you a top 20% rank at a 2T might be comparable to the amount of work it takes to get a top 10% at a 3T. So, in a way, the school is utterly unimportant. I'm starting to come around to the view that below a certain point, the choice of school absolutely doesn't matter. Seems like the only difference is that I'm thinking this happens below somewhere near the 2t / 3t horizon. Whereas big is thinking it happens below the 1t/2t horizon. Again, we agree on far more than we disagree on.