Law School Discussion

Penn State's jump is the most impressive?

Re: Penn State's jump is the most impressive?
« Reply #60 on: April 01, 2008, 02:10:36 PM »
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Several problems still exist in terms of the operation of a dual campus system under one organized law school. First, Dickinson alums are less than pleased with the Penn State-Dickinson merger. They feel that the "big fish in a small pond" feel has been stripped from the school. Furthermore, the feel that the dual campus system is bound to fail, and that one of two scenarios might arise: (1) PSU will eventually turn into a similar scenario to Indiana University, where there's IU Bloomington and IU-Indy, or (2) Since PSU will have the rights to the Dickinson name, they're going to leave Carlisle in the dust despite the millions in renovations expended there. Furthermore, Dickinson alums have been receiving Penn State related donation solicitations...in fact a partner at the firm I worked for was quite pissed about the idea considering the fact that he never had any connection with Penn State whatsoever.

I've also heard this as well.  I'm from the area, and I used to work in a law firm around here.  This is the thoughts of some lawyers around the Carlisle campus, at least.

I have heard this concern voiced by attorneys and students alike.  I really don't see it happening for two reasons:

1.  You would piss off just about every DSL alum.  While it might seem trivial to some, there are currently not enough PSU-DSL alumni to offset the pure DSL alumni.  These older alumni are very loyal to the school and tend to hire quite a few of us who graduate.  While I don't believe many would hold it against the students, you never know. 

I agree with #1 to a certain extent. I actually was told by a person interviewing me at a firm to "be careful" because I wrote the "The Pennsylvania State University: The Dickinson School of Law" on my resume. I wanted to tell him "that's the name of the school you moron whehter you like it or not." So yes, it might hurt certain students, but quite personally...if someone was petty enough to hold one's choice of a campus against them and possibly preclude themselves from adding a good lawyer to their team, then that wouldn't be the type of person I'd want to work for anyway.

On the other hand, for every pissed off Dickinson Alum, there are 100 Penn State alums who either (1) graduated from Dickinson too or (2) went to another law school but want to hire one of their own. The problem I see is that PSU is not taking the right approach to reach out to the Dickinson alums, while on the other hand, the Dickinson Alums will not accept anything but full relinquishment of the Dickinson name back to Carlisle. I don't see any type of campus defection within the next 5 years, but I think it's possible within the next decade.

Penn State should not be sending PSU related solicitation mail (i.e. Nittany Lion Club flyers) to purely Dickinson alums. However, when it comes to donations, Dickinson alums shouldn't focus on the alleged superiority of their law school experience by withholding money, but on how they can help future students have a different, yet beneficial experience of their own.

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2.  State College sucks when it comes to clinical education and internships during school.  I truly believe the facilities in Carlisle will be used for clinical and field placement programs that depend upon being near Harrisburg.  I can envision a multitude of third-year students spending their last year in Carlisle because they have a field placement or internship in Harrisburg (whether it be the PA Supreme Court, federal courts or other state and federal agencies). 

While there are only 30 of us (3L's) up at UP, most of us have no connection with the Harrisburg/Carlisle area. I know three people who came from Carlisle-UP this year, and two that went from UP-Carlisle last year because of its proximity to the DC area (where they both held jobs) Most of us have engaged in self-directed internship/clerkship/associate position searches with positive success. I see the connections of being near Harrisburg being the initial draw to the Carlisle campus, not something that is going to lead of a mass exodus of 3L students from UP to Carlisle. If we want to participate in OCI, we can do it via teleconferencing, or just make the 1.5 hour trip to Carlisle. There are plenty of clinics up here as well.

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The dynamics of the two campuses is largely lost on third years students.  As zuckpsu said the vast majority of third years are in Carlisle.  The current 3L class has largely been insulated from the high schoolish bickering that has begun between the two campuses since we are based, largely, in Carlisle.  I know there had been rumblings between the 1Ls and 2Ls between the campuses, which hopefully can be resolved to every satisfaction.  Only time will tell.

Well after our 3L class graduates, the numbers at both campuses for all three classes will be equal. I agree that the 3L class has largely been insulated from the grumbling between the two campuses, but there is some pent up resentment towards those who came up here after spending their 1L year in Carlisle to just "drink and party." I don't ever see there being complete harmony. Once it was announced that future graduation ceremonies were to alternate each year, there was an uproar. This will continue.

The major issue will be how will these students conduct themselves as alumni? Will they donate their money/time freely, or only for the benefit of one campus? Will they join the "good-old boys" club of Dickinson alums and continue to claim that Penn State is ruining the Dickinson School of Law? Or will they take the high road: take the dual-campus situation at face value and focus on how their education has helped them and can help others in the future.

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Re: Penn State's jump is the most impressive?
« Reply #61 on: April 01, 2008, 09:48:17 PM »
As someone who applied to the school, and it is one of my top choices, this was very useful info.  I'm still waiting on a  decision.

Re: Penn State's jump is the most impressive?
« Reply #62 on: April 02, 2008, 06:46:44 AM »
thanks for all the great insights, keep it coming....i must also say, this has turned out to be a very useful discussion.

Re: Penn State's jump is the most impressive?
« Reply #63 on: April 02, 2008, 04:28:45 PM »
The jump in the rankings just shows they've learned how to game the numbers that US News factors in, such as expenditures per student, especially with all that money they're throwing at students to get them to go there, the vast sums of money for all that technology to teleconference classes between campuses, and the high cost of running not one but two campuses but with the same size student body as before. (For the most notorious example of a school gaming the per student expenditure numbers - Illinois, check out http://volokh.com/posts/1143862070.shtml.)

The score of the school given by other law professors ("peer assessment") didn't jump; it just went up one tenth of a point, so that it is now back to what it was before the current administration came in (this score was 2.3 for 2001-2002, the period the current administration likes to claim the school was in decline; the score has been 2.2 for the last several years, and this year inched back to 2.3).

The school's ranking by judges and lawyers actually went DOWN this year, from a score of 3.1 last year, to 2.9 this year.  And that's the group that does the hiring.

The school also gamed the numbers by admitting a large percentage of the entering class as part-timers instead of as full-time students so that their LSATs wouldn't be factored in by US News. They don't have an evening program -- they just admit lots of part-timers into the regular first-year classes.  These figures weren't factored into the ranking by US News:

        Percentage of the Fall 07 entering class that's part-time:  more than 34%
        LSAT statistics of this group:  147-154 

As for buildings, both Carlisle and University Park are getting new law school buildings, but both campuses are currently in temporary buildings.  This could help explain the huge drop in applications last year. 

Seven of their tenured professors are leaving at the end of this year for other schools, so the "peer assessment" score could take a hit next year.

Re: Penn State's jump is the most impressive?
« Reply #64 on: April 02, 2008, 06:22:52 PM »

Well, they're ranked #96 if you go by their "peer reputation ranking" of 2.3

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2008/03/2009-us-news-pe.html

96.  (2.3)  Georgia State (77)
                Howard (Tier 3)
                LSU (88)
                Louisville (100)
                Maine (Tier 3)
                Missouri-Kansas City (Tier 3)
                Penn State (77)
                Seattle (83)
                South Carolina (95)
                UNLV (88)
                Vermont (Tier 3)
                Wayne State (Tier 3)



Re: Penn State's jump is the most impressive?
« Reply #65 on: April 03, 2008, 06:58:28 AM »
These last two posts are interesting, but, ultimately, I don't know if they matter THAT much in the grand scheme of things (this is a classic example, I think, of people thinking too much about the rankings). 

This really just comes down to what you desire in law school.  If what you want is a legal education at a decent school that will make you competitive at a fair number of places (including big law given the right grades) in the state of Pennsylvania, then PSU-DSL is a fine school, especially if they are giving you a scholarship.  If you want to work in DC or NY or elsewhere and you are gunning for biglaw at all costs, then you are better off looking at other schools, realizing that, even then, it's still a gamble, outside of the T-14. 

The peer assesment and rankings by lawyers/judges are important, but only to a certain degree.  The real rankings from lawyers/judges that matter are those from Pennsylvania lawyers/judges -- those are the people most likely to hire Dickinson grads and I think you will find that a lot of those people (especially in central PA, but really throughout the state) greatly respect PSU-DSL and do indeed hire its grads.  (I never understand why USNWR cares what a judge in Idaho or Oregon would think about a school like Dickinson -- how many Dickinson grads has that person really encountered?)

You can look at rankings and reputation scores all you want, but I think this is the simple reality -- as it is at just about every Tier2 school. 



Re: Penn State's jump is the most impressive?
« Reply #66 on: April 03, 2008, 07:16:04 AM »
These last two posts are interesting, but, ultimately, I don't know if they matter THAT much in the grand scheme of things (this is a classic example, I think, of people thinking too much about the rankings). 

This really just comes down to what you desire in law school.  If what you want is a legal education at a decent school that will make you competitive at a fair number of places (including big law given the right grades) in the state of Pennsylvania, then PSU-DSL is a fine school, especially if they are giving you a scholarship.  If you want to work in DC or NY or elsewhere and you are gunning for biglaw at all costs, then you are better off looking at other schools, realizing that, even then, it's still a gamble, outside of the T-14. 

The peer assesment and rankings by lawyers/judges are important, but only to a certain degree.  The real rankings from lawyers/judges that matter are those from Pennsylvania lawyers/judges -- those are the people most likely to hire Dickinson grads and I think you will find that a lot of those people (especially in central PA, but really throughout the state) greatly respect PSU-DSL and do indeed hire its grads.  (I never understand why USNWR cares what a judge in Idaho or Oregon would think about a school like Dickinson -- how many Dickinson grads has that person really encountered?)

You can look at rankings and reputation scores all you want, but I think this is the simple reality -- as it is at just about every Tier2 school. 




Word. 

Re: Penn State's jump is the most impressive?
« Reply #67 on: April 03, 2008, 08:44:28 AM »
Seven of their tenured professors are leaving at the end of this year for other schools, so the "peer assessment" score could take a hit next year.

Where did you find out this information? I know of two professors (one tenured, the other not) who are leaving for good reasons. One, a Harvard law grad and otherwise pretty poor professor, is accepting a position as the Dean of Wayne State I believe. The other, an international criminal law scholar (3rd in chain of command in prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic), had family issues that forced him to relocate to Europe. He's a big loss...he was a great prof. Other than those two, I haven't heard of anyone leaving.

Re: Penn State's jump is the most impressive?
« Reply #68 on: April 03, 2008, 09:17:02 AM »
Seven of their tenured professors are leaving at the end of this year for other schools, so the "peer assessment" score could take a hit next year.

Where did you find out this information? I know of two professors (one tenured, the other not) who are leaving for good reasons. One, a Harvard law grad and otherwise pretty poor professor, is accepting a position as the Dean of Wayne State I believe. The other, an international criminal law scholar (3rd in chain of command in prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic), had family issues that forced him to relocate to Europe. He's a big loss...he was a great prof. Other than those two, I haven't heard of anyone leaving.

There are a few in Carlisle leaving, besides the two you mentioned.  One is leaving for personal reasons (very valid personal reasons), and the other is leaving to return to private practice.  I have no idea where this information of 7 leaving is coming from.  I know there are a few visiting professors whose time is up and they are leaving, but they are not tenured.

Re: Penn State's jump is the most impressive?
« Reply #69 on: April 03, 2008, 10:39:34 AM »

I don't know where the other poster got the information about all those professors leaving, but I just found a list here:

              http://www.thefacultylounge.org/2008/04/departures-law.html#more


DCLabor25 at 10:58:29 AM:
What you wrote makes more sense than anything else I've read in this discussion. I posted the reputation ranking in reaction to the posts that thought the "jump" to 77 meant the school's overall reputation is going up. From everything I've read the school had a great reputation in Pennsylvania for years and still does.