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Author Topic: Why isn't Southwestern ranked better?  (Read 1233 times)

blondie5star

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Why isn't Southwestern ranked better?
« on: April 14, 2008, 09:13:01 PM »
Why doesn't Southwestern Law in L.A. have a better rank?

I'm trying to sort out where to go to school in the fall, and I've sent deposits to two places while waiting to hear from a few more. I can't find anything I don't like so much about Southwestern other than its ranking, which isn't stellar.

I don't see why it isn't better ranked--but I'm SURE you all likely have many an opinion to share, so please do, if you wouldn't mind helping me out.

I am dead-set on public interest law, so if I selected Southwestern (haven't yet, still waiting on a few T2 schools), would its ranking hurt me in finding public interest work?

Thanks all, and the best to you in your endeavors.

sd4shizy

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Re: Why isn't Southwestern ranked better?
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2008, 11:33:31 PM »
SW is now a T4 school. It is still a good, solid school, however. Of course, I would never attend if I were to receive acceptance at Loyola or Pepp, but ultimately, you must decide when  you have all your cards on the table. I have several students that attend SW. They were freaking out with the IS news and WR came out. Did you know SW is now ranked lower than Chapman? Many were surprised, including myself. But the ranking are based on a multitude of things, so you should not base your decision chiefly on that

I wish you the best of luck.

Let us know if you hear from those T2's.

Which ones are you still waiting on?

blondie5star

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Re: Why isn't Southwestern ranked better?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2008, 12:53:15 AM »
I'm waiting on Loyola (in L.A.), Santa Clara, U of Oregon, U of San Fran, and Case Western. Oh, and I'm waitlisted at Seattle U.

I don't see why Southwestern is a T4. Having looked at the program offerings, the diversity of faculty, bar passage, employment stats, etc., they aren't so markedly different from other schools, unless I'm not finding up to date data (and I'm fairly secure with what I have come up with).

Also, if I want public interest work, those kind of positions are earned through one's own personal efforts to demonstrate a sincere passion and dedication to such a field. That can't be measured by a school ranking. You can be a lazy shiz at a T14 who happened to have a superb LSAT and pretty good GPA--I'm not convinced that the name of your school will inherently guarantee you a promising career.

Also, Pepperdine isn't the school for me.

So, does anyone have any ideas as to why SW is now a T4?

P.S. I'm not saying that people at T14 schools shouldn't be proud of their accomplishments in getting into those institutions--congrats to those who did.

NYC2L

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Re: Why isn't Southwestern ranked better?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2008, 01:22:11 AM »
"if I want public interest work, those kind of positions are earned through one's own personal efforts to demonstrate a sincere passion and dedication to such a field. That can't be measured by a school ranking."

It is a misconception that public interest jobs are comparably easy to obtain. Many students at top schools are also "dead-set" on going into public interest. Hence, although the world might be a better place if public interest positions were earned in the way that you presume, even in public interest rankings matter and may determine whether or not you are given the opportunity to "demonstrate passion and dedication" in the first place. Just like any legal employer, public interest organizations use rankings to weed out applicants. Moreover, lower ranked schools provide less extensive public interest options.

Don't get me wrong. I am not in the business of discouraging or encouraging attendance to one school over another. I am merely inserting some reality into your idealism. If you perceive SW as being the place for you, then right on.   

Astro

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Re: Why isn't Southwestern ranked better?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2008, 05:48:16 AM »
I don't know about SW, but USF is great for public interest work.
J, if you didn't bring enough penis for everyone, you shouldn't have brought any penis at all. 

blondie5star

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Re: Why isn't Southwestern ranked better?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2008, 01:56:47 PM »
Thanks for all of your input. Let me clear up one aspect of what I have said: I understand the relationship between competitive schools and public interest positions. I know that PI work is, too, a competitive market. I also know that I'm willing to work hard to make those connections that my T4 (if I were to go to one) school might lack, that might be more readily available via a higher-ranked school.

Trust me, if Loyola lets me in, I'd be overwhelmingly thrilled. But I'm not holding me breath.

What it comes down to for me is the same as it is for anyone else concerned with rankings: I'm afraid of picking a school, that I otherwise find suitable, due to its T4 ranking. I'm afraid that will make me automatically one of those "weeded out" when I am job hunting.

That said, I'm also planning on working my butt off during school (regardless of where I go) to make sure I have experience and connections with PI organizations/firms so that hopefully, my resume will speak louder than my school's ranking.

Oh well, the chips will land where they land. I'll make law school work. I was just wondering if there was some glaring trait about SW that I was unaware of that has led to its T4 state.

Thanks very much, everyone, for your ideas.

sd4shizy

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Re: Why isn't Southwestern ranked better?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2008, 05:12:56 AM »
Hey blondie5star why is Pepperdine not the place for you? Is it too conservative for you? Is it Ken Starr? What's your excuse?

And OP, did you apply to Pepp?

blondie5star

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Re: Why isn't Southwestern ranked better?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2008, 07:58:32 PM »
I wouldn't call not seeking Pepperdine an "excuse," and I'm not sure if that meant anything, but it just didn't appeal to me like other places did. I know it is generally considered a more conservative school, and Ken Starr isn't my ideal Dean, but I couldn't say that was a real causal factor in not applying there.

I just didn't. 'Nuff said. Those who want to go to Pepp, have at it. Good luck.

ForMartha

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Re: Why isn't Southwestern ranked better?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2008, 01:34:02 AM »
I had a long discussion with a good friend about this, here's what i found.  Hope it helps.

One of few reasons why Southwestern has gone down in ranking is due to their employment rate after 9 months, which is at 85%.  I heard that their new dean said part of the reason why it went down is due to his refusal to take part in these agreements between law school deans, where one dean agrees to give the other school the highest evaluation in exchance for the same.  Those local schools not participating in that agreement would receive the lowest possible evaluation.  Pepperdine is notorious for this.  In addition, he also stated that some law schools employ their students at their own library at the nine month mark after graduation in order to increase the percentage of those employed, thus providing US NEWS with a good statistic.  Moreover, some schools throw away surveys completed by their alumni if the school finds them unfavorable.  Thier new dean, as opposed to their old, has refused to take part of this US NEWS game that Pepperdine has mastered. Instead, they are focusing more in hiring new faculty, establishing two new clinics and improving their image in the legal community.

They have the 2nd largest alumni base in the Southern California region (as they are the 2nd oldest school in L.A.)--which helps a lot of their students land jobs.  Their salary statistics are comparable to LLS and Pepperdine, as well. 

Good luck

blondie5star

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Re: Why isn't Southwestern ranked better?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2008, 01:37:13 PM »
ForMartha,

Thanks a lot for your input. I had just been wondering why SW was a T4, given its similarities with other much more highly ranked schools. Of course, I like the school, and I wouldn't be truthful if I didn't say I'm looking for some plus points because I, too, am a little worried about its ranking.

But like you said, I was impressed by some of SW's new curriculum, new clinics, and the diversity of their teaching staff. Some of the other schools I've looked at have a lot of instructors who are teaching at the school at which they received their JD. This isn't necessarily negative, but I know I'd like a meeting of the minds from a variety of schools.

Anyhow, thanks again so much for your ideas. This whole choosing a law school thing is really different than I had believed it to be when I started planning the process and evaluating schools last summer.

Thanks to all!