although everyone pays attention to them, the usnews rankings ought to be taken with some measure of skepticism, especially since the response rates of evaluators is extremely low. movements of only several places (up or down) are almost meaningless, especially if a given school has seen a lot of movement recently.that said, obsess away....
right. but the problem is that the folks who are asked to evaluate the reputation of a school, particularly the judge/lawyer score, rarely fill out the form. i think the response rate is something like 30%. i'm not saying that might not be statistically valid, but you're almost better off just talking to alums of the schools you're interested in, as well as other folks who are part of the legal community so you can get more nuanced and complete answers to your concerns about reputation.
1) Harvard. didnt lose any spots, but lets face it, it could be #1. what is holding it back? its larger class size. Shrink the class size,(this will help in both acceptance rate and student/faculty ratio) hire some more profs too, and send out a bunch of fee waivers to auto-rejects.
the usnews ranking are tremendously influential, even with people who are familiar with the methodology. no doubt about it. that's why schools do what they can to move up in the rankings. i'm sure the deans of all of the schools even hear from alumni when a schools ranking drops. who wouldn't want to be a graduate of a highly ranked school?however, among most people who really make a difference in the legal community from our perspective (i.e. hiring partners, academics, etc.), i don't think slight changes matter a whole lot. good schools are good schools on the whole, and what really matters in the end is how a given student performs at that school. in spite of boalt's decline, it's reputation rankings are still pretty good; in fact, better than some schools ranked higher than it.reputations aren't made in a year, or even two or three. i'd definitely pay attention if a school had sustained movement in this factor, one way or the other.