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HR6352

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For those who don't like rankings...
« on: December 30, 2009, 04:31:36 AM »
What's your alternative?  Everybody gets guaranteed a job after law school that pays the exact same amount?  Or how about instead of LSAT scores and GPAs everybody gets to spend a weekend fishing with every single admissions counselor?   :)

EarlCat

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Re: For those who don't like rankings...
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2009, 01:52:51 PM »
Good ideas.  Thanks!

nerfco

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Re: For those who don't like rankings...
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2009, 02:43:41 PM »
Good ideas.  Thanks!

Assuming this is sarcastic, I agree with Earl.

I'm unsure what this post is trying to suggest. Can you clarify?

bigs5068

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Re: For those who don't like rankings...
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2010, 01:03:02 AM »
They should do it more like the NCAA and rank the top 25 and make it more of an honor instead of trying to distinguish between the 73rd and 114th best school. How the hell can you really tell the difference outside of the top 20-25 schools the schools are respected only in their region.  Pepperdine is really well regarded in L.A., but on the East Coast nobody has even heard of it. Cardozo the same deal, nobody on the West Coast has heard of it.

I really don't see how it is possible to distinguish once you outside of the top 20 or so schools. Everybody knows the Ivy League schools and UCLA, USC, University of Michigan and so on. However, once you get outside of those nationally known schools tell me how you measure the difference between Willamette and Hamline, or Gonzaga and Texas Wesleyan. Really what makes the 100th best school better than the 122nd?  

Contract2008

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Re: For those who don't like rankings...
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2010, 02:00:51 PM »
They should do it more like the NCAA and rank the top 25 and make it more of an honor instead of trying to distinguish between the 73rd and 114th best school. How the hell can you really tell the difference outside of the top 20-25 schools the schools are respected only in their region.  Pepperdine is really well regarded in L.A., but on the East Coast nobody has even heard of it. Cardozo the same deal, nobody on the West Coast has heard of it.

I really don't see how it is possible to distinguish once you outside of the top 20 or so schools. Everybody knows the Ivy League schools and UCLA, USC, University of Michigan and so on. However, once you get outside of those nationally known schools tell me how you measure the difference between Willamette and Hamline, or Gonzaga and Texas Wesleyan. Really what makes the 100th best school better than the 122nd?  

Well, the incoming class of 100th best law school has an average undergrad GPA of 3.45 compare that to the 122nd best school's class of 3.14. 

StonewallJacksonFan

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Re: For those who don't like rankings...
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2010, 02:02:58 PM »
you can tell them apart by what top % of your class you need to be in order to get a biglaw job - there is direct correlation between top 100 school rank and percentage of students awarded biglaw job.  See link below.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202443758843&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1

bigs5068

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Re: For those who don't like rankings...
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2010, 04:11:25 PM »
I am not disputing Big Law and the rankings, I know it means something there.  However, if you are going to the 82nd or 122nd best school you are probably not going to Big Law.

There is more to it than the GPA this is how they rank schools as listed specifically in U.S. News, which to me seems almost purely subjective.

Purely Subjective Opinions, or Quality Assessment
Peer Assessment Score (.25)

Assessment Score by Lawyers/Judges (.15)

Who these lawyers and judges are that account for 40% of the rankings I do not know.  Obviously, they are alumni of one of the schools and therefore I would not surprised if they played favorites and took money.  U.S. News is a private company and the ABA and LSAC specifically state on their website to not take the rankings seriously. This "QUALITY ASSESSMENT" seems like a big reason why.

Selectivity
Median LSAT Scores (.125) (this is a legitimate statistic, the LSAT is a test that actually means something. This only makes up 12% of your ranking though.

Median Undergrad GPA (.10) Somewhat objective, but I have a hard time with undedrgrad GPA's. Obviously, depending on your major it will be far different. Had I taken molecular biology or physics I would not have over a 3.0 and I am assuming a lot of people in law school wouldn't either. However, they performed really in their history major or creative writing. Honestly, had I known I was going to law school during undergrad I would have majored in religious studies and gotten a 4.0. I really think they need to change this, because it is really is not fair to people that have hard majors. Please do not say that History is the same as Molecular Biology or Physics. Those two classes are far harder than History etc.

Acceptance Rate (.025) This makes up only 2%, but schools screw with this stat. Schools that were obviously going to reject me sent me fee waivers, solely to reject me to make their numbers look better. Penn State, Case Western,  and some other ones sent me fee waivers so I would apply then they would reject me and they could boost this stat to show they rejected people. Get this one out of here, because schools toy with this.  It makes up only 2% so it is not that big of a deal.

Placement Success (weighted by .20) The first legit statistic. This is a completely legitimate statistic and should be given more weight than it is. You really want to know the placement of graduates, no question.

Bar Passage Rate (.02) It is shocking that bar passage rate makes up 2% of a schools rank. The only two things that should be measured in the rankings is placement and bar passage rate yet they make up only 22% of the rankings.

Ask the 1 or 2% of Harvard and Yale Grads that didn't pass the bar and ask them how much the fact that there schools are ranked #1 or #2 in the rankings means to them.

It is shocking to me that a formula like this means so much to schools and potential student, as you can see 40% of the rankings are based completely on subjective opinons. Quality assessment, who are these people measuring it???  Then the thing that REALLY MATTERS BAR PASSAGE AND PLACEMENT RATE MAKES UP ONLY 22% of the ranking that is ridiculous to me at least.

So that is my problem with the rankings, obviously Big Law cares about it and Big Law Firms and I know Harvard and Yale and the Ivy league schools great. I don't think that is a newsflash to anyone though. However, when you use these highly subjective rankings to distinguish between Chapman and Gonzaga or Williamette and Regent. I personally think it is ridiculous that U.S. News makes millions of dollars of this ridiculous ranking system and law students are dooped into making life altering decisions based on these rankings.  If you go to a Tier 3 or Tier 4 school or the 98th best the schools are pretty much regional and you shouldn't go the 87th best school in a place you have no desire to live in and pass up the 114th best school in the location you do want to live in. It is ridiculous to distinguish, between them. It just really aggravates me this whole system.

StonewallJacksonFan

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Re: For those who don't like rankings...
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2010, 04:31:03 PM »
what do you suggest - group all the schools below T20 into officially termed Second Tier Toilet category?  It will never, happen because there are always differences between schools and somebody will always try to  make money by ranking these schools.

Whether there is difference University of San Francisco and Golden Gate University?  In terms of job opportunities, it might not be much, but in the end there are differences that may make one school better than the other.  The fact that "Public Respectability" or something of that sort playing a huge role in the rankings is another matter, because respect essentially feeds on itself, like religion.  Why is there God? Because we wrote it on a piece of paper and believe in this statement.  Same about HYS - at some point a belief was raised that these schools are the best and now this belief is simply there and I am not sure what will make it go away.
I mean if GGU and SU today exchanged its facilities and faculty do you think that their ranking positions would be exchanged?  No way, their rankings would barely budge.  It is an unfair world and you, as a future lawyer, should simply learn to understand these inequities and exploit them to your benefit.

bigs5068

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Re: For those who don't like rankings...
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2010, 05:17:02 PM »
I would say that no ABA school is a toilet school and if you are not going to Harvard or Yale or the elite schools you will have to work harder to get employment, but you can still succeed and even be a better lawyer than someone who went to Harvard. In your opening statement a Harvard Grad can't say say your honor I went to Harvard opposing counsel went to Florida State, therefore I deserve summary judgment. No you will have to fight opposing counsel no matter what school they went to.

I think that U.S News is ridiculous and people should not alter their lives like I nearly did based on their subjective opinions of what is a tier 3 or 4.  

Law school is what you make of it and whether you went to Harvard or Cooley you can succeed. It is without question the Harvard Grad will have an easier start and probably 9 out of 10 times the Harvard Grad will have the tools to be a better lawyer than a  Cooley Grad I am not going to sit here and argue that. It is quite an accomplishment to get into Harvard I knew that when I was 5 years old, but even if you went to Harvard it doesn't mean you are going to just win every case. It is like being a number #1 draft pick in the NBA or NFL, the undrafted free agent that is on the field or court with you does not give a damn that you were number #1 pick and they will come at you with everything they got. Same thing a Cooley Grad in litigation with a Harvard Grad will come at them with everything they have, the Harvard Grad will probably win most of the time, but it's not certain. I am also sure there are some bad Harvard educated lawyers out there and some great Cooley ones.  Obviously, Harvard is winning this battle, 9 out of 10 times, but you still have to prove you are a good lawyer no matter what school you go to. Just like a number #1 draft pick has to prove it. See Kwame Brown, Michael Olowankandi, Jamarcus Russell and so on who were number #1 picks with all kinds of hype and advantage coming in, but they didn't back it up.  

See Tom Brady 6th Round Pick nobody expected anything from him and he could be the greatest quarterback of all time. Brett Favre another example. My whole point is that going to one of these allegedly Top Schools is great, but you still have to make a name for yourself once your out there in practice.  

To continue this analogy and how unimpressed I am by the takings I will use the five professors I have this semester at GGU three of my professors went to Harvard, one went to NYU, and the other went to Williamette. The best professor went to Williamete he is everyone's favorite and is one of the best lawyers in the Bay Area and he has Stanford Grads working under him. The NYU Grad is the worst professor I have ever had. I truly think I know more than her after 1 semester, she has been corrected in class twice for getting defamation wrong I am not impressed that she went to NYU I do not think she is smart in fact it is embarrassing how bad she is. The other three Harvard people are great professors also, but far and away the Williamette one is the best and I don't care that he went to Williamette and neither have the numerous juries and judges who have giving him victories.

I am just trying to say that rankings are idiotic and I already knew that Harvard was a better school than Cooley I didn't need a magazine to tell me that. Furthermore, even if you go to Harvard or Yale you have to prove yourself, law school and practice are two different things. As I said already Harvard and Yale students are in general more motivated and just brilliant standardized test takers and are for the most part smarter. However, if you want to be a lawyer don't get up in these idiotic rankings common sense will tell you what to do. If you have a 157 and 3.4 or something your probably not going to Harvard and probably not going to work in Big Law, which is the main place rankings matter. So sure if you are 170 LSAT 4.0 student then get caught up in the rankings it means something to Big Law firms. However, if you are deciding between Chapman and Gonzaga or Marquette and Florida State. BIG LAW is probably not in your future realistically and you will probably get a job near where you went to school

nerfco

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Re: For those who don't like rankings...
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2010, 06:12:06 PM »
Then the thing that REALLY MATTERS BAR PASSAGE AND PLACEMENT RATE MAKES UP ONLY 22% of the ranking that is ridiculous to me at least.

I hope you can see the flaws in merely measuring bar passage rate.

First, some states have far higher bar passage rates than others. This would give an edge to School A which is in an "easy" state over School B, which is in a "hard" state. You could normalize for this by comparing the school's rate to the average passage rate, but even that might skew things. (Could skew it because, for example, more unqualified applicants take the California bar than other bars, due to allowing a wider range of people to take the bar.)

Second, law school is not a bar prep course. Or, at least, top law schools are not bar prep courses. I suppose you can argue that it should be a bar prep course, but I'm not really sure that is true or how many people would agree with that.

As far as "placement rate"--it is hard to say what that means. A lot of placement could be self-selection. (E.g. a law school in a state without any biglaw may place terribly in biglaw, but perhaps many of the students chose that school because they wanted to work in that state rather than work in biglaw.) How do you weigh biglaw against a clerkship or a public interest job? I guess you could survey students and ask how many are happy with their jobs, but that doesn't really tell you a lot, given that students will adjust their expectations to where they attend school. (ie. Someone at HLS may be a bit disappointed they work at a V20 instead of a V5, while someone at UofC will be really happy they managed to secure a paying job at all.)