Yes subjectivity is important and it does have merit at times. Even in the legal world subjectivity, makes a difference most of the law is in of itself subjective and that's why Supreme Court decisions go 5-4 all the time, because the law is in a large part subjective opinion.
However, the rankings subjective opinion really screws with applicants and students. Harvard, Yale etc are great schools I knew that before U.S. news put them in a ranking.
My problem and concern for potential and current students is that people at the 99th best school will think they are really entitled to something more than a student at the 122nd best school, but that is not the case. I know 3 student's that transferred from GGU to USF or Santa Clara thinking it would open all kinds of doors that GGU wouldn't I mean USF and Santa Clara are tier 2's employers must be jumping through hoops to get a tier 2 grad right? Actually truth is not really those people were in the same boat trying to find internships with nobody tracking them down and they got basically the same thing they would have been doing at GGU, but they just lost 70,000 in scholarship money they would have gotten at GGU. Otherwise everything else essentially the same. Now had they transferred into Stanford that would be a whole other story, because that does open doors and U.S. news subjective opinion is right on there. Harvard, Yale, Stanford are pretty f'ing good schools and some VERY SMART people go there.
However, when they get into distinguishing between 111 and 89 I think applicants like me get concerned and nearly horrendous life altering decisions, by moving to a location they have no desire to live in or transferring up for no apparent purpose like going from GGU to USF. That is my real issue with the rankings is that law students particularly applicants are naive and put so much emphasis on the rankings when it doesn't matter for the most part. Tell me the difference between Williamette, Franklin Pierce, Florida International, Georgia State, Faulkner, McGeorge, Gonzaga, University of North Dakota, California Western, Mercer, Texas Wesleyan, Barry, Southwestern, Suffolk I mean the list goes on and the truth is none of those schools are going to have employers knocking your door down, but you can get a career going from any of them. I think Gonzaga is 99 or something while Suffolk is 121 I don't know what the actual rankings are, but if the person wants to live in Boston he should NOT go to Gonzaga despite it being ranked 22 spots higher in my hypo. That is because 99 or 121 is not going to have people dropping their jaws. Long rant again, but the rankings really piss me off you are right that subjectivity plays a part in the law, in school, and basically everything in life. However, I just have a problem when they are making these subjective statements regarding schools outside of the top 25 or so and almost passing them off as fact that law school applicants take very seriously.