Law School Discussion

Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?

Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2015, 03:47:45 PM »
Does Cooley still do its own rankings??


Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2015, 04:00:54 PM »
It looks like Cooley has now partnered with Western Michigan University so it is not officially Cooley anymore. see cooley.edu  it also looks like the Cooley rankings ended.

However, I loved the Cooley rankings, because it showed how ridiculous the U.S. News Rankings are.  The U.S. News Rankings has as much authority as the Cooley rankings do they are both magazines.

In my own publication I have been nominated as Trial Lawyer of the Year, been a Superlawyer, and have been given 10 out of 10 stars. I don't actually have my own publication, but I could buy a domain name and then put content up that says I have been ranked the highest of any lawyer. I could then go a printer and print out 100 magazines with a photo of myself saying I am ranked the highest and frame that magazine on my office law.

Or I saw this on a bus stop on the way to work.

Sealy Air Mattresses rated best mattress by a leading consumer magazine.  (Could Sealy Mattress create a magazine and say it sells the best mattresses? Yes.)

So again the point of the original article is rankings don't mean anything. They are opinions and have no actual meaning, but the Cooley rankings were awesome.





 


Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2015, 10:00:04 PM »
The Cooley rankings were awesome. They used criteria like library square footage, but what the hell. Probably made about as much sense as USNWR. What was Cooley's highest rank? Top twenty, IIRC.

Seriously though, I think the Cooley rankings were a significant factor in accounting for people's derision of the school. USNWR is bad enough, but the Cooley rankings seemed so blatantly tailored to ensure a particular outcome. Maybe that was the point? To show how easily rankings can be directed towards a desired outcome?

There used to be a publication called the Gourman Report, don't know if it's still around. It played the rankings game too, but the criteria seemed a little better. I think it tried to avoid totally subjective, intangible stuff like prestige, so you'd see certain schools ranking way higher than on USNWR.

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Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2015, 08:47:13 AM »
"The U.S. News Rankings has as much authority as the Cooley rankings do they are both magazines."

Bull. Look, I'm as critical as USNWR Rankings as anyone, but this backlash deserves a backlash. First, a little history. The internet was not always around or easily available - remember? So USNWR Rankings, while imperfect (which I will get to) provided a great benefit to the clueless 0Ls out there in general- a benefit they still provide. Some information is better than no information.

Second, it is certainly true that there is little difference between #50 and #70. Period. But, in total, the ranking are pretty accurate. There is a great deal of difference between schools ranked at the top and schools ranked at the bottom (or, as I believe they are now, unranked). Why? Because things like school reputation and how competitive the admissions process does matter; and, yes, to bring up the constant examples, Harvard and Yale are better schools than Golden Gate and Cooley. The professors are better. The overall quality of the student body is better. The employment outcomes are better. This is so obvious I didn't think it bears repeating, but apparently it does.

Third, so long as there is further understanding that the USNWR Ranking are kind of a neat starting point, they're fine. They are an aggregate that allows 0Ls to quickly ascertain information like the rough chances that they will get admission to a place, and the "quality" of a place (in terms of employment outcomes, reputation of the schools, academic quality as determined by quality of student body and/or ability to attract and retain great scholar... who may or may not be great professors).

Fourth, I agree with many of the criticisms of the USNWR. Numbers can be, and were, cooked by some of the schools to try and influence rankings. And that's a terrible thing. 0Ls placed too much importance on the rankings in isolation, instead of considering them as a starting point. The rankings can be, and have been, self-reinforcing- after all, since reputation matters so much, once a school is a good school, it will tend to stay there since everyone knows it's a good school, since it's ranked high. Saying something could be better, though, is not the same as saying it is completely useless. For example, USNWR is a good proxy for general admissions chances at a quick glance- lawschoolnumbers is better.

Now, remember the context of the Cooley Rankings. There was a time when so many people were making the (bad) decision to go to law school that Cooley could literally print money off of these poor saps. Only problem was some of them bothered to do a little bit of research. So they decided to engage in a multi-front PR war, including their own rankings. Sure, some of us knew what a joke they were- but I remember how many times, back in the day, some poor 0L would ask about those rankings. Those completely bogus rankings worked for them.

TLDR- We've had the backlash to the rankings; maybe it's time for the backlash to the backlash.


Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2015, 12:57:27 PM »
Again I agree with everything you said, but USNWR does have as much authority as the Cooley Rankings or any other magazines opinion. It is not an official document and it is nothing more than the opinion of people writing a magazine.  Is USNWR more important than the Cooley rankings? Yes without question.  If they said my school could jump to top 25 in the USNWR rankings or Cooley rankings would I prefer to it to rise in the USNWR rankings? Of course.

Would any of my current cases, clients, or anything else I do be impacted by my school raising in the USNWR rankings? No.

 At my hearing this morning, could I have said opposing counsel makes excellent points, but in the most recent publication of USNWR my school was ranked higher than his. Therefore we do not need to delve into this issue any further. No I could not do that.

As always the magic of common sense can go a long way. Does USNWR have some relevance and is Davis a "better" school than McGeorge? Sure.

However, would I pay $100,000 more to attend Davis over McGeorge? Probably not. However, If all things were equal in price and I wanted to live in Sacramento I would choose Davis over McGeorge based on the rankings, because they are both fine schools, but Davis has a far better reputation than McGeorge. Is that repuatation worth a $100,000 to me? No, but to someone else saying they went to the 48th best school instead of the 84th might be worth $100,000. 

In conclusion does USNWR have any more authority than me publishing my own rankings on LSD? No, it doesn't I could rank all the schools and create a formula, if I had time and money to burn. Hell, I could even print out 1,000's of magazines with my rankings, hire a programmer to build a website and go to local newsstands and pay them to sell my law school rankings.  My point is there is no regulatory body monitoring my proposed ranking system, Cooleys,  U.S News or any other magazine. We are all offering opinions, which we are entitled to do, but USNWR opinion matters more than my or Cooley's rankings. 

Conclusion:
U.S. News is a very successful company and it has cashed in on America's obsession with rankings.   More power to them that and I will acknowledge it was a great business decision and I have no issue with what USNWR does. However,  for potential 0L's making the life altering decision of whether to attend law school and where I think they should realize USNWR is nothing more than a magazine. However, I even I acknowledge it has some utility and in all my posts I say use it as a tie-breaker, because it is great for that. My McGeorge/Davis analogy is a perfect for use the rankings. Those are the only two schools in the Sacramento area and Davis is higher ranked so if you want to be live and work in Sacramento and are accepted to both schools. Choose Davis if price etc is the same.

However, if you are accepted to McGeorge and Tulsa do not choose either of those schools based on rank.








Re: Who Should Pay Attention to Rankings?
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2015, 07:14:03 PM »
"The U.S. News Rankings has as much authority as the Cooley rankings do they are both magazines."

Bull. Look, I'm as critical as USNWR Rankings as anyone, but this backlash deserves a backlash. First, a little history. The internet was not always around or easily available - remember? So USNWR Rankings, while imperfect (which I will get to) provided a great benefit to the clueless 0Ls out there in general- a benefit they still provide. Some information is better than no information.

Second, it is certainly true that there is little difference between #50 and #70. Period. But, in total, the ranking are pretty accurate. There is a great deal of difference between schools ranked at the top and schools ranked at the bottom (or, as I believe they are now, unranked). Why? Because things like school reputation and how competitive the admissions process does matter; and, yes, to bring up the constant examples, Harvard and Yale are better schools than Golden Gate and Cooley. The professors are better. The overall quality of the student body is better. The employment outcomes are better. This is so obvious I didn't think it bears repeating, but apparently it does.

Third, so long as there is further understanding that the USNWR Ranking are kind of a neat starting point, they're fine. They are an aggregate that allows 0Ls to quickly ascertain information like the rough chances that they will get admission to a place, and the "quality" of a place (in terms of employment outcomes, reputation of the schools, academic quality as determined by quality of student body and/or ability to attract and retain great scholar... who may or may not be great professors).

Fourth, I agree with many of the criticisms of the USNWR. Numbers can be, and were, cooked by some of the schools to try and influence rankings. And that's a terrible thing. 0Ls placed too much importance on the rankings in isolation, instead of considering them as a starting point. The rankings can be, and have been, self-reinforcing- after all, since reputation matters so much, once a school is a good school, it will tend to stay there since everyone knows it's a good school, since it's ranked high. Saying something could be better, though, is not the same as saying it is completely useless. For example, USNWR is a good proxy for general admissions chances at a quick glance- lawschoolnumbers is better.

Now, remember the context of the Cooley Rankings. There was a time when so many people were making the (bad) decision to go to law school that Cooley could literally print money off of these poor saps. Only problem was some of them bothered to do a little bit of research. So they decided to engage in a multi-front PR war, including their own rankings. Sure, some of us knew what a joke they were- but I remember how many times, back in the day, some poor 0L would ask about those rankings. Those completely bogus rankings worked for them.

TLDR- We've had the backlash to the rankings; maybe it's time for the backlash to the backlash.
So your counterargument is that they are arcane and antiquated ??