Law School Discussion

Rankings whores.

Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2006, 09:29:47 AM »
JD, thank you for this thread...

I decided to apply to ND because of a fee waiver, but really started looking into it after the fact.  Interestingly enough, I found that a lot of people from my UG (this is relative, as very few people from my UG go to tier 1 or even tier 2 law schools) chose to attend ND over schools like Northwestern, Michigan, and Cornell.  In fact... all of the ND students that I know were accepted to "better" law schools and were very confident in their choice to go to ND.  Some did so for financial reasons, others because they liked the atmosphere better. The few recent alumni I know have placed really well in big cities across the U.S.    

I'm probably not going to go there, because I didn't like the atmosphere as much as I liked others... but still, the advice given out on this board is sometimes really irksome.    And though this is just one example, I can't help but believe that it happens quite a bit at other "non-T14's" as well.    

Also...if people are *so* worried about rankings, they might want to check out the rankings from the past 20 years or so-- because people who graduated back then are going to be the people running the legal field when we graduate... regardless of the relative placement of xxxx school in the 07 USNWR rankings.  

shae

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2006, 09:44:47 AM »
without reading all of the thread, here is my input.

The rankings DO matter because of what goes into them.  However, I don't think you should use the rankings when deciding between #11 and #15, but deciding between #1 and #15 is a different story.  Same thing holds for t14 vs. #40, I think you should go t14.  As you move down in the rankings, they become less important.  What is the real difference between #50 and #90?  Probably somewhat hard to tell.

aerynn

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2006, 10:54:04 AM »
Something to consider when calling folks "ranking whores."  The list of schools applied to should already be vetted for the "soft factors" and other criteria such as where the candidate wants to practice and/or get from their education.  By the time you are getting acceptances and picking from them you should be picking from a handful of schools that suit you.  Why not pick the highest ranked of that set.

I, personally, only applied to one T14 because only one would suit me.  Does that make me a ranking whore if I go there over a lower ranked school?  No, because you don't know what schools I passed up when submitting my application.  Certainly some folks applied to every school in a particular rankings range and yes, JD's comments are right on point for them.  But for others who are picking from schools already vetted for "suitability" a small difference in rank could be just the narrow margin to break what would be a tie otherwise.

No need to judge other people's process, unless it is making you question your own.

JamesD

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2006, 10:56:41 AM »
Some of you obviously have no idea what I said in my initial and successive posts. 

Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2006, 11:33:36 AM »
I think the whole point the OP was trying to make is that some people who are trying to choose a law school put way too much stock into the USNWR rankings.  USNWR isn't the be-all, end-all of law school.  USNWR's rankings are based entirely on quantitative factors, and it's really silly to choose a law school just based on a bunch of numbers.  What's more, I don't think it's just a coincidence that the top 14 has NEVER changed in the years that USNWR has ranked law schools.

I agree that people should have vetted their initial school list, so that they won't wind up getting into a t14 that they wouldn't want to go to (for instance.)  The rankings vary so much from year to year (other than the t14, of course) that the difference between #15 and #30 may not be as great as you think.  I was considering Washington University in St. Louis but noted that in 1994, it was ranked #48; in 2006 it's ranked #24.  Has the reputation of WUSTL's law school really changed that much over twelve years?  I doubt it.  What's more, the people who are hiring law grads are probably NOT recent grads themselves and are more likely to think of things in terms of the 1994 (or earlier) rankings than the 2006 rankings, if they rely on rankings at all.

JamesD

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Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2006, 11:50:51 AM »
TCS--- exactly.

Pancho --- Have I ever denied the fact that employers know the difference between Duke and Tulane?  No.  I've blatantly stated that some schools have stronger reputations, greater functional value, etc.  I know this.

But do I think my options will be constrained if I attend Tulane over UVA?  No.  I have no aspirations for BIGLAW; I have no interest in academia.  If I wanted to be a law professor or work in NYC BIGLAW, I probably wouldn't be going to Tulane.

And if I really thought I was really limiting my options.. I wouldn't be going to Tulane.  Right or wrong, I am fairly convinced that I'll have very good options with a Tulane degree.

Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2006, 12:17:04 PM »
Ironically, I just noticed a post (anonymous, of course) on my LSN that I'm insane for choosing Alabama with my numbers.  So, yes, these people DO exist, and apparently think that my decision should be based only on rankings as well.

Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #37 on: March 20, 2006, 12:27:02 PM »
I agree with those who have noted that nobody is saying anything new in this thread. Of course weighing individual preferences against USNWR rankings is a personal decision. For many peope, however, the USNWR rankings are a good proxy for lots of personal preferences; there is nothing wrong with this. The rankings represent a rough but fairly accurate (in most cases) summary of a school's employment prospects, professional reputation, and selectivity. These things are apparently very important to a large number of potential law students, but there are certainly factors that the rankings don't incorporate. It is the individual's job to consider those factors as she sees fit.

I also want to suggest that most of the frustration with rankings--and with people who care about them--derives from the fact that the rankings purport to be absolute. That is, schools aren't just grouped (as law students tend to do with the rankings on their own, e.g. T14, T50, etc.), they are set in absolute order according to the factors USNews uses. Once again, this absolute order is pretty accurate for a homoegeneous set of preferences, but clearly law student preferences are heterogeneous. Identify your own preferences and discount the rankings as necessary, but I don't see the point in complaining (in either direction) that other people don't see it your way.

Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #38 on: March 20, 2006, 12:32:29 PM »
Of course personal preferences go a lot into the decision process.  For me, I'd pick living in Birmingham over living in New York any day of the week.  Others may not see it that way, and I understand that.  The problem is that some seem to see rankings as the be-all, end-all, which I do not.

Re: Rankings whores.
« Reply #39 on: March 20, 2006, 12:36:11 PM »
Of course personal preferences go a lot into the decision process.  For me, I'd pick living in Birmingham over living in New York any day of the week.  Others may not see it that way, and I understand that.  The problem is that some seem to see rankings as the be-all, end-all, which I do not.

My point was that this isn't a "problem," it's just different. For some reason though, people seem to resent others who align their personal preferences with the rankings, as if those preferences are any less personal. I don't understand that, or why following the rankings is actually a problem if that's what somebody honestly wants to do. If you're confident in what you're doing, why do you care what other people do?