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Author Topic: U.S. News Report's rankings are 40% worthless...  (Read 4088 times)

rider06

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U.S. News Report's rankings are 40% worthless...
« on: April 01, 2006, 11:21:31 AM »
Seriously look at their criteria:

Quote
Quality Assessment (weighted by .40)
Peer Assessment Score (.25)
In the fall of 2005, law school deans, deans of academic affairs, the chair of faculty appointments, and the most recently tenured faculty members were asked to rate programs on a scale from "marginal" (1) to "outstanding" (5). Those individuals who did not know enough about a school to evaluate it fairly were asked to mark "don't know." A school's score is the average of all the respondents who rated it. Responses of "don't know" counted neither for nor against a school. About 67 percent of those surveyed responded.


Assessment Score by Lawyers/Judges (.15)
In the fall of 2005, legal professionals, including the hiring partners of law firms, state attorneys general, and selected federal and state judges, were asked to rate programs on a scale from "marginal" (1) to "outstanding" (5). Those individuals who did not know enough about a school to evaluate it fairly were asked to mark "don't know." A school's score is the average of all the respondents who rated it. Responses of "don't know" counted neither for nor against a school. About 26 percent of those surveyed responded.


Selectivity (weighted by .25)
Median LSAT Scores (.125)
The median of the scores on the Law School Admissions Test of the 2005 entering class of the full-time J.D. program.


Median Undergrad GPA (.10)
The median of the undergraduate grade point average of the 2005 entering class of the full-time J.D. program.


Acceptance Rate (.025)
The proportion of applicants to the full-time program who were accepted for entry into the 2005 entering class.


Placement Success (weighted by .20)
Employment Rates for Graduates
The employment rates for 2004 graduating class. Graduates who are working or pursuing graduate degrees are considered employed. Those graduates not seeking jobs are excluded. Employment rates are measure at graduation (.04) and nine months after graduation (.14). For the nine-month employment rate, 25 percent of those whose status is unknown are counted as employed.


Bar Passage Rate (.02)
The ratio of the school's bar passage rate of the 2004 graduating class to that jurisdiction's overall state bar passage rate for first-time test takers in summer 2004 and winter 2005. The jurisdiction listed is the state where the largest number of 2004 graduates took the state bar exam.


Faculty Resources (weighted by .15)
Expenditures Per Student

The average expenditures per student for the 2004 and 2005 fiscal years. The average instruction, library, and supporting services (.0975) are measured, as are all other items, including financial aid (.015).


Student/Faculty Ratio (.03)

The ratio of students to faculty members for the fall 2005 class, using the American Bar Association definition.


Library Resources (.0075)

The total number of volumes and titles in the school's law library at the end of the 2005 fiscal year.

See how 40% of the damn rankings are simply what others think of the school?  Bar passage rates and employment statistics are collectively given only half of that.

Unfortunately though, they have a monopoly on the market of rankings so they can pretty much do whatever they want, and people (including lawyers and future lawyers who should be more skeptical of things like this) take these rankings for 100% accuracy and truth

"V"

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Re: U.S. News Report's rankings are 40% worthless...
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2006, 11:31:16 AM »
Well, I agree with what the OP is saying - I just think it's a point that's been made before. For my part, I used the self-adjustable ranking tool (I forget where) and also other ranking sources in choosing where I wanted to go. Then, of course, there's always just analyzing the factors that ARE important to you.

However, I would make one point, we should all put less faith in USNEWS, yes. But future lawyers (all of us) are not necessarily foolish to put faith in USNEWS rankings, solely because we know that the people who will be hiring us and working with us WILL be looking at those. It would be a VERY foolish move to go to a T4 over a T1 with the intent of discussing the lack of merits of USNEWS with a future employer. Many of us HATE USNEWS rankings, but just like the LSAT, however inaccurate, annoying, or process-clogging it may be, we need to recognize the importance of each tool to those in the profession we are entering.

redemption

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Re: U.S. News Report's rankings are 40% worthless...
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2006, 11:39:25 AM »
See how 40% of the damn rankings are simply what others think of the school?  Bar passage rates and employment statistics are collectively given only half of that.


Is this a joke? Good lord.

moonpie

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Re: U.S. News Report's rankings are 40% worthless...
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2006, 11:41:21 AM »
Assuming this isn't flame...
Employment statistics and job placement reflect what potential employers (that pesky 'other people') think of your school.
So about 60% is what other people think of your school. Which makes sense--would you shell out $ for the best legal education in the world even if nobody would hire you?

"V"

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Re: U.S. News Report's rankings are 40% worthless...
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2006, 12:03:22 PM »
See how 40% of the damn rankings are simply what others think of the school?  Bar passage rates and employment statistics are collectively given only half of that.


Is this a joke? Good lord.

Stalker.  ;D

redemption

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Re: U.S. News Report's rankings are 40% worthless...
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2006, 12:08:08 PM »
You got me.  ;)

queencruella

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Re: U.S. News Report's rankings are 40% worthless...
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2006, 01:06:10 PM »
The 40% makes sense to me, since law firms hire based on a school's reputation. On the other hand, employment statistics can be easily manipulated.  We just know that people are employed, not whether they got jobs they were remotely interested in.

ScienceAndLaw

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Re: U.S. News Report's rankings are 40% worthless...
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2006, 02:56:50 PM »
IMO I think 80% of the score should be on what LAWYERS and ACADEMICS think of the school.  These are the people in charge of hiring and the people you will be associated most with for the rest of your life.  In fact -- putting 20% on employment rate is complete crap for the T10 because all are like 98%+.  Thus, it magnifies insignificant differences.  I really only look at the reputation rankings of the schools when using USNWR.

blocke123

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Re: U.S. News Report's rankings are 40% worthless...
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2006, 05:41:39 PM »
IMO I think 80% of the score should be on what LAWYERS and ACADEMICS think of the school.  These are the people in charge of hiring and the people you will be associated most with for the rest of your life.  In fact -- putting 20% on employment rate is complete crap for the T10 because all are like 98%+.  Thus, it magnifies insignificant differences.  I really only look at the reputation rankings of the schools when using USNWR.

Agree with the above. The perception of lawyers/judges are what I am concerned with (I don't care what "colleagues" say either).  However, one major issue is that so few, <30%, respond to this question.  This would lead me to believe there could be some selectivity bias in this number.
Wants to meet me under the bleachers: DePaul ($$$), John Marshall ($$$ withdrawn), American, Miami (withdrawn), IOWA, Kent ($$)
Wants to meet me by the bike rack: Indiana
Told me they need to wash their hair: Loyola

tsteadman

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Re: U.S. News Report's rankings are 40% worthless...
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2006, 07:08:29 PM »
Be honest, the rankings are more than 40% worthless...

Do you really need a magazine to tell you that Yale, Stanford, Harvard, Colombia, Penn, etc. are among the best schools in the country? 

Do you need US News ranking mythology to know that Suffolk and New England School of law are not as prestigious as BC, Boston U and that BC and BU are not as prestigious as Harvard?

The most dangerous part of the rankings is between tier 2 and tier 3 schools.  I don't think that there is a big difference in the quality of education one would get at the University of Denver (ranked 95 last year) and the University of Arkansas (tier 3 and where I am attending).  They are very similar in selectivity (Uark=24.4%; DU=24.5%), LSAT (DU's 75% is 2 points higher), GPA (Uark is slightly higher), employment (Uark=87.2%; DU=90.9%).  University of Arkansas actually crushed DU's bar passage rate (85% to 61%).  Despite all of these similarities, there are drastic differences which should effect someone's choice more than tier 2 v. tier 3.  DU is a big law school, in a major city while University of Arkansas is a small law school attached to a big university in a college town.  DU is a private school and carries a big price tag, while Arkansas is a public university with very low tuition.  The University of Arkansas is right for me, but DU might be right for someone else.  Regardless the fact that one is tier 2 and one is tier 3 shouldn't impact the decision, when you consider how close they are numerically.