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Author Topic: So, who exactly pays attention to USNWR rankings?  (Read 885 times)

PaddyWack

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So, who exactly pays attention to USNWR rankings?
« on: April 05, 2006, 08:41:15 AM »
Besides law students and the admissions committees, that is.

Maybe I'm oversimplifying this a bit, but I just can't see employers eagerly awaiting the new rankings, and comparing them against resumes.  Why are all so worried about it?

SouthSide

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Re: So, who exactly pays attention to USNWR rankings?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2006, 09:06:38 AM »
I agree with this. Employers generally have a good idea of what schools they recognize, which are the ones with national reputations and the strong regional ones in their region.

The rankings may have a longer term effect, however. For example, they have definitely enhanced the Yale mystique in the past twenty years. I don't think it had the same "obviously the best in the world" aura around it before it started being ranked first every single year. That may not have affected opinions at first, but now that many employers are themselves from the generation that has lived with the rankings, it has made a difference.
Columbia 2L.

loki13

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More than you think, less than you fear
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2006, 09:18:57 AM »
This was recorded by a bug in the USNWR headquarters while they were discussing the upcoming law rankings:

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out."

Ohhhhkay... I might be making that up. But in this case, the perception both mirrors reality (Yale and Harvard are pretty good schools) and it creates reality. If USNWR were to suddenly, one year, rank Yale as a T4 would BigLaw stop hiring them? No. But it is the both the reflection and arbiter of the popular will.

When employers look to hire from schools that they are not as familiar with, they need some way to gauge their relative merits. For lack of a better resource, many turn to USNWR. Let's say you're a newly minted Florida Coastal grad trying to get a job with a small firm in Arizona. You will have some difficulty because of your schools perceieved weakness, much moreso than if your school was in the top 100. You would have to be that much more scintillating in your interview.

But it is more important in the way it mirrors the perceived reality. It allows you to indentify the sure bets (the T14-20). It tlets you rank the relative merits of regional schools (What are the best schools in Florida? In the Philly region? In Arizona?)

It gives you a quick reference to figure things out. For example, I can look at the rankings and assume that UArizona is a more highly regraded school in Arizona than ASU. I would be right. I would know that in Florida, the perceived wisdom is that the pecking order goes UF, FSU, UMiami, with the rest (Stetson, FIU, Florida Coastal etc.) bringing up the rear. I'd be right there as well.*

But this is true only in the generalities. It gives you a place to begin your search, not a place to end it. Once you get of the T14-T20, rankings matter less and less. But.... think of all the people you've met, both prospective law school students and law school students who trtuly believe that a school ranked 40 is better than a school ranked 75. Now remember that many of these same people will be making hiring decisions in the future,,,, woe is the world...

USNWR is a tool. A good tool. But if you rely on it too much, you'll be a tool.

*See the long debate over this- yes, UM is good for jobs in SE FLA. FSU is good for govt. jobs. Stetson has some nice trial advocacy. But overall, this is a true statement.

HippieLawChick

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Re: So, who exactly pays attention to USNWR rankings?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2006, 09:34:30 AM »


When employers look to hire from schools that they are not as familiar with, they need some way to gauge their relative merits. For lack of a better resource, many turn to USNWR.


How do you know this?  I have worked at 2 firms and no one there ever looked at the rankings on USNWR. 

yiplong

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Re: So, who exactly pays attention to USNWR rankings?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2006, 10:01:27 AM »


When employers look to hire from schools that they are not as familiar with, they need some way to gauge their relative merits. For lack of a better resource, many turn to USNWR.


How do you know this?  

Good question.  I am amazed by the ability of posters on this board to get hold of seemingly 'inside' information. 

HippieLawChick

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Re: So, who exactly pays attention to USNWR rankings?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2006, 10:54:20 AM »


When employers look to hire from schools that they are not as familiar with, they need some way to gauge their relative merits. For lack of a better resource, many turn to USNWR.


How do you know this?   

Good question.  I am amazed by the ability of posters on this board to get hold of seemingly 'inside' information. 

You are right.  On this board, we seem to have quite a few people who are best friends with named partners at the top 25 law firms in the US, have lunch with the HYS Deans and are financial experts.  Amazing!

Angelina1

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Re: So, who exactly pays attention to USNWR rankings?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2006, 11:06:23 AM »
status-obsessed xoxo'ers, for a start.  :D
Michigan Law Class of 2009

macheko

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Re: So, who exactly pays attention to USNWR rankings?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2006, 11:16:50 AM »
the partner at the firm i work at over the summer (a small one) knows exactly where his alma mater is ranked in specialty rankings even.
when he hired me he commented on the strengths of both my undergrad and prospective law school, and even wanted to know whether i was accepted to the full or part-time law program.

wunder

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Re: So, who exactly pays attention to USNWR rankings?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2006, 12:08:39 PM »
I work for an attorney who is on our firm's (large midwest law firm) recruiting committee.  Every year the USNWR rankings are distributed to all the members of the committee.  I don't think this is so much so they can gauge miniscule movements in the T14 schools; I get the feeling it has more to do with whether they should add/remove any schools on the recruiting list and also whether the local T2-4 schools are generally moving up or down.

powpow62

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Re: So, who exactly pays attention to USNWR rankings?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2006, 12:23:06 PM »
I use the rankings as a gage to which direction programs are headed.