Law School Discussion

US News Rankings are Bogus

Jolie Was Here

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Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2006, 04:09:35 AM »
There, there.  Don't fret, Mitch.  If you're looking for someone here to validate your choices, all you have to do is ask. 

Hastings is just about the best school out there.  Everybody else is just jealous. 

Better now?

Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2006, 04:27:30 AM »
If you are looking for someone else to agree that Hastings is a better school than its USNWR ranking would suggest, look no further...based on my criteria, I absolutely agree with you. At the same time, it is foolish to point your finger at USNWR and call the rankings bogus. They are just as legitimate as any other, and certainly moreso than many. They publish their methodology and their data. You can easily use their data to create your own rankings based on what is important to you. Better yet, make your own ranking using whatever combination of data and other rankings that makes the most sense to you, based on what you are looking for in a law school. You're going to come up with different numbers - that doesn't mean any of the rankings are "bogus" - they are just using different criteria.
Hastings used to be ranked around 20 by USNWR, but it has definitely gone downhill in more recent years. It lost and has not been able to replace its once mighty faculty. It is also in the unfortunate position of being the 3rd best school (and not even close to #2) in an extremely competitive market. Its student quality is better than the school quality, mainly because there are lots of good students who want to go to school in the bay area and were rejected by Stanford and Boalt, schools that are exceedingly difficult to get into (like Fordham being way behind CLS and NYU in New York.) Similarly, grads of those two schools have their pick of the best jobs in the area...leaving Hastings with only 60+ percent of its students employed at graduation, a rather pitiful number. Combined with the gargantuan student to faculty ratio, the USNWR ranking makes a lot of sense. You can come up with one that is better for your individual purposes that may very well be higher, but it could be lower as well (if you weight % employed at graduation and student-faculty ratio more heavily, for example) - none of these rankings would be "bogus."

Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2006, 08:48:30 AM »
This same post appears here:

Unfortunately, Leiter's blog links to it today.


Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2006, 10:36:27 AM »
At this point the OP's obviously pulling an AmyT - just embracing his idiocy to draw a few more minutes of attention to himself.  No law student could be this ignorant this long unintntionally.

Vapid, please.  You were doing so well until this post... ::)

I love these threads, when "boyfriends" of "law students" get, ahem, pwned.  RepeaTTTedly.

Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2006, 02:02:37 PM »
Yes I also cross posted this over at my blog.

So far I think people have made some good points but none convincing enough to prove me wrong. Namely, nobody has provided any major factors or studies other than the US News rankings themselves that have Hastings lower than 43. So despite the fact that you have knocked SOME of the studies I have cited, my general argument still stands - which is that every other alternative ranking out there has Hastings higher.

I've also been trying to ignore the smack talking, apparantly there are a lot of children who post on this site...

I agree with Michigan student that the Brennan rankings are old and should be discounted.

"The median salary ranking (as mentioned before) is from 1996. I've already mentioned that he also misreports the ranking as being tied with Boalt. "

Look, I already answered this one. Yes that data is old but I found the most recent salary data from last year and it has Hastings at 30 and UC Davis (9 ranks ahead of hastings in US News) at 45 for salary. Again, the salary data cuts heavily against US News' ranking.

"The student quality ranking is nothing more than a list of 75th percentile LSAT scores, and the poster again misreports the ranking (he claims Hastings is 34, but is in fact 36)."

Leiter's student quality ranking is LSAT plus GPA. And 36 is still well higher than US News' 43.

And no, that doesn't just leave two rankings. Your own Ciolli firm study that YOU cited had Hastings way higher than US News' 43.

And I think you are way off base to be throwing the bar passage rates out the window. Hastings comes in higher than USC and UC Davis - two schools in the same BAR state that US News has ranked way higher.

Anyways, it's clear from the firm recruiting statistics and the salary statistics that at least the firms know that US News is wrong. They know that Hastings is a better lawyer factory than say UC Davis.

Say what you will against my studies but you have cited NO STUDIES (except for alamar? which nobody linked to) of your own that have found the same as US News... the weight of the evidence still cuts against the US News ranking.

Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2006, 06:19:31 PM »
Finally found some link to the "Alamar" rankings from some other thread on this site:

The 2007 list has Hastings at 39 which I think is still a little low but it's still 4 spots ahead of US News. Of course, this list also has Georgetown at 31 so I'm not sure if it is a very trustworthy measure. Also, the link to the ranking from the thread is dead, so is the alamar foundation website.

"You cannot claim that one ranking is wrong on the grounds that it has different results than rankings which measure different things."

Well I guess that is the whole point. US News claims its rankings are a ranking of "America's Best Law Schools." Yet by all of these alternative measures that I have cited, the criteria US News used to determine this ranking GOT IT WRONG. They are not an accurate measure of the best law schools.

I think the Leiter critique that I posted in here clarified this. US News uses many bogus measures. I think the alternative studies I posted shows that it also churns out BOGUS RESULTS.

For example, consider that 25% of it is based on a "peer assessment score" of people across the country who know nothing about most of these schools and have probably never visited them. Consider what the well respected Professor Bainbridge posted on this criteria 2 years ago:

"My friend Wisconsin law professor Gordon Smith, who has a vote in this year's US News rankings because he's chairing the school's appointments committee, blogs:

The U.S. News survey just arrived. I am torn: should I toss it or sell my votes? Or should I be a good citizen and do what they ask: "Identify the schools you are familiar with, and then rate the academic quality of their J.D. program at each of these schools." (Look at the syntactical errors! Ugh!)
As I look over the list, I realize that my impressions of most schools on the list are based on wispy thin evidence, such as contact with a single faculty member. I have visited about 30 of the schools, but even the vivid image of a law school building tells me little about what U.S. News is trying to measure. Nevertheless, thousands of law students will shape their preferences in accord with what I and hundreds of people pretty much like me write on this survey. That's crazy."

So yes, I do disagree with you Michigan student. Leiter's and Bainbridge's critiques point out the flawed reasoning that US News uses. My alternative studies show that it's churning out bogus results.

I refuse to follow your relativist reasoning that you can't compare two different studies that measure two different things. I think you need to consider all of the studies out there and the weight of the evidence clearly cuts against the US News rankings.

Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2006, 06:27:53 PM »
"Why did Leiter link to that idiot post?

I know he hates the US News rankings, and levels some legitimate complaints, but he attached himself to idiocy (Brennan rankings) and outright lies (claiming by a "Leiter ranking" it's 20th for "top firm recruiting").

I'm guessing he didn't even read what he was linking to, outside of the title."

Again, dispensing with the childish smack talking...

I already agreed that Brennan's rankings are old and should be discounted. And no, the top firm recruitment was not an outright lie - go to the list - hastings is in the group with over 200 big firms recruiting out of it, tied for 20th place with BC, BU, emory, fordham, UNC, notre dame, USC, and William & Mary. (

Stop repeating stuff that I have already answered.

Jolie Was Here

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Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2006, 08:15:13 PM »
You are finally starting to build the semblance of argument, but you're still inept.  I shouldn't have to walk you through the process, but I will so that you can finally discuss substance at some point in the future, rather than spewing the kind of drivel that has filled the pages of this thread for so long.

Here is the argument you ought to be trying to make:

Argument #1
Premise: US News purports to be a ranking of the top American law Schools.
Premise: In determining their rankings, US News relied on factors x, y, and z.
Premise: However, factors x, y, and z are either a) not measured properly, b) not weighted properly, or c) not relevant to a determination of what constitutes a top American law school.
Conclusion #1: US News rankings do not successfully measure the top American law schools.

Argument #2
Premise: Factors r, s, and t are more accurate and/or more appropriate measures of what constitutes a top American law school.
Premise: When judged on these factors, schools A, B, and C perform much better than would have been expected based on their US News ranking.
Conclusion #2: Schools A, B, and C are better law schools than would have been expected based on their US News ranking.

Here is the argument you tried to make, which is illegitimate:

Premise: Ranking #1, which measures factors x, y, and z places school A at #50.
Premise: Ranking #2, which measures factor r places school A at #10.
Premise: Ranking #3, which measures factor s, places school A at #20.
Premise: Ranking #4, which measures factor t, places school A at #30.
Conclusion: Ranking #1 is incorrect.

See the difference?


If you've been following along, this line of argument would fall under Premise #3 of Argument #1.  That's just for your own reference, in case you lose track of your argument.

The natural response, of course, to your one anecdote regarding a law professor who claims to be only passingly familiar with certain schools is "The Durability of Law School Reputation" a 1998 article from The Journal of Legal Education, in which its author, Richard Schmalbeck, found that the reputations (and reputation scores) of law schools have remained virtually unchanged since the introduction of US News Rankings in 1987 (indeed, there is a great degree of consistency dating as far back as the 1974 survey, replete with methodological challenges though it was).  Given the level of consistency over time, the argument that the reputation scores are the result of poorly informed deans making arbitrary distinctions based on tenuous connections seems untennable.

Additionally, the Peer Assessment Score correlates with (and thus serves as a proxy for) such factors as: success of placement in academia, clerkship rates and clerkship placement, quality of faculty (both research and instruction), and quality of scholarly resources (libraries, journals, etc).  Given the importance each of these factors should have in determining the top American law schools, using this as the basis for 25% of the total score seems eminently reasonable. 


First, a helpful little piece of advice for the future.  If you are going to make an argument, you ought to make it yourself.  Relying on constant quotes from a guy like Leiter, who is a joke among many members of the legal community, will only make you look bad.  It is tantamount to me starting a thread entitled "The Right to Choice is BOGUS" and then just linking you to Rush Limbaugh's website.  Also, most of us have read those quotes.  If we're not already convinced by him, why would your re-posting the same material have any discernable effect?  There's no point in speaking if you argument has already been made, and better, in a location just as readily accessable.

Second, you really need to be more careful with your word choice.  For instance, when you post rankings of Hastings that range from #11 to #36, claim that there is "no statistical variance" among those, and then claim that these rankings "show" that another ranking placing Hastings at #43 is bogus.  Even if it weren't illigitimate to use the results of some rankings to discredit others (which is is when they measure different things; don't ever forget that), the #43 is not an outlier - the value would still be reasonable given the dispersion of other rankings.  You can't automatically lop off the lowest or highest values simply becuase they are low or high.

Third (and this is the one that will save you the most heartache in the end), your argument is bound to fail.  Now I've been playing along becuase its fun and becuase you make such a good punching bag, but in the end, even if you frame the argument correctly and take some time to articulate all the points properly, you won't recieve any satisfaction.  Why?  Becuase there are no objectively true, perfectly quantifiable standards for what makes a law school better than another.  They just don't exist. 

Here's a very simple, but great example:  Let's assume that we can all agree that a school with smarter kids makes it better.  School A has 25/50/75 LSAT of 164/168/171; School B has a 25/50/75 LSAT of 153/168/180.  Which school is better? (hint: there's not going to be a right answer).

Law school will always be an individual, ideosyncratic choice where we rank the schools ourselves based on the critera that matter to us.  By posting links to a bunch of rankings of factors that may or may not matter to others, you will never be abe to discredit alternative rankings based on different factors.  For some people, the USNews factors will matter and yours won't, even if it's the exact opposite for you personally.  But that should be common knowledge, especially to the people on a board like this.  We know that there can't be one "correct" ranking that is right in every instance. 

By arguing that other rankings are evidence that one ranking is wrong, you are implicitly asserting that there is right answer to the question of "Where does Hastings rank among top American law schools," and that's just asinine.  To make matters worse, you are posting links to information that is even more outdated, irrelevant, and methodologically flawed than the US News rankings.  You give us 10-year old salary data, we give you "Correlates of Elite Firm Placement."  You give us Brennan, we give you ALAMAR. 

Much of the information that people need for making the individual decision of which school is right for them is available, and this community has done an excellent job of disseminating it to those who lack it.  Neither your posts nor your links have conveyed any new information (it might be arguable that they conveyed any information at all), and your rankings-obsession is misguided at best.  If you had come to us before choosing a law school, I'm sure most of us would have gladly helped you become informed.  Instead, you come to us after the fact, attempting to convince us that you made a good choice three years ago, and that if we were wise we wouldn't put any stock in sources that disagree with you.  Well, we're one step ahead of you (four steps, if you count the three years it took you to get to this point). 

So, you see, you can't even win the argument if you could execute one successully, becuase one point you're trying to make (that the US News rankings aren't the best measure of a law school) is so obvious to all of us that it usually gos without saying, and the other point that you probably aren't even aware that you are trying to make (that there is some correct ranking scheme out there somewhere) is so laughable a to have led us to riddicule you ceacelessly.  It's probably best if you just stop now.

I go to school with him.  Not bad, eh?

Jolie Was Here

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Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2006, 08:25:34 PM »
I go to school with him.  Not bad, eh?

I know I wouldn't want to be competing with him.

Of course, for a top 10 school, I might be willing to risk the possibly lower class rank.

No worries - different sections.   ;)  We can be friends with impunity.


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Re: US News Rankings are Bogus
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2006, 10:39:56 PM »
Since this thread is full of useless information, I thought I'd contribute another factoid:

28.1% of people pee in pools.

/Still looking for information on how many people swim in toliets...