March 12, 2013

New U.S. News rankings.

Read, emote, carp.

ADDED: From Above the Law:
For better or for worse, these rankings set the presumptions of law school effectiveness for the next year. Students will overwhelmingly go to the best school that they can get into on this list, regardless of region or cost. Students who don’t go to the best ranked school they can get into will expect generous scholarship packages from lower ranked schools, meaning that students with worse starting credentials will end up subsidizing students with better credentials.
This makes it painful if the school you picked because of its rank drops below the school you rejected. Of course, it's self-inflicted pain. No one made you rely on the rankings, and you knew the rankings would change every year. Imagine if you picked Stanford over Harvard. Suddenly, you should have picked Harvard over Stanford. (Stanford and Harvard are now tied at #2. Last year, Stanford had the 2 position and Harvard was 3.)

Here are the rankings by "peer reputation," which are preferred by those at schools who do better by this metric, which is based on a survey of "law school deans, deans of academic affairs, chairs of faculty appointments, and the most recently tenured faculty members [who] 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.'" Think that's better than the hard variables like the LSATs and GPAs of the students?

41 comments:

Mitchell the Bat said...

It pains me to realize I'd be a better person today had I gotten into a better law school.

Henry said...

Now we just need a single-elimination tournament to get down to one.

chickelit said...

Seize the day instead of carping about it!

Patrick said...

The law school bubble won't be well and truly popped until there are no schools ranked past 75 that cost over $35,000 per year.

Bob Ellison said...

I like Henry's idea. We should treat this like the NCAA basketball tournament. Maybe invite competitors from each school to debate on absurdly funny propositions, like banning large sodas in NYC. Whoever wins in the end gets a big trophy and enough money to lower each student's tuition by 5%.

Larry J said...

With reports of over a million lawyers in the US (about 1 out of every 300 men, women and children in the country) as well as declining prospects for most new law school graduates, they should:

1. Close the bottom 10% of law schools, raze the buildings and salt the earth so nothing grows there again.

2. Next year, repeat step 1.

Lather, rinse and repeat as necessary.

Inga said...

Florida State ranked 36, Wisconsin 23, could be far worse.

bpm4532 said...

50% of the world's lawyers are in the U.S.

Like in many things, they have a really strong union, and our satisfaction with the quality of their work is really low. Unfortunately, they control a closed system (lawmakers, lawyers, judges) that extracts enormous rent-seeking profits from society.

Ambrose said...

Amazing how little the top rankings it change. I went to law school in the 1980s and the top 10 looks about the same.

Erika said...

UT Austin, #15, $32K in-state. Heh.

Ann Althouse said...

"Amazing how little the top rankings it change. I went to law school in the 1980s and the top 10 looks about the same."

Because the rankings powerfully affect the things people do that are fed into the next rankings. It's all connected, but so what? At least it's visible, and you can go to the best-ranked school and expect everyone in the future to reinforce your decision by doing what you did.

SGT Ted said...

Since the law is the law, how can they even rank the schools?

bagoh20 said...

So this is the place where you first step on to the treadmill?

I often wish I was a young mush head again with so many things ahead to enjoy as i did the first time, and learning in school was one of the best times, but this point of jumping into law school with all the expense and so much low-return hard work ahead would be something I would avoid, especially today. It sounds like terrible advice, but I would just walk away from that. The crocodiles are just waiting for you to step into that water, as they fight for position.

If you could find the right mentor, or if you were just thoughtful and smart, you could do a lot better, but who would have the courage to tell their kids that, to take them on as a personal project after 2 decades of it is finally finished?

Bob Ellison said...

There's also the swimsuit category. "I went to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. They're #19!" That swimsuit is poorly cut. You need a Yale or Harvard suit. Just breathe those words and people swoon.

Bob Ellison said...

Uh, "competition", not "category".

virgil xenophon said...

Aside from the little fact that Larry J is right, determining which law schools to be closed is the only reason to compile such rankings. Unless one is determined to go into corporate finance/law in NYC/Wall-Street or into Government in DC as a staffer/regulator, one is FAR better off going to a law school in the state one is going to live and practice in so as to be familiar with all one's contemporaries (Judges. prosecutors, Sheriffs, fellow members of the bar, etc. I have a tennis-playing lawyer friend in Denver and a Denver native--met him at the Denver Tennis Club--who has been on the Federal bench now for many years who, when I first met him, was a young lawyer fresh out of Columbia law school. He told me then that, from a financial perspective, he made a big mistake: "I figure that going to Columbia instead U. of Denver or Colorado put me at least 5-10 years behind my contemporaries in developing my practice"

Word..

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

i note in the peer rankings, law schools I consider Leftist do better and the schools with ties to religion do worse.

I think the biggest set of envy is not Harvard, Yale, Stanford, but Maryland '41, Virginia '7

Eat your heart out turtles :)

BDNYC said...

I wish Texas would build a lead between itself and 16-25. That way we can stop with the T14 nonsense.

James Pawlak said...

The data provided is consistent with my view that most academics (Outside of Engineering, the "hard sciences" and only-some sociologists and psychologists) know little, if anything, about scientific research (As based on "reliable and valid" methods with a "high level of confidence").

edutcher said...

Madame La Professeur outranks my almae matres.

I suppose I should be crushed.

Lucien said...

Ouch! The tuition charged is ludicrous. I know it is largely a reflection on how poorly California has been governed lately, but the tuition for Boalt is now more than 30 times what I (my parents)paid 30 years ago.

MadisonMan said...

Do these come out more frequently than annually? It seems like it.

MadisonMan said...

If Madison has 2/3rd in-state, 1/3rd out, then tuition alone rakes in almost $19M annually.

Harvard is pulling in $88M each year in Tuition/Fees.

Scam!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

UW Law School used to be a Top 20 school. What the hell happened?

Bill said...

Larry J: "1. Close the bottom 10% of law schools, raze the buildings and salt the earth so nothing grows there again."

Or from the applicant's perspective, if the best school you can get admitted to is in the bottom 10%, consider getting a job at McDonald's as a better next step in your career.

Alex Ignatiev said...

Glad to see that my alma mater remains the best value proposition on the list at #102. Go Rebels!

Crunchy Frog said...

We have too many lawyers, yet finding one to handle your divorce can be prohibitively expensive. Why? Student loan debt. When even the crappy law schools are putting their graduates in hock for six figures, there is no way for an enterprising lawyer to take on the low rent transactional duties his community needs and still be able to pay back his loan without price gouging.

Instead of less lawyers, we need less expensive lawyers. Unfortunately, the guild makes that impossible.

Curious George said...

"Ruth Anne Adams said...
UW Law School used to be a Top 20 school. What the hell happened?"

What difference at this point does it make?

Polynices said...

Is it interesting to anyone else that four of the top 28 schools have "Washington" in their name? We really liked that guy.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

My law school continues to be un-ranked. Yet, I continue to collect a six figure salary and not suffer from the burdens of student debt.

For those of you who went to top tier schools and are currently drowning in debt praying your law firm doesn't law you off from your job, that you hate anyway, all I can say is; life sucks.

John said...

Close the bottom 10% of law schools, raze the buildings and salt the earth so nothing grows there again."

No. Do that and close the top 10% of the schools raising them to ground as well. There are actual law schools out there producing lawyers who provide needed services like criminal defense and workaday corporate stuff. But nearly all of these lawyers are produced by the middling 80% of schools. The bottom tier schools produce student defaults and the to tier produce professional boot lickers whose lone exceptional ability is telling their mostly hard left professors exactly what they want to hear.

Larry J said...

ohn said...
Close the bottom 10% of law schools, raze the buildings and salt the earth so nothing grows there again."

No. Do that and close the top 10% of the schools raising them to ground as well.


OK, I'm willing to amend step 1 to cut at both ends towards the middle.

traditionalguy said...

Wisconsin needs to up its game.

Sorry, but I felt like saying that.

Christopher said...

If you ever want entertainment go check out a law school that dropped a decent amount the day the rankings come out. When that happens the school just comes to a halt as the administration and the students go into panic mode.

When it occurred at my school our legal writing course turned into one long interrogation of the professor. Every single student was demanding to know what was going on (I actually felt sorry for the guy).

I guess I should have been annoyed as well but by that point I knew I didn't want to be a lawyer, and that in my field of choice any law degree would be beneficial.

Christopher said...

Damn, Pitt Law dropped from the low 70's to 91.

I wish I could be there today to witness the collective nervous breakdown about to ensue.

Ann Althouse said...

"UW Law School used to be a Top 20 school. What the hell happened?"

Refusal to play the game. Devotion to diversity admissions. Very simple. A deliberate choice.

If we'd gone for the best LSATs and GPAs over the years, we'd be in the top 20, but we resisted. Were we wrong?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Until you describe what you mean by "devotion to diversity admissions," I cannot properly judge whether my alma mater was wrong.

But back in the mid-1980s, I remember being a little shocked that the non-white students had a Dean, an early enrollment session and special help if they were faltering. As a first generation entrant, I could have used that info, too, but I guess I had too little melanin to qualify.

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