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?