Category Archive: Law School Rankings

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US News Law School Rankings: the 2010 Rankings are Out

I managed to sprain/break my ankle last week while lightly jogging to my car. I’ve been claiming I fell on a curb, but really, it was just a slight incline (hey, it was dark!). I then fainted, like a lady in Victorian England wearing a corset too tightly. I say “sprain/break” because my ankle a)

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Law School Rankings: When a Comfy Chair Counts

As has been discussed ad nauseam, law school rankings can often be inaccurate oversimplifications and generally detrimental for everyone other than US News and World Report shareholders. For a variety of reasons I won’t go into now, USNWR is generally the only one that means anything, but as I’ve mentioned before, you should always do

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USNWR Law School Rankings are Bad News

It’s no secret that it’s expensive to go to law school. But when a public school (UC Hastings) ranked 39th charges more for tuition than a private school (Stanford) ranked 3rd; something is very, very wrong. We naturally thought the recession was to blame. As state governments slash funding to universities, public schools have to

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Why U.S. News Law School Rankings are Lame: Part Trois

I’m tired of talking about this, so I can only imagine how tired your must be of hearing about it.

In my first post on this subject I argued that the USNWR rankings use LSAT scores in a way that is inappropriately self-reinforcing. In my second post, I argued that the use of lawyers’ and judges’ opinions in the rankings was inappropriate for similar reasons. By the end, I’d concluded that the USNWR rankings were performative, not merely descriptive, in that they heavily influence both law school admissions patterns and hiring practices which are the phenomena they’re purporting to track.

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Why U.S. News Law School Rankings Are Lame: Part Deux

In my last post, I bemoaned USNWR’s law school rankings as being performative rather than merely descriptive; that is, I claimed that the rankings create and reinforce a hierarchy of law schools, rather than merely tracking an independently established hierarchy.

I’m going to do more of the same here, but now I want to focus on another of USNWR’s ranking criteria: the opinions of lawyers, hiring partners, and judges. These are especially important, because the opinions of this group constitute one of the most heavily weighed criteria in the rankings.

BPPtrent_why_rankings_lame
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Why U.S. News Law School Rankings Are Lame

Every year when the U.S. News and World Report (hereafter USNWR) ranking of law schools comes out, I’m annoyed. Not just watered down drink, cold entree, stain on your new shirt annoyed either, but deeply existentially troubled.

Riley just wrote a piece about the USNWR rankings and, in doing so, he brought it all back. And now, I’m suffering again. Allow me to explain why.

First, I’m not casting aspersions on the people who compile this report. I’m sure they’re all intelligent and well-meaning people. (Or not, but either way it has no bearing on my annoyance).

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The "New" Law School Rankings

I was just about to write about something that would be very helpful to all those LSAT students preparing for the big test, but someone at the BP office just dumped the new U.S. News & World Report law school ranking on my desk. And, thus, I have fallen prey to the same mistake that plagues LSAT students. Instead of worrying about why #13 was (D) and why they missed yet another classic example of a composition fallacy, students generally concern themselves with why getting that question wrong will lead to them going to a lower-ranked law school and stymie their chances of ever scoring a high-paying job and good-looking mate. Not a good idea, by the way. Just focus on the test and worry about the other crap later. But I digress.