January 27, 2011

Crowdsourced Law School Rankings v. U.S. News Peer Rankings.

Paul Caron identifies the law schools that most over-perform in the crowdsourced ranking: Michigan State, Baylor, Syracuse, South Carolina, Duquesne, Gonzaga...

Who knows why? I think people are just reacting to names. "Gonzaga"... that sounds cool. I'll pick Gonzaga.

Speaking of law school names, all the law schools have "School of Law" or "Law School" as part of their name. (Well, there's also "College of Law.") I've long thought "Law School" was better. It's spiffier. Omit needless words. I was a student at one of the "of law" law schools (NYU), and I teach at one of the "law school" law schools (Wisconsin), and I don't think my preference is any sort of home-team loyalty. It's all about style. For a long time, I thought my style preference was just picking the less verbose format — to be more sleek and modern. The "of law" business sounded a little pretentious and faux lofty.

Then yesterday, after all these years, I noticed the homophones. School of Law sounds like School o' Flaw. And Law School sounds like Law's Cool. It's funny. Why don't people hear what they are saying. When you're branding a product (or an institution), you need to listen to yourself. Look and listen.

By the way, Gonzaga's law school is officially called Gonzago University School of Law. See? They tried to go all fancy. It should just be Gonzaga Law School. On the other hand, does crowdsourcing lie? Yes, of course, but probably not with respect to the psychological impact of the name.

25 comments:

BlogDog said...

I always thought my George Mason University School of Law was so appealing as "guhmewsil:" GMUSL
Leading to such products as GMUSLage - the "stick to itiveness" of law school grads.
Still not as good an acronym as the Department Of Geology, Duke University manged to form.

ironrailsironweights said...

How about "School for Future Unemployed People with Crushing Student Loan Debts"?

Or "School for People with High I.Q. Scores Who Can't Do Math and Therefore Can't Enter Marketable Fields"?

Then there's "School for Deluded People Who Think 'It Can't Happen to Me' and Actually Believe They'll Be Able to Get Jobs after Graduation Despite Overwhelming Evidence to the Contrary"?

Peter

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I wonder how much the crowdsourced rankings follow the rankings ( or at least popularity ) of the school's sports teams.

Calypso Facto said...

SChool OF LAW = SCOF[F]LAW

Actually a pretty accurate description of the "words mean what I want them to mean" mentality I encounter in many lawyers...

Bob Ellison said...

On a related subject, I've long been proud of the fact that Harvard, where I majored in Government, does not call it Political Science. Most schools do, and it's a ridiculous term for something so spectacularly unscientific.

Another classic school name: the US Army War College. That's gotta scare some and inspire others, in just the right way.

wv: maneekin (so close!)

edutcher said...

Hah!

Villanova is 58 in Crowdsourced.

PS There are a lot of places that qualify as School of Flaw. A lot of them are offering what the math-based disciplines call a "You Want Fries With That?" degree.

DaveO said...

Indeed - omit needless words.

For example:

I was a student at one of the "schools of law" (NYU), and I teach at one of the "law schools" (Wisconsin), and I don't think my preference is any sort of home-team loyalty.

dbp said...

There are three Gonzagas all in the same neighborhood in Spokane. G-Prep or Gonzaga Preparatory School, GU the University and then the Law School.

They need to distinguish one from another and they could call the law school Gonzaga University Law School, I think that big "University" in front of "Law School" doesn't trip off the tongue quite like "School of Law" does.

There is a lot to be said for Gonzaga Law: It is a good school, Spokane is a cheap place to live and the university usually has a great basketball team.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, DaveO, but if a blogger took "omit needless words" seriously...

traditionalguy said...

How does L. Q. C. Lamar School of Law roll off your tongue? The web site now hides that official name for Emory University Law School in Atlanta.

Ann Althouse said...

@dhp But there is only one law school. For example, my law school is called University of Wisconsin Law School, not University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School, because there is only one University of Wisconsin Law School.

Ann Althouse said...

I prefer to say Wisconsin Law School. Technically, the University of is excessive, but I think it needs to be part of the official name.

Ann Althouse said...

I see this other technicality. You don't want 2 "ofs" in the name. So for Wisconsin, you already have an "of" in University of Wisconsin, so there was no temptation to go with the overly fancy "School of Law" ending. University of Wisconsin School of Law. It's way to of-y. But for NYU, it's New York University, so maybe the School of Law ending represented some kind of longing for the "of" they never got in the university name.

You know we're all looking for of. All you need is of.

dbp said...

Wisconsin is a place, so there can be a University of Wisconsin. Gonzaga was a person, so it would be weird to call a school, "University of Gonzaga." It has to be Gonzaga University.

MikeR said...

Omit needless words.
Omit words.

Bob Ellison said...

Yoda: "Needless words omit, yes!"

dbp said...

There are plenty of schools that do have the format of, X University Law School though. So Gonzaga could have gone that way.

rhhardin said...

The closest city has a "Department of Fire" instead of a fire department.

LL said...

Ann - Gonzago. Do you have a source for that?

dbp - Gonzaga Prep is not technically in the same neighborhood, it is about 1.5 miles away. On the other hand, there is an elementary school in the Gonzaga University neighborhood called St. Aloysius Gonzaga. I drive to all of them M-F.

NBA legend John Stockton went to St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Gonzaga Prep, and Gonzaga University. His kids have followed suit.

tim maguire said...

Prof., in the case of your alma mater, changing the name to "New York University Law School" may increase confusion with "New York Law School"--a confusion that does not work to NYU's benefit.

dbp said...

Hi LL,

I guess my idea of a neighborhood is more expansive than yours. I went to St Als for a year and the (now defunct) Holy Names (Over by Mission Park) for a few years before that.

An older sister and brother went to G Prep for a couple of years, but then we all switched to the local (Mead) high school, as it was excellent too.


wv: gumen really.

LL said...

dbp - Sorry to have such a narrow view of the neighborhood. I have a 7th grader at St. Als and a 10th grader at G Prep. Mead is a good school (great cross-country team).

We live near Corbin Park - north side.

dbp said...

LL,

I love the Corbin Park area--so peaceful, hard to believe it is just a couple of blocks away from Division.

I had heard that the park used to be a horse race track, which is why it is one mile around.

Nice to hear Mead is still good in CC. I was on their team.

Beldar said...

Re dropping the city names:

See also "University of Texas School of Law" (in various contexts also sometimes called "UT Law" and "Texas Law School"), which is similarly co-located on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, but which is never called anything which includes the word "Austin."

But cf. "University of California, Berkeley, School of Law" and the four other UC System law schools (UC-Davis, UCLA, Hastings & UC-Irvine).

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