March 13, 2012

"The U.S. News Law School Rankings Are Out!"

"There’s a surprising amount of movement among the top law schools. And there are some interesting tidbits from elsewhere within the rankings," says David Lat.

Here's a list showing the various gains and losses in rank. (My school, Wisconsin, stays at the same place, #35, but we suffered a loss last year.) The University of Washington went up 10 spots to #20, Arizona [State] soared 14 places to 26. Meanwhile, Illinois plummeted to 35 (to join UW). There is pain in Austin, Texas (falling 3), and cheer in Georgetown, which climbed over Cornell.

Biggest loss in the top 10 is Michigan, falling 3 places to #10. Biggest top 10 gain is Berkeley, up 2 spots to 7. The coveted 2d and 3d places switch hands with Stanford popping up over Harvard.

At Wisconsin, we like to single out the "peer reputation ranking," and Paul Caron has broken out that list. We're #24 on that scale, which, we like to think, extracts the wealth factor.  If only we had more money to bulk up our other numbers, that's where we'd be overall. And: If only we'd go all hardcore on LSAT and GPA admissions instead of the soft factors, we'd be — who knows where? — up there with Texas. But why should we change? Let those other schools stop taking advantage of those factors!

Blah blah blah. If you're not a law school person, you're going to tell me how meaningless this all is. Why am I bothering you with this. If you are a law school person, you know this is our lifeblood. Our hated lifeblood. But our lifeblood nonetheless. It's a marketplace, and the currency is U.S. News ranking.

22 comments:

Triangle Man said...

The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!

Curious George said...

"If you are a law school person, you know this is our lifeblood."

Hardly. That would be "tenure".

EDH said...

Talk about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Rob said...

As I recall, 'ol I.U. was ranked even higher back in the dark ages when I was there. It was not all that impressive an operation, though a few of the professors were fantastic.

Quaestor said...

Damn your polygonal eyes, Triangle Man! You beat me to it.

Anyway, here's the vid

Yeah, those law profs are somebody now.

Quaestor said...

If tenure = lifeblood, who are the tenure vampires?

I suspect academia is (are? ...this is one of those plurals everybody treats as singular) full of them.

What the American Mind needs is "garlic" for the tenure vampires.

rhhardin said...

The top 34 law schools offer free contraception.

cubanbob said...

Somebody get the word to Ms Fluke that Michigan is higher ranked and probably cheaper so she can afford her pills. Just saying......

cubanbob said...

Somebody get the word to Ms Fluke that Michigan is higher ranked and probably cheaper so she can afford her pills. Just saying......

carrie said...

Do rankings take into account the number of applicants? My son took the LSAT and he got a lot of application fee waivers from schools that he is not a sure thing to get in and I am wondering if they are trying to beef up their applicant numbers. Washington U sent my son an applicaton fee waiver and I noticed that it moved up 10 spots in the ranking from last year.

Triangle Man said...

@carrie

Yes. Giving fee waivers is a way to pump up the selectivity rating. See number 9 on this list.

David said...

We had a lot of Wisconsin lawyers at my firm and even more from the US News top 10 list. The Wisconsin lawyers gave away nothing in ability, education or achievement in the practice.

MadisonMan said...

I'm envisioning Law School Assistant Deans going to conferences someplace (warm, in winter), on the public dime, to strategize on how to increase or maintain their "lofty" ranking.

Short of lying about numbers, of course. No one would think of doing that.

(brainwave): Is number of Deans in the lawschool a parameter? Ranking should be inversely proportional to the number of Deanlets.

Triangle Man said...

@Quaestor

You should spring for an Althouse Gold subscription to get early access to the articles.

traditionalguy said...

What's up Doc. Since commenting here and learning about the importance of lists, my school started at 19, then a 20, then a 30, and now a 24.

I demand a recount. But count what is the question.

d-day said...

My mom just graduated from Arizona State last May, so I'm off to congratulate her on her school's good fortune, while also pointing out that my school is still higher ranked.

Always a fun phone call!

William said...

Georgetown went up in ranking, and this despite the fact that they don't offer birth control pills. The rankings clearly do not reflect what is topmost in in the minds of most students.

MarkD said...

You are producing a glut of what the market cannot absorb, but press on.

The Drill SGT said...

Hehe, Althouse,

how come UCB got a plug for being a +2 in the top ten @ #7?

when UVA got a +2 in the top ten @ #7, and got no love?

The Drill SGT said...

MM,

agree. ranking should be positively influenced by a teacher/admin ratio

diversity deans should be a double penalty

mccullough said...

The top 3 schools are probably worth the tuition. The other 197 are not. Most students will take on a tremendous amount of debt they will not be able to afford to pay back.

Carnifex said...

When does the tournament start? I haven't filled out my brackets yet!!