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New U.S. News Rankings:
A colleague of mine has sent me what appears to be the new U.S. News law school rankings, as sent to him via an e-mail from the U.S. News site; a quick check with the XO board suggests it's legit. The magazine always changes the numbers around enough to make the issue seem newsy, and this year is no exception. Anyway, here is the new "top 35":
1 Yale University (CT)
2 Harvard University, Stanford University (CA)
4 New York University
5 Columbia University (NY)
6 University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania
8 University of California-Berkeley, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
10 Duke University (NC), University of Virginia
12 Northwestern University (IL)
13 Cornell University (NY)
14 Georgetown University (DC)
15 University of California-Los Angeles
16 University of Southern California (Gould), Vanderbilt University (TN)
18 University of Texas-Austin
19 Washington University in St. Louis
20 Boston University, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
22 Emory University (GA), George Washington University (DC)
24 University of Iowa
25 Fordham University (NY) University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, Washington and Lee University (VA)
28 Boston College, University of Notre Dame (IN), University of Washington
31 College of William and Mary (Marshall-Wythe) (VA), Ohio State University (Moritz), University of Wisconsin-Madison
34 George Mason University (VA), University of California-Davis
UPDATE: My apologies, in the initial reformatting I had some numbers wrong. Sorry!
Chicago:
Penn and Chicago are tied?
3.27.2007 5:24pm
Former Law Review Editor:
Penn is perennially overrated as a law school in this thing.

Big news is that UCLA has cracked the so-called "Top 14," which was, in my opinion, always a way for Georgetown et al. to feel superior to places like Texas, UCLA, Minnesota and so forth.
3.27.2007 5:34pm
s806:
I think Penn spends more money on landscaping and has a more expensive West/Lexis contracts, tie broken.
3.27.2007 5:40pm
GW Law class of '06:
So...am I still allowed to tell people I graduated from a top 20 law school?
3.27.2007 5:40pm
Former Law Review Editor:
Also, the list isn't numbered right. I think there's a hoax here.
3.27.2007 5:41pm
OrinKerr:
FLRE,

The list isn't numbered right in what sense? I started with a cut and paste of the entire data, and I edited the list into a more readable form that just has the ranking numbers.
3.27.2007 5:46pm
KevinM:
I think he's referring to the skips. They just reflect ties in the rankings. I.e., when two schools are tied for #2, then the next one is ranked fourth, not third.

"Rule 6: There is no Rule 6!"
3.27.2007 5:50pm
OrinKerr:
Oh, and sorry for the typo -- I just switched the 15 to 16; that was my error when I was editing it.
3.27.2007 5:50pm
bf (mail):
there's a tie for 2 then a jump to 4, but a tie for 14 and no jump to 16.
3.27.2007 5:50pm
DJR:
FLRE,

I think you have it reversed. "Top 14" is an acknowledgment that there are too many schools that belong in the "top 10." I've always thought it implied a general acknowledgment that whatever the "top X" category is, it must include Georgetown and Northwestern, which were perenially tied for the bottom of the "Top X" until a few years ago when Northwestern invested in its glossy brochures and gained a few points.
3.27.2007 6:01pm
Former Law Review Editor:
My point is that the thinking it "must" include any school is inaccurate, and that Georgetown has always lagged the other schools on the list.
3.27.2007 6:03pm
Nephtuli (mail) (www):
Any chance you could post the entire rankings or at least the whole top tier?
3.27.2007 6:05pm
T14 Student:
Professor Kerr has committed a critical typo here: UCLA is NOT tied with Georgetown for 14, it's at 15 (GULC has a 72, UCLA a 71). Therefore the T14 remains thankfully unbreached by lower-tiered law schools.

[OK Comments: Thanks for catching that, T14Student. Just corrected.]
3.27.2007 6:06pm
Hoosier:
WHOO-HOO!


WE'RE # 28!
3.27.2007 6:14pm
Former Law Review Editor:
"Therefore the T14 remains thankfully unbreached by lower-tiered law schools."

This is what I was getting at.
3.27.2007 6:18pm
Sean M:
Amusingly, one of the "top underrated law schools" apparently continues to be underrated as William and Mary falls in the rankings.

I guess it won't stop me from sending my deposit there, though...
3.27.2007 6:20pm
uh clem (mail):
These rankings have about as much validity as the early season rankings of college football teams - they're entirely speculative. Of course, with academic departments there's no mechanism for deciding who beats whom like you have with football.

Imagine if football was decided this way - the teams were ranked, but nobody ever played any games. I'll bet Harvard and Yale would still be #1 and #2.
3.27.2007 6:28pm
Frank_B:
Similarly, Washington seems to be 19, with Minnesota and Boston University tied for 20.

[OK Comments: Geez, you're right. Fixed. Sorry about that -- the raw format I started with was pretty incomprehensible, and I obviously wasn't being careful enough in reassembling the numbers.]
3.27.2007 6:29pm
Cato (mail):
I would be interested in whether liberal schools are more highly rated than conservative ones. As a graduate of NYU, I kidda doubt the quality of the experience is better than, let's say, U of Chicago.
3.27.2007 6:57pm
Apodaca:
uh clem:
Imagine if football was decided this way - the teams were ranked, but nobody ever played any games. I'll bet Harvard and Yale would still be #1 and #2.
You mean they're not?

Oh oh.
3.27.2007 6:59pm
SB (www):
Where is Harvard located? I'm lost without the (state) next to it.
3.27.2007 7:19pm
gab:
Looks like it helps to be in the east. But what do I know?
3.27.2007 7:21pm
__:
why didnt they update the USNews web site yet?
3.27.2007 7:29pm
justanotherguy (mail):
I think that the rankings are a bad attempt to combine several rankings into one. Is there a difference between a ranking for producing academic careers: make more law professors, versus a ranking based on ability to place its graduates in a top tier law firm, versus create piblic service attorneys? All differences which would lead to different rankings.
3.27.2007 7:33pm
blackdoggerel (mail):
Prof. Kerr,

I know it's "newsy" to report the U.S. News Rankings, especially when they're hot of the presses, and I'm sure a lot of people are interested in knowing them (in particular, 23-year-olds on chat boards). But I'm actually surprised that you would post them here. I always thought you/the VC would look quite skeptically on these very imperfect, crude measurements of the "quality" of law schools. But your post suggests that you buy into them as legit.

I guess what I'd like to know is, do you view these rankings as helpful in any way, rather than simply broad generalizations pandering to the rankings crowd?
3.27.2007 7:34pm
USNewsGetsMeDown:
Dear god. What bullshit. As a UT student, I can only say that I'm pretty miffed. Honestly, what is it that made us drop to 18? The fact that we had somewhere 20 COA clerks this year? The fact that we did a pretty solid job with getting people into top firms?
3.27.2007 7:44pm
wooga:
I find it amazing that USC and USD (San Diego) have nearly identical bar passage rates for California. Yet the USC student body has substantially higher LSAT scores and - presumably - smarter students.

Shouldn't the #16 law school do a better job of educating its students than some second tier (50-100) school?

And Georgetown is a horrendously over ranked JD mill. I could open up my own school in DC, run it out of an abandoned McDonald's, graduate 5000 students a year, and crack the top 20 within a decade...
3.27.2007 7:48pm
T14 Student:
USNewsGetsMeDown, I suspect that the presence of Brian Leiter at Texas isn't doing you any favors at all.
3.27.2007 7:51pm
wt (www):

The magazine always changes the numbers around enough to make the issue seem newsy, and this year is no exception.


Not sure how this would work. So US News gathers all of their data for the year based on some pre-set formula, and things turn out exactly the same as last year. Are you suggesting that they would decide to change their rankings forumla on that basis? Or that they'd fudge some of their data?

It's hard to say the minor fluctuations that exist every year within the (very flawed) rankings system aren't there because that's what the methodology produces, but because of some illicit motive to be otherwise "newsy." Why not change or fudge even more then? Make Yale number 2 for once. People would certainly take notice.

If the goal were to be newsy they could certainly do a better job than keeping the same 14 schools in the top 14.
3.27.2007 7:55pm
Richard Riley (mail):
These rankings are essentially (certainly not identically, but essentially) the same as when I was in law school in the early 1980s. That was pre-USNews rankings, but there were other rankings at the time that USNews has largely reproduced. For example, when I started at Duke in 1980, the school itself noted that law school rankings tended to put it somewhere between 9th and 13th. Today in USNews? 10. Similar basic stability throughout the list.

The one big exception is NYU. Twenty-five or so years ago NYU was 10 or 12. Today it is consistently in the top 5. Interesting. Lots of people say NYU bought its way there, but any number of schools have tried to do that but only NYU really succeeded (if that's what happened). So how did NYU move itself up a consistent 5 or more slots and stay there?
3.27.2007 7:58pm
USNewsGetsMeDown:
T14 Student:

In addition to clerkships and a pretty decent year with firms, two of our clinics made it all the way to SCOTUS this year. We also have virtually identical numbers to UCLA, and our rep scores (from US News) are higher than those of Vandy and USC.

I find it hard to believe that Brian Leiter somehow weighs us down so much that we now somehow rank below these schools.
3.27.2007 7:58pm
T14 Student:
USNewsGetsMeDown:

Nope. Trust me, it's Leiter. That guy is 100% dead weight loss. If UChicago hadn't no-offered him last quarter, they'd probably be at #7 right now themselves.
3.27.2007 8:08pm
AdamL (www):
The whole list is up at www.concurringopinions.com/
3.27.2007 8:08pm
BobH (mail):
Many years ago, before classes started for my first year of law school, all of the first-year students attended an orientation in a large hall. The dean stood before us and said, among other things, "Ladies nad gentlemen, it's official: The UCLA School of Law is now one of the top 10 law schools in the country!" Later, after he finished his remarks and left the room, some other official got up and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is also official: 25 law schools are among the top 10 in the country."

Come to think of it, that was the funniest thing I heard for the next 3 years.
3.27.2007 8:11pm
the critic:
Am I the only one who sees the irony here? Everyone decries the USNWR rankings, but even the blog scholars can't resist obsessing over them. How sad.
3.27.2007 9:02pm
Shake-N-Bake:
Wooga, the curriculum of, well, pretty much every school on this list has almost nothing to do with what shows up on the bar exam of any given state. Sure, there are some things like the RAP and such that shows up in the curriculum, but by and large law school doesn't educate you for the test, nor should it seeing as the test has little to with what a fair number of lawyers do (see: most transactional lawyers, IP lawyers, bankruptcy lawyers, etc). And I, for one, am glad that University of Michigan didn't waste my time on educating me about the no-fault auto insurance laws of Michigan, or any other laws of Michigan for that matter, considering I was never going to practice there.
3.27.2007 9:11pm
Irina (mail) (www):
Finally, Fordham broke into the top 25. It really IS underrated. : )
3.27.2007 9:44pm
blackdoggerel (mail):
That NYU is the "fourth-best" law school in the country will come as quite a surprise to (a) most top-tier lawyers in NY, DC, LA, SF, Boston, Dallas, Chicago, and any other place where the most sophisticated legal work is done; (b) most judges; (c) most Supreme Court Justices; and (d) anyone who consistently deals with high-level corporate or political officials. Each of these individuals will laugh out loud at the concept of NYU being more well-regarded than Columbia and Chicago.

(Note that I did not attend any of these schools.)
3.27.2007 9:55pm
wooga:
Shake-N-Bake,
It's not whether schools teach you what is going to be on the state bar - USD does not. Like most lower law schools, it hopelessly pretends that it's students are all going to get federal clerkships, and teaches things which no USD grad will ever use.

So why does a school like USD, which is #85, still manage to get the same results on the bar exam as #16 USC? Neither gives a leg up on CA law, and everybody takes the same BarBri courses. USD takes lower level students, so it should have a much lower pass rate.

The answer is either (1) USC does a relatively poor job at teaching it's students to actually think critically and express themselves coherently, or (2) the bar exam is somehow tilted in favor of stupid people who write in short sentences.

I think it's a little of both. Either way, it means that the rankings are not an objective measure of the quality of your legal education. Which leads me to the conclusion that the real rankings should have only two criteria (as I've said elsewhere): the average starting salary of grads, adjusted for regional variance in cost of living, and the cost of tuition.
3.27.2007 10:30pm
johnd:
Notre Dame falls from 22 last year to 28 this year. Anyone else shocked about this?
3.27.2007 10:52pm
USNewsGetsMeDown:
ND's drop is surprising. Maybe US News is setting up for a surprise rebound next year?
3.27.2007 11:09pm
johnd:
I think USNWR realized what sports fans knew all along. ND will always be overrated.
3.27.2007 11:12pm
jzd (mail):
Any partner, any judge, and any professor will tell you these rankings are bullshit. Fine, they're a good indicator of "groupings" but if there is even a single person out there sending a deposit to a 4 over 5 or a 7 over a 8 for no other reasons than numeracy--you've lost the "inquisitive lawyer" game already. Want the REAL rankings on prestige? Check out where SCOTUS clerks come from the past 50 years. Seriously. Tally it up. That's more telling than anything else.
3.27.2007 11:55pm
swm (mail):
How do SCOTUS clerk selections from the 1960s or the 1970s have any impact on the quality of education received at a law school in the past few years, or the scholarly output of the faculty in the past few years? While I agree recent SCOTUS clerkships should be very seriously considered in ranking a law school, the line needs to be drawn somewhere, and I believe it is within the past five or ten years.

The US News system isn't perfect, but at least it measures some areas of performance. One of the frustrations of academic life is that without profit motives, inadequate performance can linger and not come to light. At least the US News rankings can expose some areas where a law school is declining in performance and put public pressure on the school to improve in those areas.
3.28.2007 12:13am
Prof Commenter:
Best quote: "horrendously over ranked JD mill."

And: "So how did NYU move itself up a consistent 5 or more slots and stay there?" A: John Sexton. The man is an amazing visionary. And he has a good post-up move as well.
3.28.2007 12:21am
neurodoc:
Big news is that UCLA has cracked the so-called "Top 14," which was, in my opinion, always a way for Georgetown et al. to feel superior to places like Texas, UCLA, Minnesota and so forth.

What matters is that Georgetown, with George Thompson, Jr. and Patrick Ewing, Jr., is once again in the Final 4, while UCLA is out. Everything else is but commentary. (Patrick Ewing, Sr's wife was a GU law school classmate of mine.)
3.28.2007 12:24am
Erick:
Wooga,

You're missing at least one possible factor. Some of USC's best students will taking the bar exam in other states (e.g. New York) and those taking the CA bar will probably be a less qualified subset of their entire body. USD's best students will stay in CA.
3.28.2007 12:26am
dwlawson (mail) (www):
Pardon the intrusion of an amateur, but how should one go about picking a law school? Does it depend on the type of law one wants to practice? Does the faculty at the school factor more? The school's reputation?
3.28.2007 12:36am
Some Guy:
"The answer is either (1) USC does a relatively poor job at teaching it's students to actually think critically and express themselves coherently, or (2) the bar exam is somehow tilted in favor of stupid people who write in short sentences."

The attitude in (2), that short sentences signal stupidity and that USD produces stupid people, makes you look like one of the 23 year olds on autoadmit who use USNews rankings to address some inadequacies that their parents wealth and their private schools can't get them.
3.28.2007 12:38am
uh_clem (mail):
Pardon the intrusion of an amateur, but how should one go about picking a law school?

Send out a bunch of aplications, go to the place that lets you in. This ain't rocket science.
3.28.2007 1:04am
SB (www):
dwlawson: Your goals are always the most important factor. Can you plan where you want to be three or four years from now? Factors such as knowing where you want to practice, whether you can work for a law firm during the school year (a firm that might hire you as an associate when you graduate), tuition costs, etc. are all important.
3.28.2007 1:07am
pattakosp:
I think that NYU's rise in the rankings can be attributed largely to New York City's rise as a desirable place to live. See also Fordham cracking the top 25.

Also, neurodoc, congrats on your Hoyas returning to the Final Four, but UCLA is in it too. They play Florida for the right to face the winner of Georgetown/Ohio State in the title game.
3.28.2007 2:11am
akflave (mail):
<blockquote>
I find it amazing that USC and USD (San Diego) have nearly identical bar passage rates for California. Yet the USC student body has substantially higher LSAT scores and - presumably - smarter students.

Shouldn't the #16 law school do a better job of educating its students than some second tier (50-100) school?
</blockquote>


Actually, check out the most recent bar admissions stats available (from July 06). Stanford has the best passage rate in California, followed by USC and UCLA; Boat is behind both of the L.A. schools. USC is at 86%, and USD is at 78%.


3.28.2007 2:17am
neurodoc:
Also, neurodoc, congrats on your Hoyas returning to the Final Four, but UCLA is in it too. They play Florida for the right to face the winner of Georgetown/Ohio State in the title game.

Sorry, that was my clairvoyance speaking. Well, now you know how to bet next Saturday's game.
3.28.2007 2:27am
Leiter defender:
This Leiter bashing is absurd sour grapes from the autoadmit crowd. In his non-blog persona, Leiter is a well regarded scholar of legal philosophy and top notch Nietzsche scholar to boot.
3.28.2007 2:56am
USNewsGetsMeDown:
Leiter defender:

Agreed. The Autoadmit crowd is a fairly ridiculous bunch of people, and most of them have no real connection or idea about where the Autoadmit/Leiter feud came from. It's just something they all repeat over and over again
3.28.2007 3:30am
James Grimmelmann (mail) (www):
OK: My apologies, in the initial reformatting I had some numbers wrong.

In the context of the USNWR numbers, errors introduced by reformatting are nothing to worry about.
3.28.2007 10:21am
Coke is it (mail):
I know it's pretty obvious that these rankings are fairly inaccurate and obviously not useful for people with wildly different professional goals, etc etc... But I'll tell you why these rankings are one of the most important qualities of a school: students. Students have to apply for and then choose only a limited number of schools, and this is the way most of them make at least part of their decision.

Somebody out there is choosing SMU or Baylor over Houston because of this (an absurd decision, in my opinion). And employers know that the better students will tend to gravitate in a manner consistent with these rankings and plan accordingly.

Every school except for perhaps a couple is trapped into trying to pursue these rankings when they make at least some of their planning decisions.

I'm sure that's why Kerr would think this is relevant to the profession. Very few people respect the way US News ranks law schools.
3.28.2007 3:47pm
wooga:

The attitude in (2), that short sentences signal stupidity and that USD produces stupid people, makes you look like one of the 23 year olds on autoadmit who use USNews rankings to address some inadequacies that their parents wealth and their private schools can't get them.

Some Guy,
You obviously missed the entire point of my post, but I will refrain from impugning your education. As I said, the rankings imply that a USD student is more "stupid" than a USC grad, since they are 70 places apart. Yet in truth, based on bar pass rates, they are equally as "stupid." I do not think that USD grads are stupid.

Look, my wife went to USD, and failed the bar the first time. I told her the secret to passing the bar: write your answers as if you are a moron, stating the most obvious points in short sentences. This is because the grader assumes you are a moron, and assumes that if you do not write "the sky is blue," that you do not know that the sky is in fact blue. So in order to pass, you can't waste your time writing about clever arguments you might raise in a given fact pattern, but rather you have to pretend you are an unimaginative drone, spitting out obvious facts that any mouth breathing moron could spot. With this approach, my wife passed.

Me, I had the scores, wealth, and grades to go to any law school in the country. Instead, I chose to go to a tiny public law school in my home town on a free ride. I got a great education, certainly better than I would have gotten at a place like USC, despite being ranked well below. So keep your "elitist" slur to yourself.
3.28.2007 4:21pm
perplexed hoya (mail):
Respectfully I must disagree with some of you and defend Georgetown. I am far from unbiased, so while I have not had the pleasure of attending the other law schools on the list, I think Georgetown is a fantastic school with a wide and varied curriculum. I'm not speaking to whether Georgetown is "better" objectively than any other school; I only take exception to the characterization of Georgetown as "J.D. mill." It is a large school, and that has both advantages and disadvantages, depending on one's tastes.

The size of the school is a drawback for some, though most enjoy it because it allows the school to offer so many classes in niche areas and have cover a number of practice areas in depth. Look at the specialty rankings when they come out, or better yet, look at Georgetown's course offerings and the biographies of their full-time and adjunct faculty. I can't say much in favor of DC's weather, but it is a fantastic city to study law in. The breadth of the faculty, both full-time and adjunct, creates a large and varied intellectual community.
3.29.2007 3:43pm
A.S.:
I'm not speaking to whether Georgetown is "better" objectively than any other school; I only take exception to the characterization of Georgetown as "J.D. mill." It is a large school, and that has both advantages and disadvantages, depending on one's tastes.

I'm a Georgetown grad also, but I don't mind the JD mill insult so much, insofar as it refers to the night program (which is, I think, mainly where it comes from). I loved having the night students there, and they definately added to the atmosphere there, but (at least as I remember it from more than a decade ago) they didn't have the same overall numbers as the day program students did. So, in essence, you have 80% of the students equal to top-10 caliber students, and the other 20% that may be a couple of dozen ranks below that, which over all averages out to about #14. Those other 20% also dilute the relative resources available to the day students. Again, let me say that I liked having the night program there, to the extent I engaged with those students, and wouldn't trade it for an extra 4 spots in the the rankings.

I'll add that I thought the professors at Georgetown when I was there were incredible. My classes with guys like Bill Eskeridge and Mark Tushnet were great, and it's too bad they left for places like Yale and Harvard. I don't recall how much the quality of the faculty adds into the US News rankings, but at least when I was there, the faculty was top notch.
3.30.2007 2:51pm
Defender (mail):
NYU is now considered a top 5 school because 1) its faculty is outstanding and well-regarded; 2) its student body has better qualifications than schools outside of the top 5; and 3) both 1 and 2 have been true for almost fifteen years.

Also, blackdoggerel, NYU and Columbia have been considered equals by Biglaw lawyers, legal academics, and federal judges for many years, and USNews has ranked NYU higher than Columbia in the past. That you think it's a laughable proposition reveals your ignorance.

Perhaps NYU is less well regarded among slip and fall lawyers in Dallas. After all, NYU doesn't have the same white shoe traditions that Columbia had because NYU accepted Jews and women when Columbia did not (a time in history that led Wachtell, Rosen, Lipton and Katz, all NYU grads, to form their own law firms after the white shoe firms of New York did not hire Jews).
3.30.2007 9:42pm
HR:
NYU and Columbia are comparable in terms of quality professors and quality students. I suspect that Columbia still enjoys a higher reputation with older partners and judges because when those individuals went to school, NYU was mid-first tier rather than top-5. Clerkship applicants from top schools that have always been top schools do a bit better than those from places like NYU, which are new to the upper ranks. However, I think that within a few years NYU grads will do just as well.
3.31.2007 5:25pm
Poopstain (mail):
Interesting that we don't have any Harvard/Yale combats going on in the comments. I guess when you're numbers 1 and 2 on the list every year, you have the luxury of not really caring....
4.2.2007 12:23pm
702 (mail):
Long post

Those who doubt the quality/ranking of NYU Law's education have not attended NYU Law and also attended a competing school in order to make a truly informed comparison. NYU Law's faculty are predominately if not solely haled from "top programs" and more importantly armed with top actual experience as with most top law school programs. However NYU faculty have the advantage of teaching core/specialty classes in the most complex and relevant legal play ground in the world, "down town New York City". To use an analogy it is like actually teaching astronauts about weightlessness in space as opposed to teaching them on earth or taking one's students in a time machine to actually learn history. Furthermore, the goodwill associated with competing law schools like Columbia's, Harvard's, Stanford's, U Penn's, Cornell's and Yale's undergraduate programs could be argued as artificially boosting those attendant law schools' names, programs, applicant numbers and goodwill in many peoples' eyes. It may be an undeserved boost. It's almost unarguable that all of Harvard's programs get a boost from the Harvard name regardless of their merit -- whether this is deserved -- who knows I would have to attend their programs or conduct a study much like U.S. News to get a better evaluation. Undoubtedly, if Princeton, Brown or Dartmouth started law programs in 2008 they would find themselves in the top 50 once accredited. Why, namesake and quality applicant draw do to namesake?

Conversely, the NYU Law program stands alone solely on its own merit and has created a name for its self. Arguably, NYU Law boosts the rest of the Campus and not vice versa. In my opinion, the University of Chicago Law is the only other law school in the top six in a similar "hold its own" or "stand on its merit alone" position without the benefit of the "Ivy League" or perceived Ivy League (i.e. Stanford) status of its undergraduate programs.

Therefore, why anyone would laugh or scoff at the fact NYU Law faculty teach core/specialty classes just as well or better and NYU Law Students learn those classes as well if not better than Chicago's, Columbia's, Harvard's student bodies etc is just good old "elitism", old-schoolism, label whorism, name brandism, bandwagonism and willful blindness.

As far as NYC being a desirable place to live, its arguable the LA, Miami, Las Vegas, and San Diego are more desirable locations yet the law schools in those cities have not yet cracked the top ten. Yes, the Village may be a nice place to live is some peoples' view but NYU's location can not explain its ranking -- as Pace, Cuny, Cordozo, Brooklyn, New York Law, Rutgers et al. similar locations have not yet helped them crack the top twenty, thirty or fifty in some instances. In fact, Cordozo/Yeshiva Law and NYU Law almost sit on top of each other -- it's literally a eight minute walk.

As an aside, I think individuals need to realize that in a nation of nearly 290,000,000 people which boast thousands of academics contending for top law program admissions there are over enough applicants with top and duplicate credentials/scores to fill the 1L classes of four or five or more Harvards/Yales each with student bodies with equal or less than negligible merits/numbers. Even the student bodies of schools like UCLA Law, Virginia Law, BYU Law hold large numbers of students with GPAs, LSATs and credentials equivalent to a large percentage of the student bodies of law schools like Yale, Harvard etc. Because, the numbers are so close other criteria are used to distinguish the top schools and often just namesake alone is enough for some people (e.g., the U.S. news "peer assessment score" and "assessment score by lawyers and judges" surely favor Ivy League programs &Stanford). Even the bar passage rate of the top law schools could be attributed to the fact top laws admitted applicants with the highest scholastic numbers and best aptitude for standardized tests and not what those law schools taught them in the classroom nor due to the name of the law school. I.e., someone with 180 LSAT, 4.0 GPA and resources to devote themselves solely to bar studies is more likely to pass the bar then someone with 160 LSAT, 3.4 GPA and less resources or maybe not.

As one more aside, even smaller programs (i.e. "non-top ten","second tier", "third tier" programs etc") have churned out some of the most immensely successful and "top" attorneys e.g. John Cochran, Robert L. Shapiro, Greta Van Susteren, Senator John Edwards et al. Old-schoolers and "label whores" (used in the most respectable sense) need to realize times are changing.
4.7.2007 10:05pm