Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

US News Reputation Scores for 2007

Lots of folks have e-mailed me the new U.S. News rankings, and the underlying numbers check out.   There aren't a lot of significant changes from last year in the reputational scores, the one part of the ranking that can't be gamed.  (This doesn't mean they have a lot of validity, but at least their problems are not related to actions by the schools being evaluated.)  I list, below, the top 30 in academic reputation, followed by the reputation score (on a 5 point scale) and then the overall rank; the list that follows does the same for lawyer/judge reputation, but minus the overall rank.  Most of the discrepancies between reputation score and overall rank are due to the factors discussed here.

Academic Reputation

1.  Yale University (4.9) (1)

2.  Harvard University (4.8) (2)

3.  Stanford University (4.7) (2)

4.  Columbia University (4.6) (5)

4.  New York University (4.6) (4)

4.  University of Chicago (4.6) (6)

7.  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (4.5) (8)

8.  University of California, Berkeley (4.4) (8)

8.  University of Virginia (4.4) (10)

10. University of Pennsylvania (4.3) (6)

11. Cornell University (4.1) (13)

11. Duke University (4.1) (10)

11. Georgetown University (4.1) (14)

14. Northwestern University (4.0) (12)

14. University of California, Los Angeles (4.0) (15)

14. University of Texas, Austin (4.0) (18)

17.  University of Southern California (3.7) (16)

17.  Vanderbilt University (3.7) (16)

19.  University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (3.5) (20)

19.  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (3.5) (36)

19.  University of Wisconsin, Madison (3.5) (31)

19.  Washington University, St. Louis (3.5) (19)

23.  Boston University (3.4) (20)

23.  Emory University (3.4) (22)

23.  George Washington University (3.4) (22)

23.  University of California, Davis (3.4) (34)

23.  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (3.4) (25)

23.  University of Iowa (3.4) (24)

23.  Washington & Lee University (3.4) (25)

30.  Boston College (3.3) (28)

30.  Ohio State University (3.3) (31)

30.  University of Notre Dame (3.3) (28)

As usual, the academic reputation results look more like the world law professors know, though even here there are some very odd results that indicate this isn't a good measure of faculty quality and, as Professor Stake has shown, the reputation score tends to be an "echo chamber."  (An especially egregious case is Hastings, which had a reputation score of 3.2, and overall rank of 36th, presumably because of a disastrous overall rank for a couple of years.  I assume its score didn't go down because, e.g., Geoffrey Hazard has taken up a half-time post on the faculty!)  One notable change in academic reputation this year is that NYU's reputation rank (4th) is, I am fairly certain, its highest ever in U.S. News.  That result is rather overdue (even if Chicago still has a better faculty!).

Lawyer/Judge Reputation
Note:  these scores tend to fluctuate more year to year, probably because the response rate is so low (always under one-third of those surveyed respond--this year only 29%).

1.  Harvard University (4.8)

1.  Stanford University (4.8)

1.  Yale University (4.8)

4.  Columbia University (4.7)

4.  University of Chicago (4.7)

6.  New York University (4.6)

6.  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (4.6)

6.  University of Virginia (4.6)

9.  University of California, Berkeley (4.5)

9.  University of Pennsylvania (4.5)

11.  Cornell University (4.4)

11.  Duke University (4.4)

11.  Northwestern University (4.4)

14.  Georgetown University (4.3)

14.  University of Texas, Austin (4.3)

14.  Vanderbilt University (4.3)

17.  University of California, Los Angeles (4.0)

17.  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (4.0)

19.  Emory University (3.9)

20.  George Washington University (3.8)

20.  University of California, Hastings (3.8)

20.  University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (3.8)

20.  University of Notre Dame (3.8)

20.  Washington & Lee University (3.8)

20.  Washington University, St. Louis (3.8)

26.  Boston College (3.7)

26.  College of William & Mary (3.7)

26.  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (3.7)

26.  University of Iowa (3.7)

26.  University of Southern California (3.7)

26.  University of Wisconsin, Madison (3.7)

The other underlying data (except, ironically, the per capita expenditure data, which plays a very significant role in the overall rank) will be avaliable to subscribers on Friday, as I understand it.  Others have listed the full ordinal list of the top 100 according to U.S. News, for reasons that may be known only to them; the "overall" rank is a sheer nonsense number, most dramatically so outside the top 20-25 or so.  There is more on that subject, of course, here and, more recently, here.

I have quite a bit to do, including travel, the next few days, but I may have more on U.S. News later in the week.  In the interim, good luck to all students deciding on law school the next few weeks!

UPDATE:  Here is the rest of the top 50 in academic reputation; frankly, the further down one goes, the weirder (and sometimes inexplicable) the results get, presumably because evaluators know less and less about the schools and their faculties.  With that caveat, here is the rest of the top 50 in academic reputation (with overall rank following the raw score):

33.  College of William & Mary (3.2) (31)

33.  Fordham University (3.2) (25)

33.  Indiana University, Bloomington (3.2) (36)

33.  University of California, Hastings (3.2) (36)

37.  University of Arizona (3.1) (44)

37.  University of Florida, Gainesville (3.1) (47)

37.  University of Washington, Seattle (3.1) (28)

40.  Tulane University (3.0) (47)

40.  University of Colorado, Boulder (3.0) (36)

40.  University of Georgia (3.0) (36)

40.  Wake Forest University (3.0) (36)

44.  American University (2.9) (47)

44.  Arizona State University (2.9) (51)

44.  University of Connecticut (2.9) (47)

44.  University of Maryland (2.9) (36)

48.  Brigham Young University (2.8) (44)

48.  Florida State University (2.8) (53)

48.  University of Alabama (2.8) (36)

48.  University of Miami (2.8) (70)

48.  University of Oregon (2.8) (82)

48.  University of Pittsburgh (2.8) (57)

48.  University of San Diego (2.8) (85)

I take it as a modest sign that my ranking site has had some constructive influence that deserving schools like San Diego and Florida State are now in the top 50 for academic reputation, but it is, alas, still surprising that schools like George Mason (2.7 in academic reputation), Chicago-Kent (2.6), and Houston (2.6), among others, are not.

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