Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Top 40 Law Schools in the U.S.--Let's Settle This Once and For All

We haven't run a meaningless Internet poll in awhile, and since there's not much real news, here it goes: let's rank the top 40 law schools in the U.S.  There are 57 choices, and I'm reasonably confident no plausible contender for the top 40 is omitted from the list of 57, though I know full well many other good schools comparable to some of those on the list of 57 have been omitted (sorry!).  But we only want to know the complete Internet truth about the top 40, by whatever criteria you deem relevant (faculty quality, students, programs, proximity to a beach, etc.).  Have fun

Any blog that links to this survey will immediately have their school dropped from the reported results!!!  That's because we're serious about the scientific method, you know.

UTTERLY EMBARRASSING ERROR ADDENDUM:  A reader has just pointed out that Fordham was omitted from the list, even though it is obviously one of the "top 40" law schools in the US!  Red-face apologies for this foolish transcription error!  (Unfortunately, once the poll starts, new schools can't be added.)

STRATEGIC VOTING ALERT:  It's hard to accomplish much strategic voting in a Condorcet poll, but the Florida State folks are making some slight progress by repeatedly voting their school #1.  Tsk, tsk!  Cut it out guys!

SOME INITIAL RESULTS, before there is too much more bad behavior.  With nearly 250 votes cast, here is the 'top 40' (note, of course, that Fordham would surely be in the top 40, if it had not been inadvertently omitted).  You can gauge the extent of attempted strategic voting by the rate at which a school loses to Yale.  34 people, for example, ranked FSU as high or higher than Yale.  Condorcet is sufficiently hard to manipulate, though, that even before this obvious outburst of strategic voting, FSU was still solidly top 40 (a reasonable result, in my view, if one is weighting faculty quality heavily, as many readers of this blog surely are), so the strategic push only gained FSU a few spots.

1. Yale University  (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. Harvard University  loses to Yale University by 118–74
3. Stanford University  loses to Yale University by 168–28, loses to Harvard University by 154–35
4. University of Chicago  loses to Yale University by 169–31, loses to Stanford University by 130–52
5. Columbia University  loses to Yale University by 178–18, loses to University of Chicago by 102–85
6. New York University  loses to Yale University by 176–22, loses to Columbia University by 127–57
7. University of California, Berkeley  loses to Yale University by 182–17, loses to New York University by 127–53
8. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor  loses to Yale University by 183–17, loses to University of California, Berkeley by 111–67
9. University of Pennsylvania  loses to Yale University by 187–16, loses to University of Michigan, Ann Arbor by 105–75
10. University of Virginia  loses to Yale University by 185–15, loses to University of Pennsylvania by 91–81
11. Duke University  loses to Yale University by 189–11, loses to University of Virginia by 136–35
12. Northwestern University  loses to Yale University by 189–12, loses to Duke University by 95–70
13. Georgetown University  loses to Yale University by 187–12, loses to Northwestern University by 86–80
14. University of Texas, Austin  loses to Yale University by 185–16, loses to Georgetown University by 93–74
15. Cornell University  loses to Yale University by 190–9, loses to University of Texas, Austin by 86–78
16. University of California, Los Angeles  loses to Yale University by 185–10, loses to Cornell University by 98–62
17. Vanderbilt University  loses to Yale University by 186–10, loses to University of California, Los Angeles by 105–49
18. University of Southern California  loses to Yale University by 189–6, loses to Vanderbilt University by 88–60
19. Washington University, St. Louis  loses to Yale University by 187–8, loses to University of Southern California by 107–43
20. George Washington University  loses to Yale University by 188–9, loses to Washington University, St. Louis by 74–66
21. Boston University  loses to Yale University by 187–8, loses to George Washington University by 85–55
22. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul  loses to Yale University by 187–7, loses to Boston University by 73–66
23. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign  loses to Yale University by 180–12, loses to University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul by 67–63
24. Emory University  loses to Yale University by 184–6, loses to University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign by 76–60
25. University of Notre Dame  loses to Yale University by 187–8, loses to Emory University by 84–55
26. Boston College  loses to Yale University by 187–5, loses to University of Notre Dame by 68–67
27. University of Wisconsin, Madison  loses to Yale University by 183–8, loses to Boston College by 68–65
28. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill  loses to Yale University by 185–9, loses to University of Wisconsin, Madison by 70–57
29. University of Iowa  loses to Yale University by 187–6, loses to University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill by 66–65
30. College of William & Mary  loses to Yale University by 187–7, loses to University of Iowa by 80–50
31. University of California, Davis  loses to Yale University by 182–8, loses to College of William & Mary by 72–58
32. Florida State University  loses to Yale University by 169–34, loses to University of California, Davis by 78–77
33. University of California, Irvine  loses to Yale University by 184–7, loses to Florida State University by 78–77
34. Indiana University, Bloomington  loses to Yale University by 182–11, loses to University of California, Irvine by 69–62
35. University of California, Hastings  loses to Yale University by 181–9, loses to Indiana University, Bloomington by 72–53
36. George Mason University  loses to Yale University by 184–9, loses to University of California, Hastings by 64–63
37. Ohio State University  loses to Yale University by 183–6, loses to George Mason University by 65–63
38. Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University  loses to Yale University by 181–5, loses to Ohio State University by 71–46
39. Washington & Lee University  loses to Yale University by 186–5, loses to Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University by 60–59
40. University of Colorado, Boulder  loses to Yale University by 179–9, loses to Washington & Lee University by 63–51

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