March 11, 2014
U.S. News.com 2014 Reputation Results
Here are the top 50 in academic reputation (66% response rate):
1. Harvard University (4.8)
1. Yale University (4.8)
3. Stanford University (4.7)
4. Columbia University (4.6)
4. University of Chicago (4.6)
6. New York University (4.4)
6. University of California, Berkeley (4.4)
6. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (4.4)
9. University of Pennsylvania (4.3)
9. University of Virginia (4.3)
11. Duke University (4.2)
12. Cornell University (4.1)
12. Georgetown University (4.1)
12. Northwestern University (4.1)
15. University of Texas, Austin (4.0)
16. University of California, Los Angeles (3.9)
17. Vanderbilt University (3.8)
18. Washington University, St. Louis (3.6)
19. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (3.5)
19. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (3.5)
19. University of Southern California (3.5)
22. Emory University (3.4)
22. George Washington University (3.4)
22. University of California, Davis (3.4)
22. University of Notre Dame (3.4)
26. Boston University (3.3)
26. University of Wisconsin, Madison (3.3)
28. Boston College (3.2)
28. College of William & Mary (3.2)
28. Fordham University (3.2)
28. Indiana University, Bloomington (3.2)
28. Ohio State University (3.2)
28. University of Iowa (3.2)
28. Washington & Lee University (3.2)
35. University of Alabama (3.1)
35. University of Arizona (3.1)
35. University of California, Hastings (3.1)
35. University of Florida, Gainesville (3.1)
35. University of Georgia (3.1)
35. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (3.1)
35. University of Washington, Seattle (3.1)
35. Wake Forest University (3.1)
43. Arizona State University (3.0)
43. Tulane University (3.0)
43. University of Colorado, Boulder (3.0)
46. Brigham Young University (2.9)
46. Florida State University (2.9)
46. University of Maryland (2.9)
49. American University (2.8)
49. Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University (2.8)
49. University of Connecticut (2.8)
49. University of Utah (2.8)
Schools clearly underranked in this year's academic survey include Southern California, Illinois, Florida State, and San Diego (2.7). In the case of Illinois, they are clearly still suffering from the scandal about student credentials.
Here are the top 25 in lawyer/judge reputation (32% responded, an all-time high, probably due to the new survey methodology--schools were asked to nominate professionals familiar with the school)
1. Harvard University (4.8)
1. Stanford University (4.8)
3. Columbia University (4.7)
3. University of Chicago (4.7)
3. Yale University (4.7)
6. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (4.6)
7. Duke University (4.5)
7. New York University (4.5)
7. University of California, Berkeley (4.5)
7. University of Virginia (4.5)
11. Cornell University (4.4)
11. Georgetown University (4.4)
11. Northwestern University (4.4)
11. University of Pennsylvania (4.4)
15. University of California, Los Angeles (4.1)
15. University of Texas, Austin (4.1)
15. Vanderbilt University (4.1)
18. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (3.9)
19. Emory University (3.8)
19. University of California, Hastings (3.8)
19. University of Notre Dame (3.8)
19. University of Southern Califiornia (3.8)
19. Washington University, St. Louis (3.8)
24. Boston College (3.7)
24. College of William & Mary (3.7)
24. George Washington University (3.7)
24. Indiana University, Bloomington (3.7)
24. University of California, Davis (3.7)
24. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (3.7)
24. Washington & Lee University (3.7)
March 09, 2014
An Open Letter to Other Law Bloggers Regarding the US News.com Rankings
MOVING TO FRONT FROM LAST YEAR
When the new rankings come out shortly, may I suggest that you not post the overall ranking. You all know the overall rank assigned to a school by U.S. News is meaningless, often perniciously so. It combines too many factors, in an inexplicable formula, and much of the underlying data isn't reliable, and some of it (e.g., expenditures on secretarial salaries and electriciy) isn't even relevant. You all know this. So don't report it. The fact that this garbage appears in what used to be a major 'news' magazine doesn't change the fact that it is garbage.
Instead, let me suggest that if you want to blog about the rankings when they come out, write about some of the underlying data that speaks for itself: the reputational scores, for example, or the bar passage rates, or the numerical credentials of the students. Those have limitations too--the median of 500 is not really comparable to the median of 200; the reputation scores are not based on presenting evaluators with any information about the schools being evaluated; and so on--but one can at least say clearly what the limitations are, and one is not hostage either to the dishonesty of the schools "reporting" the data or the sheer idiocy of the U.S. News ranking formula.
APRIL 9, 2009 ADDENDUM: I should also note that, to my knowledge, U.S. News has done nothing to address the methodological problems raised last year.
UPDATE (MARCH 5, 2013): The Dean of a flagship state law school writes, "Your post on US News Rankings is much appreciated. Schools like mine do not play the game, and truly try to keep our tuition low. We spend our money on our students and their education. The hypocrisy of the 'legal education reformers' astounds me. They will be the first to denigrate the education we offer here, since we are not a top 100 school. Thanks for the good message, even if not enough schools listen."
UPDATE (MARCH 10, 2014): Lawyer Bobby Cheren writes: "How about referring to them as the 'USNews.com' rankings from now on, as the magazine is essentially defunct?" Apt point!
March 05, 2014
More signs of the time: declining 1L enrollments
Blog Emperor Caron has the sordid details. Not all declines are created equal: some are due to dramatic drops in applicants, but some are surely due to a desire to preserve the numerical quality of the study body and thus rankings. The schools with increases in enrollment, also noted, are interesting.
March 03, 2014
NLJ 250 Placement Rankings corrected...
February 25, 2014
Where the NLJ 250 firms hire
Blog Emperor Caron reports on the brand new listing. Some shuffling about, but basically the same as in prior years (Columbia, Harvard, Chicago, Penn almost always in the top five; NYU, Northwestern almost always in the top six; Stanford, Cornell, Duke, Berkeley almost always in the top ten; etc.). Yale's typically weak performance is due to the fact that the NLJ 250 study does not capture graduates who go into clerkships, are doing PhDs, going into government service, joining elite litigation boutiques, and so on.
February 20, 2014
Law firm hiring, the latest NALP report for fall 2013
Good, not great: much better than the depths of the recession, and holding steady or improving from last year in most parts of the country, but not close to being back to pre-recession levels (no surprise there).
January 28, 2014
California bar passage rates...
UPDATE: Blog Emperor Caron breaks out the data in a chart. Here's how the school's rank by percentage of first-time test-takers who passed the bar between 1997 and 2011 (the number in parentheses is the rank for the period 2007-2011, which gives a sense of which schools have improved their performance, and which have not):
1. Stanford University (1)
2. University of California, Berkeley (3)
3. University of California, Los Angeles (4)
4. University of Southern California (2)
5. University of California, Hastings (7)
6. University of California, Davis (7)
7. Pepperdine University (5)
8. Loyola Law School, Los Angeles (6)
9. University of San Diego (13)
10. University of San Francisco (9)
January 05, 2014
SSRN Download Mystery
I just happened to look, for the first time in a few months, at the download stats for law professors at SSRN, and here's what I found for the last 12 months (the first number is the total number of downloads in the last 12 months, the second is the download rank, and the third is the number of new papers in the last 12 months):
The mystery is: what happened to Cass Sunstein (Harvard) and Daniel Solove (George Washington), who are usual mainstays of the top ten? (Several years ago, Solove published a paper that got picked up by the media and which has been downloaded some 135,000 times all by itself!). Shoot me an e-mail if you know.
UPDATE: An astute reader notes that it appears Harvard and George Washington faculty were somehow not counted, since also missing from the law list are high download authors like Lucian Bebchuk (Harvard) and Orin Kerr (George Washington)!
SOLUTION: The "all authors" list includes the missing law professors, yielding the following top ten list for law faculty:
1. Cass Sunstein (Harvard)
2. Daniel Solove (George Washington)
3. Glenn Reynolds (Tennessee)
4. Dan Kahan (Yale)
5. Lucian Bebchuk (Harvard)
6. Mark Lemley (Stanford)
7. Brian Leiter (Chicago)
8. Orin Kerr (George Washington)
9. Ryan Goodman (NYU)
10. G. Mitu Gulati (Duke)
The only real surprise there is Reynolds, though considering his blog has at least a half million readers, I'm surprised he isn't #1!
December 31, 2013
Signs of the times: 2013 in review
A useful wrap-up from Karen Sloan at The National Law Journal.
Happy New Year to all readers!
December 17, 2013
1l Enrollment in fall 2013 down 11% from the prior year
The ABA report is here:
The 202 ABA-approved J.D. programs reported that 39,675 full-time and part-time students began their law school studies in the fall of 2013. This is a decrease of 4,806 students (11 percent) from the fall of 2012 and a 24 percent decrease from the historic high 1L enrollment of 52,488 in the fall of 2010.
Approximately two-thirds of ABA-law schools (135) experienced declines in first-year enrollment from last year. At 81 law schools, 1L declines exceeded 10 percent.
At 63 schools, 1L enrollment increased from 2012. At 27 of those schools, enrollment increased 10 percent or more.
At 34 schools, the number of 1L students stayed within five students above or below last year’s figures.