May 15, 2014

Federal clerkship placement rankings by school, 2011-2013

The ranking.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 15, 2014 in Rankings, Student Advice | Permalink

May 09, 2014

Corporate Practice Commentator's Top 10 Articles of 2013

They are:

The Top 10 Corporate and Securities Articles of 2013

The Corporate Practice Commentator is pleased to announce the results of its twentieth annual poll to select the ten best corporate and securities articles.  Teachers in corporate and securities law were asked to select the best corporate and securities articles from a list of articles published and indexed in legal journals during 2013.   More than 550 articles were on this year’s list.  Because of the vagaries of publication, indexing, and mailing, some articles published in 2013 have a 2012 date, and not all articles containing a 2013 date were published and indexed in time to be included in this year’s list.

The articles, listed in alphabetical order of the initial author, are:

Armour, John, Bernard Black and Brian Cheffins. Is Delaware losing its cases? 9 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 605-656 (2012).

Bebchuk, Lucian A. The myth that insulating boards serves long-term value. 113 Colum. L. Rev. 1637-1694 (2013). 

Bratton, William W. and Michael L. Wachter. A theory of preferred stock. 161 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1815-1906 (2013). 

Choi, Stephen, Jill Fisch, and Marcel Kahan. Who calls the shots? How mutual funds vote on director elections. 3 Harv. Bus. L. Rev. 35-82 (2013).

Coates, John C. IV. Corporate politics, governance, and value before and after Citizens United. 9 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 657-696 (2012).

Gilson, Ronald J. and Jeffrey N. Gordon. The agency costs of agency capitalism: Activist investors and the revaluation of governance rights. 113 Colum. L. Rev. 863-927 (2013). 

Grundfest, Joseph A. and Kristen A. Savelle. The brouhaha over intra-corporate forum selection provisions: A legal, economic, and political analysis. 68 Bus. Law. 325-410 (2013). 

Klausner, Michael. Fact and fiction in corporate law and governance. 65 Stan. L. Rev. 1325-1370 (2013). 

Langevoort, Donald C. and Robert B. Thompson. "Publicness" in contemporary securities regulation after the JOBS Act. 101 Geo. L.J. 337-386 (2013). 

Rock, Edward B. Adapting to the new shareholder-centric reality. 161 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1907-1988 (2013). 

By institutional affiliation, the schools with the most authors represented are:  Penn (4), Harvard (2), NYU (2), Columbia (2), Stanford (2), Georgetown (2).


Posted by Brian Leiter on May 9, 2014 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

May 01, 2014

ATL's approach to ranking law schools: decide what the result should be, then adjust the criteria accordingly

I wish I were making this up, but here it is:

“The top 15 or so are roughly the same schools as you would find in U.S. News and elsewhere,” explains Brian Dalton, research director for Above the Law. “Yale, Harvard and Stanford are the top three as they would be under any credible ranking scheme…"

Note that when U.S. surveyed lawyers and judges last fall (with a 32% respones rate, an all-time high for these surveys), here were "the top three":

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)

But, heck, what do lawyers and judges know.

And here are the "top three" schools based on scholarly impact in the study by Greg Sisk (St. Thomas) and colleagues in 2012:

1.  Yale University

2.  Harvard University

3.  University of Chicago

And the "top three" according to The National Law Journal based on big firm placement:

1.  Columbia University

2.  University of Chicago

3.  New York University

 And the "top three" in the business law areas:

1.  Harvard University

2.  Columbia University

3.  New York University

But, of course, any "credible" ranking must replicate U.S.

If they really aren't about to go under, they surely deserve to if this is really their approach.

Posted by Brian Leiter on May 1, 2014 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

April 30, 2014

I don't get to agree with Justice Alito that often...

...but I can happily agree with this observation (from this profile):

The U.S. News and World Report rankings of law schools are an abomination. The legal profession and the country would be better off if they were eliminated. I gather that all these rankings are one of these things that keeps U.S. News and World Report in the black—unlike Newsweek.

(Thanks to Ronald Collins for the pointer.)

Posted by Brian Leiter on April 30, 2014 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

March 31, 2014

Top U.S. research universities, 2014

Here, based on aggregation of U.S. News reputational data, for those who are interested.

Posted by Brian Leiter on March 31, 2014 in Rankings | Permalink

March 20, 2014

Falsehood of the day: "U.S. News, for all of its faults, is how employers think of you"

Elie Mystal, one of the bloggers at "Above the Law," wrote this last week (a reader forwarded it to me).  No evidence was offered, and that's not surprising:  the statement is false in almost all cases.  Employers, to be sure, have views about different law schools, but they are based on experience, in some cases, experience that stretches over decades.  Actual lawyers and judges do not, in my experience, pay any attention to U.S. News at all.  A couple of years ago, for example, I was speaking to a distinguished group of Northwestern University Law School alumni about the U.S. News rankings.  There were about 125 to 150 lawyers (and a few judges) there.  Many of the lawyers in attendance had been or were the current hiring partners at their firms.  I asked a simple question:  how many had looked at the recent U.S. news rankings of law schools?  Maybe five hands went up in the entire room.  To a person, all these lawyers and judges said they based their evaluations of law schools--where they recruit, how deep into the class they will go for new hires--on their past experience with the schools and their graduates.  Full stop.  No one was waiting for the U.S. News law school rankings to decide where to interview or whom to hire.

So if lawyers and judges don't care about them, who does care about the U.S. News rankings?  Prospective students and journalists.  Prospective students are very clearly influenced by them, in part because journalists hype them and report on them irresponsibily.  And because of those two constituencies, law schools have to care as well:  if, in fact, the students a school wants will go elsewhere because of a precipitous drop in the US News ranking, this will over a period of time affect how the employers that hire frm that school perceive it, not because they follow U.S. News, but because they will notice the change in the caliber of the student body.

Posted by Brian Leiter on March 20, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

March 12, 2014

Why can't law schools just ignore US rankings?

Because of idiotic pieces like this that treat changes in the overall rank as meaningful. 

Posted by Brian Leiter on March 12, 2014 in Rankings | Permalink

March 11, 2014

U.S. 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)

Posted by Brian Leiter on March 11, 2014 in Rankings | Permalink

March 09, 2014

An Open Letter to Other Law Bloggers Regarding the US Rankings


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 '' rankings from now on, as the magazine is essentially defunct?"  Apt point!

Posted by Brian Leiter on March 9, 2014 in Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

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.

Posted by Brian Leiter on March 5, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink