Monday, October 28, 2013

The 50 Best Law Faculties--the U.S. News "Effect" Isn't What It Was (though it's still there)

So with 310 votes in our last poll, the results seem to actually reflect some attempt to answer the different question:  namely, which schools have the "best faculties" in terms of scholarly distinction, compared to last time when we just asked for reader opinions of the "best schools."   (I should emphasize that beyond the top 40-50, I wonder about a lot of the results (e.g., there were plenty of schools in the 50s, 60s etc. that seem to me [a moderately informed observer] as on a par with some of those in the top 50).

1. Tied:
Harvard University  (Not defeated in any contest vs. another choice)
Yale University  (Not defeated in any contest vs. another choice)
3. Stanford University, loses to Harvard University by 212–59
4. University of Chicago, loses to Stanford University by 148–121
5. Columbia University, loses to University of Chicago by 162–103
6. New York University, loses to Columbia University by 150–107
7. University of California, Berkeley, loses to New York University by 197–63
8. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, loses to University of California, Berkeley by 160–96
9. University of Pennsylvania, loses to University of Michigan, Ann Arbor by 130–115
10. University of Virginia, loses to University of Pennsylvania by 119–118
11. Duke University, loses to University of Virginia by 187–64
12. Northwestern University, loses to Duke University by 130–121
13. Cornell University, loses to Northwestern University by 142–102
14. Georgetown University, loses to Cornell University by 137–107
15. University of California, Los Angeles, loses to Georgetown University by 143–100
16. University of Texas, Austin, loses to University of California, Los Angeles by 136–113
17. Vanderbilt University, loses to University of Texas, Austin by 170–66
18. University of Southern California, loses to Vanderbilt University by 124–87
19. Washington University, St. Louis, loses to University of Southern California by 144–68
20. George Washington University, loses to Washington University, St. Louis by 114–95
21. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul, loses to George Washington University by 109–92
22. Boston University, loses to University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul by 112–82
23. Emory University, loses to Boston University by 102–90
24. University of Notre Dame, loses to Emory University by 103–93
25. University of California, Irvine, loses to University of Notre Dame by 95–93
26. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, loses to University of California, Irvine by 95–82
27. Fordham University, loses to University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign by 93–90
28. University of Wisconsin, Madison, loses to Fordham University by 92–87
29. Boston College, loses to University of Wisconsin, Madison by 91–83
30. College of William & Mary, loses to Boston College by 86–82
31. University of California, Davis, loses to College of William & Mary by 91–87
32. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, loses to University of California, Davis by 86–82
33. University of Iowa, loses to University of California, Davis by 91–77
34. Indiana University, Bloomington, loses to University of Iowa by 80–76
35. Washington & Lee University, loses to Indiana University, Bloomington by 83–66
36. George Mason University, loses to Washington & Lee University by 80–76
37. University of Alabama, loses to George Mason University by 78–73
38. Ohio State University, loses to George Mason University by 79–76
39. Florida State University, loses to Ohio State University by 78–73
40. University of San Diego, loses to Florida State University by 82–69
41. Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University, loses to University of San Diego by 83–78
42. Arizona State University, loses to Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University by 84–67
43. University of California, Hastings, loses to Arizona State University by 82–75
44. University of Washington, Seattle, loses to University of California, Hastings by 74–72
45. University of Arizona, loses to University of Washington, Seattle by 72–70
46. University of Colorado, Boulder, loses to University of Arizona by 79–59
47. University of Georgia, loses to University of Colorado, Boulder by 68–66
48. Brigham Young University, loses to University of Georgia by 81–47
49. Brooklyn Law School, loses to Brigham Young University by 69–67
50. Wake Forest University, loses to Brooklyn Law School by 68–67

Harvard tied Yale, and, indeed, led Yale during large stretches of the voting.   San Diego and Florida State, quite correctly, out-performed their US News rank by a substantial margin.  UC Irvine, again correctly, made the top 25, despite not being ranked at all by US News.  On the other hand, some results do seem to reflect the pernicious hold of US News.  It's surely not plausible any longer that Columbia has a better faculty than NYU, or that Wash U/St. Louis has a stronger faculty than George Washington, Minnesota, or BU, or that Arizona State's faculty is stronger than Arizona's (though both are underranked, in my view).  Colorado may be a special case:  the faculty is ranked unreasonably low here, but one suspects this may be due to the notoriety of their albatross.

As the vote patterns make clear, the differences in ordinal rank do not always reflect substantial differences in votes.  So we might regroup them in clusters, also creating more ties, with the number of votes separating the school from the next highest ranked one in parentheses:

1.   Harvard University (0)

1.   Yale University (0)


3.   Stanford University (153)

4.   University of Chicago (27)


5.   Columbia University (59)

6.   New York University (43)


7.  University of California, Berkeley (134)


8.  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (64)

9.  University of Pennsylvania (15)

9.  University of Virginia (1)


11.  Duke University (123)

11.  Northwestern University (9)

13.  Cornell University (40)

14.  Georgetown University (30)

15.  University of California, Los Angeles (43)

16.  University of Texas, Austin (23)


17.  Vanderbilt University (104)

18.  University of Southern California (37)


19.  Washington University, St. Louis (76)

20.  George Washington University (19)

21.  University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul (17)

22.  Boston University (20)

23.  Emory University (12)

24.  University of Notre Dame (10)

24.  University of California, Irvine (2)


26.  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (13)

26.  Fordham University (3)

28.  University of Wisconsin, Madison (5)

29.  Boston College (8)

29.  College of William & Mary (4)

29.  University of California, Davis (4)

29.  University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (4)


33.  University of Iowa (14)

34.  Indiana University, Bloomington (4)


35.  Washington & Lee University (17)

36.  George Mason University (4)

37.  University of Alabama (5)

38.  Ohio State University (3)

39.  Florida State University (5)


40.  University of San Diego (13)

41.  Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University (5)


42.  Arizona State University (17)

43.  University of California, Hastings (7)

43.  University of Washington, Seattle (2)

43.  University of Arizona (2)


46.  University of Colorado, Boulder (20)

46.  University of Georgia (2)


48.  Brigham Young University (34)

48.  Brooklyn Law School (2)

48.  Wake Forest University (1)

51.  University of Florida, Gainesville (4)

52.  Chicago-Kent College of Law (5)

53.  American University (5)

54.  University of Maryland, Baltimore (5)


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