TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Size Matters: Thomas Cooley's 2011 Law School Rankings

Cooley Thomas Cooley Law School has released the 12th annual edition of its law school rankings, Judging the Law Schools.  The ranking is based an equal (2.5%) weights assigned to 40 objective variables from the Official ABA Guide to Approved Law Schools.  Many of these variables favor large law schools:
  • J.D. enrollment
  • Minority J.D. enrollment
  • Foreign J.D. enrollment
  • 1L enrollment
  • 1L minority enrollment
  • Applications
  • Number of full-time faculty
  • Number of part-time faculty
  • Total teaching faculty
  • Number of minority faculty
  • Number of 2L & 3L courses
  • Library expenditures 
  • Total volumes in library
  • Total titles in library
  • Total serial subscriptions
  • Number of professional librarians
  • Library seating capacity
  • Number of networked computers available for student use
  • Total library square footage
  • Total non-library square footage
  • Total law school square footage
  • Number of states in which graduates are employed

Here are the Top 50 Law Schools under this methodology (along with the school's U.S. News rank and total J.D. enrollment):

  1. Harvard (#2 in U.S. News; 1,765 students)
  2. Thomas M. Cooley (Tier 4; 3,727)
  3. Georgetown (#14; 1,982)
  4. NYU (#6; 1,427)
  5. Virginia (#10; 1,122)
  6. Columbia (#4; 1,310)
  7. Northwestern (#11; 814)
  8. Texas (#15; 1,182)
  9. George Washington (#20; 1,632)
  10. Yale (#1; 613)
  11. American (#48; 1,485)
  12. Michigan (#9; 1,117)
  13. Pennsylvania (#7; 791)
  14. Boston University (#22; 830)
  15. Miami (#60; 1,384)
  16. UCLA (#15; 1,011)
  17. Fordham (#34; 1,469)
  18. Washington University (#19; 856)
  19. Minnesota (#22; 766)
  20. UC-Hastings (#42; 1,299)
  21. Wisconsin (#28; 825)
  22. Maryland (#48; 953)
  23. Brooklyn (#67; 1,458)
  24. Houston (#60; 898)
  25. Temple (#72; 976)
  26. Loyola-L.A. (#56; 1,287)
  27. UC-Berkeley (#7; 892)
  28. Chicago-Kent (#80; 948)
  29. Emory (#22; 715)
  30. Stanford (#3; 557)
  31. Duke (#11; 661)
  32. Suffolk (Tier 3; 1,682)
  33. Cardozo (#52; 1,121)
  34. Cornell (#13; 622)
  35. North Carolina (#28; 765)
  36. Stetson (Tier 3; 1084)
  37. Boston College (#28; 814)
  38. Indiana-Bloomington (#27; 622)
  39. South Texas (Tier 4; 1,278)
  40. John Marshall (Tier 4; 1,377)
  41. Chicago (#5; 590)
  42. Hofstra (#86; 1,109)
  43. Seton Hall (#72; 1,090)
  44. Florida (#47; 1,106)
  45. St. Louis (Tier 3; 967)
  46. Ohio State (#34; 669)
  47. SMU (#48; 903)
  48. Connecticut (#54; 641)
  49. Illinois (#21; 617)
  50. Lewis & Clark (#64; 715)

Note that this is the most extreme example of the phenomenon we observed in What Law School Can Learn From Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, 82 Tex. L. Rev. 1483, 1524 n.235 (2004): in every alternative ranking of law schools, the ranker's school ranks higher than it does under U.S. News. The spread in Thomas Cooley's ranking (2 v. Tier 4) is by far the largest of any of the alternative rankings we studied.

For more on the Thomas Cooley rankings, see

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2011/02/size-matters-.html

Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c4eab53ef0147e2700aca970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Size Matters: Thomas Cooley's 2011 Law School Rankings:

Comments

The irony is that size may actually matter. The larger the law school, the more alumni they will have to hire their graduates.

Posted by: anon | Feb 9, 2011 11:30:02 AM

I wish Cooley Law School would just accept that they are a 4th Tier law school and quietly work towards getting better. Every time they release their own law school rankings, and rank their own law school as one of the best in the country, they become the laughing stock of all law schools and earn themselves the title of worst law school in America. The law school does not need to conform, but time after time they humiliate their students, faculty, and general image. For example, it was not too long ago when they decided to spend $1.5 Million for the naming rights of a minor league baseball stadium (http://www.legalnews.com/macomb/1000233). Sadly, it is law schools like this that continue to tarnish the name of the legal profession.

Posted by: Kona | Feb 9, 2011 1:37:51 PM

seriously? why can't you just say this is absurd? professors are supposed to say what they think. is it because the data speaks for itself?

Posted by: anon | Feb 9, 2011 2:09:14 PM

WOOOO-HOOOO! WUSTTTL is movin' on up!

Posted by: WUSTTTL Student | Feb 9, 2011 2:14:13 PM

Anon, first the alumni have to get jobs themselves.

Posted by: Nick Beat | Feb 9, 2011 2:31:02 PM

This is funny...First of all how does a larger library help when there is the internet. Obsolete. Number of states where graduates are employed?? That makes a better school?. The good thing about these rankings is it shows is the stupidity of the US News report which should be ignored. Some schools have unique programs- like John Marshall LL.M in employee benefits and Thomas Jefferson LL.M in International tax. My law school was ranked number 1 in the U.S. by ME as it had the best beaches and nightlife and good academics 5++ LL.M programs-The University of Miami! A clear No. 1 choice for people who want a life!

Posted by: Nick Paleveda MBA J.D. LL.M | Feb 10, 2011 12:47:31 PM