TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

U.S. News Rankings: Overperforming and Underperforming Law Schools

2014Following up on yesterday's post, U.S. News Rankings: Overperforming and Underperforming Colleges:  I used the same methodology to produce this list of overperforming and underperforming law schools:

Overperformers
Schools with an overall numerical rank in the 2014 U.S. News Law School Rankings that is better than the school's academic peer assessment rank by the largest number of places:

  Overall Peer Overperformance
Florida International 105 159 54
Campbell 126 174 48
Samford 113 152 39
Richmond 53 90 37
Baylor 54 90 36
Louisville 68 101 33
Tulsa 86 118 32
Penn State 64 90 26
Texas Tech 105 130 25
Arkansas-Fayetteville 68 90 22
Alabama 21 42 21
SMU 48 69 21
Drake 109 130 21
Nebraska 61 80 19
St. Mary's 140 159 19
West Virginia 91 109 18
Chapman 126 143 17
Seton Hall 64 80 16
St. Louis 102 118 16
Georgia State 54 69 15
South Texas 144 159 15
George Mason 41 55 14
Houston 48 62 14
LSU 76 90 14
Arizona State 29 42 13

 

Underperformers
Schools with an overall numerical rank in the 2014 U.S. News Law School Rankings Rankings that is lower than the school's academic peer assessment rank by the largest number of places:

  Overall Peer Underperformance
Oregon 94 51 43
Pittsburgh 91 55 36
San Francisco 144 109 35
Santa Clara 96 62 34
Maine 134 101 33
Indiana-Indianapolis 98 69 29
Suffolk 144 118 26
Miami 76 51 25
Howard 126 101 25
Idaho 134 109 25
Kansas 86 62 24
CUNY 132 109 23
Seattle 102 80 22
DePaul 109 90 19
Brooklyn 80 62 18
Cincinnati 80 62 18
Rutgers-Newark 86 69 17
Loyola-New Orleans 126 109 17
UC-Hastings 48 32 16
Quinnipiac 134 118 16
Baltimore 134 118 16
UC-Davis 38 23 15
American 56 42 14
Marquette 94 80 14
Albany 132 118 14
Case Western 68 55 13
Loyola-L.A. 68 55 13
San Diego 68 55 13

Update

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2013/12/us-news--1.html

Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Comments

In order to determine that these schools are "over" or "under" performing, you first must accept the premise that US News rankings is an accurate barometer of performance. I do not.

Posted by: Kato | Dec 17, 2013 9:24:32 AM

These charts use peer evaluation as the benchmark and compare performance, to determine whether the schools are living up to those peer evaluations. Perhaps another approach is to use the overall ranking as the benchmark and determine whether the peer evaluations are bloated or short-changed. Assuming that peer evaluation is the better benchmark is questionable, especially since it is subjective, in contrast to the objective (though often erroneous) factors that account for a good chunk of the overall rankings.

Posted by: James Edward Maule | Dec 17, 2013 9:29:02 AM

Not sure what this proves. Since the poll of "peers" is to a relatively small group of lawyer and judges throughout the U.S., I really don't know how a lawyer or district court judge in, say, Kentucky can know that much about a school like, say, Seatlle or CUNY. They probably don't ask other lawyers what school they attended, and even if they did hardly ever would encounter graduates of those schools or others. U.S. News' methodology is pretty awful, and it has caused so many detrimental effects on legal education, including a major portion of the high costs to students.

Posted by: Ralph Brill | Dec 17, 2013 9:40:26 AM

My school, KU Law, is ranked 26th in the nation for the least amount of student debt at graduation. We're also ranked well into the bottom half for expenditures per student. US News rankings includes the latter, but not the former. So KU Law, as well as a number of other public law schools, are punished for keeping tuition affordable while other law schools are rewarded for overspending (and overcharging). Although this doesn't account for all the schools on the "underperform" list, it certainly is a factor.

Posted by: Steven Freedman | Dec 17, 2013 10:29:57 AM

Can you post the entire list of law schools, ordered by PA?

There are one or two schools I fully expected to be in your underperforming law school list that aren't there....curious where they fall in terms of PA compared to their "overall" rank. I would've bet you money they would've been a top 10 underperformer....strange.

Posted by: LEIC | Dec 18, 2013 12:35:32 PM

This data seems to confirm that Texas schools don't do well in peer assessment.

Posted by: Sapna Kumar | Dec 18, 2013 10:09:25 PM