TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, March 9, 2015

2016 U.S. News Peer Reputation Rankings (v. Overall Rankings)

2016 U.S. News RankingsContinuing a TaxProf Blog tradition (see links below for 2009-2015), here is the full list of the 198 law schools ranked by academic peer reputation, as well as their overall rank, in the new 2016 U.S. News Law School Rankings (methodology here):

Peer Rank

Peer Score

School

Overall Rank

1

4.8

Yale

1

1

4.8

Harvard

2

1

4.8

Stanford

2

4

4.6

Columbia

4

4

4.6

Chicago

4

6

4.5

NYU

6

7

4.4

Penn

7

7

4.4

UC-Berkeley

8

7

4.4

Michigan

11

10

4.3

Virginia

8

11

4.2

Duke

8

11

4.2

Cornell

13

13

4.1

Northwestern

12

13

4.1

Georgetown

14

15

4.0

Texas

15

16

3.9

UCLA

16

17

3.8

Vanderbilt

17

18

3.5

Washington U.

18

18

3.5

Emory

19

18

3.5

USC

20

21

3.4

Minnesota

20

21

3.4

G. Washington

22

21

3.4

Notre Dame

22

21

3.4

North Carolina

34

25

3.3

Boston University

26

25

3.3

UC-Davis

31

25

3.3

Wisconsin

31

28

3.2

Alabama

22

28

3.2

Iowa

22

28

3.2

William & Mary

29

28

3.2

Boston College

34

28

3.2

Fordham

34

28

3.2

Indiana

34

28

3.2

Ohio State

34

35

3.1

U. Washington

28

35

3.1

Georgia

31

35

3.1

Colorado

40

35

3.1

Illinois

41

35

3.1

Wash. & Lee

42

35

3.1

Florida

47

35

3.1

UC-Hastings

59

42

3.0

Arizona State

26

42

3.0

UC-Irvine

30

42

3.0

Arizona

42

42

3.0

Wake Forest

47

42

3.0

Tulane

50

47

2.9

BYU

34

47

2.9

Maryland

47

47

2.9

Florida State

50

50

2.8

Utah

42

50

2.8

Connecticut

63

50

2.8

American

71

53

2.7

George Mason

42

53

2.7

Miami

63

53

2.7

Denver

67

53

2.7

Cardozo

75

57

2.6

SMU

46

57

2.6

Pepperdine

52

57

2.6

Temple

52

57

2.6

Tennessee

52

57

2.6

Missouri

59

57

2.6

Kansas

67

57

2.6

San Diego

71

57

2.6

Pittsburgh

78

57

2.6

Oregon

82

66

2.5

Richmond

52

66

2.5

Georgia State

56

66

2.5

Case Western

59

66

2.5

Houston

59

66

2.5

Kentucky

63

66

2.5

Loyola-L.A.

75

66

2.5

Brooklyn

78

66

2.5

Chicago-Kent

78

74

2.4

Baylor

56

74

2.4

Nebraska

56

74

2.4

Oklahoma

67

74

2.4

New Mexico

71

74

2.4

Loyola-Chicago

78

74

2.4

Hawaii

82

74

2.4

Rutgers-Newark

87

74

2.4

Lewis & Clark

94

74

2.4

Santa Clara

94

74

2.4

Indiana-Indy

102

74

2.4

Rutgers-Camden

102

85

2.3

Seton Hall

63

85

2.3

UNLV

67

85

2.3

Arkansas

75

85

2.3

Cincinnati

82

85

2.3

Northeastern

87

85

2.3

Villanova

87

85

2.3

Michigan State

94

85

2.3

Mississippi

94

85

2.3

South Carolina

94

85

2.3

Marquette

105

85

2.3

Howard

110

96

2.2

Penn State

71

96

2.2

St. John's

82

96

2.2

St. Louis

87

96

2.2

SUNY-Buffalo

87

96

2.2

Syracuse

87

96

2.2

LSU

94

96

2.2

Maine

110

96

2.2

Seattle

113

96

2.2

DePaul

122

96

2.2

UMKC

127

106

2.1

Louisville

94

106

2.1

West Virginia

94

106

2.1

Stetson

105

106

2.1

Catholic

108

106

2.1

Hofstra

122

106

2.1

Loyola-NO

135

106

2.1

Arkansas-LR

135

106

2.1

San Francisco

138

114

2.0

Wyoming

108

114

2.0

Gonzaga

110

114

2.0

CUNY

113

114

2.0

Mercer

118

114

2.0

Willamette

118

114

2.0

Baltimore

122

114

2.0

Vermont

122

114

2.0

Drexel

127

114

2.0

Idaho

127

123

1.9

Tulsa

82

123

1.9

New Hampshire

87

123

1.9

Wayne State

105

123

1.9

Creighton

113

123

1.9

Drake

113

123

1.9

Montana

113

123

1.9

Quinnipiac

127

123

1.9

Pace

138

123

1.9

North Dakota

138

123

1.9

Texas A&M

149

123

1.9

Southwestern

Tier 2

123

1.9

McGeorge

Tier 2

135

1.8

Texas Tech

118

135

1.8

Washburn

122

135

1.8

Chapman

127

135

1.8

New York L.S.

127

135

1.8

St. Thomas (MN)

135

135

1.8

Memphis

142

135

1.8

William Mitchell

142

135

1.8

South Dakota

145

135

1.8

Suffolk

Tier 2

144

1.7

Florida Int'l

102

144

1.7

Duquesne

118

144

1.7

Cleveland State

127

144

1.7

Akron

127

144

1.7

Albany

138

144

1.7

Toledo

142

144

1.7

Hamline

145

144

1.7

Dayton

145

144

1.7

Cumberland

149

144

1.7

S. Illinois

149

144

1.7

J. Marshall (CHI)

Tier 2

144

1.7

Widener

Tier 2

156

1.6

South Texas

149

156

1.6

Elon

Tier 2

156

1.6

Golden Gate

Tier 2

156

1.6

Mississippi C.

Tier 2

156

1.6

N. Illinois

Tier 2

156

1.6

Roger Williams

Tier 2

156

1.6

St. Mary's

Tier 2

156

1.6

Valparaiso

Tier 2

164

1.5

Ohio Northern

145

164

1.5

Oklahoma City

149

164

1.5

Cal-Western

Tier 2

164

1.5

Campbell

Tier 2

164

1.5

New England

Tier 2

164

1.5

N. Kentucky

Tier 2

164

1.5

Nova

Tier 2

164

1.5

Touro

Tier 2

164

1.5

Puerto Rico

Tier 2

173

1.4

Capital

Tier 2

173

1.4

N.C. Central

Tier 2

173

1.4

Southern

Tier 2

173

1.4

St. Thomas (FL)

Tier 2

173

1.4

Texas Southern

Tier 2

173

1.4

Detroit Mercy

Tier 2

173

1.4

Dist. of Columbia

Tier 2

173

1.4

W. New England

Tier 2

173

1.4

Whittier

Tier 2

182

1.3

J. Marshall (ATL)

Tier 2

182

1.3

Faulkner

Tier 2

182

1.3

Florida A&M

Tier 2

182

1.3

Inter-Americana

Tier 2

182

1.3

Pontifical Catholic

Tier 2

182

1.3

Regent

Tier 2

182

1.3

Thomas Jefferson

Tier 2

189

1.2

Appalachian

Tier 2

189

1.2

Barry

Tier 2

189

1.2

Charleston

Tier 2

189

1.2

Charlotte

Tier 2

189

1.2

Florida Coastal

Tier 2

189

1.2

Liberty

Tier 2

195

1.1

Arizona Summit

Tier 2

195

1.1

Ave Maria

Tier 2

195

1.1

W. Mich. Cooley

Tier 2

195

1.1

Western State

Tier 2

Prior years' rankings:

UpdateMore on the 2016 U.S. News Law School Rankings

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/03/2016-us-news-peer-reputation-.html

Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Comments

Mildly amusing that academic peers think Chemerinsky's "guaranteed top 20" ranks below Davis and Hastings.

Posted by: Jon | Mar 9, 2015 11:49:49 PM

Interesting to track year-over-year changes. I hope that you will do the same for the lawyers/judges score.

Posted by: Former Editor | Mar 10, 2015 5:40:48 AM

Eyeballing it, it looks like Irvine had the largest gap between peer rank and final rank, aside from ASU, for schools that had a higher actual rank than peer rank. Does anyone else sense bribery?

Posted by: JM | Mar 10, 2015 8:08:27 AM

If anyone remains agnostic as to the objectivity and reliability of the U.S. News rankings, consider this. As usual, the latest list shows little movement among the “elite” law schools; these relative positions remained mostly stable from last year’s report. But beneath the top 50, there were some remarkable changes in overall score, in just one year. Why? Do these precipitous leaps and crashes accurate reflect what the rankings purport to represent, or something very different?

As the National Law Journal has reported, “Thirteen saw their rankings change by 20 or more spots—up from eight last year. Forty law schools moved 10 or more spots, up from 37 last year.” With only schools ranked 149 and above given an actual ranking, roughly 25% of currently accredited law schools are arbitrarily lumped together, unranked, in the U.S. News version of a Walmart clearance bin. This means that 13 schools of the supposedly top 150 moved above or below 20 of their competitors—in a single year. How is this possible in any legitimate, objectively-derived way?

As the recent controversy over “predatory poaching” illustrates, some law schools aggressively structure their initial admissions criteria and their transfer-student criteria to maximize both their U.S. news score and their surplus of revenues over expenses. It is human nature for self-interested people to manipulate that which can be manipulated to maintain or enhance their own advantage. Meanwhile, there is a perverse incentive to ignore or devote less attention to those aspects of the law school experience that are minimized or entirely excluded from the U.S. News numbers. Racial, ethnic, and gender diversity? Zero influence on the rankings. Community service, clinical opportunities, and outreach? Again, zero. Programs to benefit the students, including underserved and nontraditional students, such as academic support and bar exam preparation? Yes, zero.

The U.S. News chart has the appearance of mathematical precision without the actuality thereof. The numbers look so scientific, so definite. There are no margins of error or measures of probability mentioned. And with 12 factors considered, each with a weight calculated down to the hundredth of 1 percent, how can the rankings be less than reliable and rigorous? The truth is that the rankings convey the illusion of validity, camouflaging the immense subjectivity, bias, imprecision, and manipulability of the underlying input. I am tempted to dredge up the cliché “garbage in, garbage out,” but that would be a disservice to municipal household waste. At least some of that has actual value in composting and recycling.

Posted by: Prof. John C. Kunich | Mar 13, 2015 1:35:08 PM

So UC-Irvine has failed to make good on Dean Chemerinsky's vow to debut on the U.S. News list in the Top 20? His fledgling law school made it "only" to number 30 in its first appearance on this infamous chart. The most notable aspect of this bizarre charade is its undeniable demonstration of the artificiality and artifice at the rotten core of the ranking scheme.

The manipulation of unrealistic and irrelevant metrics is part of the reason why Justice Alito has declared, “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." They fail to reflect what truly matters in legal education, and what they do reflect is backwards and distorted, like an image in a carnival mirror.

Chemerinsky came as close to his target as he did because his many years of marinating in legal academe have thoroughly prepared him to play the U.S. News factors like a rigged violin. He knew how to game the numbers to conjure up the illusion of quality, within the simulated, Hollywood-set, mock-up world of the rankings. He has proved how easily the metrics can be manipulated to tell a false narrative, if a law school has the resources and the willingness to sacrifice all else to that single goal.

It is tragic indeed that so many decent law schools are consigned to the black hole of unranked institutions at the bottom 25% of the chart. The leaders of these honorable law schools may not have huge financial advantages available to unleash on the system, but their schools are where a lot more genuine knowledge and experience are acquired, every day, than in the faux parallel universe of UC-Irvine and others of its ilk.

Posted by: John Charles Kunich | Mar 23, 2015 2:45:03 AM