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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

NLJ: Which Law Schools Are Tops for Jobs?

National Law Journal, Which Law Schools Are Tops for Jobs?:

The ABA has released a trove of data on how the law school class of 2013 fared in the employment market nine months after graduation. Here, we look at which law schools placed the highest percentage of new graduates in full-time, longterm jobs that require bar passage but were not funded by the schools themselves. We also highlight schools that placed the most graduates in large firm jobs, federal and state clerkships, and government and public interest jobs.

 Rank

Full-Time, Long-Term, Bar-Passage Required, Excluding School-Funded

Jobs at Law Firms With > 100 Lawyers

1

Columbia

Columbia

2

Chicago

Chicago

3

NYU

Pennsylvania

4

Pennsylvania

NYU

5

Duke

Cornell

6

Stanford

Northwestern

7

Harvard

Harvard

8

Cornell

Duke

9

Michigan

Virginia

10

Virginia

Michigan

11

UC-Berkeley

Stanford

12

Vanderbilt

UC-Berkeley

13

Northwestern

Georgetown

14

Iowa

Vanderbilt

15

Texas

Fordham

16

Kentucky

Texas

17

Yale

UCLA

18

New Mexico

Yale

19

Georgetown

USC

20

Southern Illinois

Boston College

On the other end of the spectrum, we've determined which law schools had the highest rate of unemployment, the most graduates in school-funded jobs, and the most graduates who were "underemployed"—either without jobs or in part-time, temporary, or nonprofessional jobs.

Rank

Unemployed

Underemployed

1

Whittier

Whittier

2

Cal-Western

Golden Gate

3

La Verne

La Verne

4

McGeorge

Cal-Western

5

Florida Coastal

Florida Coastal

6

San Francisco

UC-Hastings

7

Golden Gate

McGeorge

8

Thomas Cooley

Elon

9

Thomas Jefferson

Ave Maria

10

Southern

San Francisco

11

Ave Maria

Thomas Cooley

12

Loyola-NO

Valparaiso

13

UC-Hastings

Thomas Jefferson

14

Florida A&M

Northeastern

15

Elon

CUNY

16

UC-Irvine

Detroit Mercy

17

Villanova

Western State

18

Hofstra

Loyola-L.A.

19

Suffolk

Charlotte

20

Touro

Appalachian

April 22, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Law School Rankings: Grads With Bar Passage-Required or J.D.-Advantage Jobs

Following up on two of my previous posts:

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Legal Employment Outcomes in 2013:

[The following chart] includes the "full weight" positions as determined by U.S. News & World Report, which are full-time, long-term, bar passage-required or J.D.-advantage positions. It includes the 2015 USNWR peer score, the 2013 full-time, long-term, bar passage-required and J.D.-advantage positions, along with the year-over-year increase or decline in points from the 2012 rate. It then lists the raw number of students who obtained such positions, along with a parenthetical notation of how many of those positions were school-funded. The same is listed for 2012.

The full ranking of the 198 law schools is here.  The Top 20 are:

Capture

April 12, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

ABA Releases 'Bleak' Jobs Data for 2013 Law School Grads

ABA Logo 2Press Release, ABA Releases Class of 2013 Law Graduate Employment Data:

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar today released data on law graduate employment outcomes for the class of 2013. The data covers the employment status of the 2013 graduates of ABA-approved law schools as of Feb. 15, 2014, approximately nine months after spring 2013 graduation.

Law schools reported that 57% of graduates of the class of 2013 were employed in long-term, full-time positions where bar passage was required, compared with 56.2% for the class of 2012. In addition, 10.1% of graduates of the class of 2013 were employed in long-term, full-time positions where holding a J.D. provides an advantage in obtaining or performing the job, compared with 9.5% for the class of 2012.

Schools reported outcomes for 97.7% of their 2013 graduates. The size of the 2013 graduating class was the largest ever at 46,776, slightly larger than the 2012 class of 46,364. The data show both more jobs and a slightly higher percentage of graduates obtaining jobs in which a J.D. was required or considered relevant.

The ABA released this chart with aggregate data breakdowns and comparisons to the previous year, along with definitions of the various categories:

ABA Chart_Page_1

The ABA also released individual pdfs for each of the ABA-approved law schools, as well as a spreadsheet with all of the data for each of the schools.

Law School Transparency, New Law School Jobs Data Indicate Flat Entry-Level Legal Market:

The national full-time, long-term legal rate is 57.0%.

  • By definition these jobs:
    • require bar passage or are judicial clerkships; and
    • require 35+ hours per week and have an expected duration of at least one year.
  • At 64 law schools (31.8%), 50% of graduates or less had these legal jobs.
    • 33 schools (16.4%) had 40% or less;
    • 13 schools (6.5%) had 33% or less.
  • 103 schools (51.2%) exceeded the national rate of 57.0%.
    • 51 schools (25.4%) had 66% or more;
    • 21 schools (10.4%) had 75% or more;
    • 5 schools (2.5%) had 90% or more.

The national full-time, long-term legal rate, excluding jobs funded by law schools, is 55.3%.

  • The richest schools were able to hire their struggling graduates full time and long term; only 18 schools (9.0%) paid 5.0% or more of their graduates for long-term, full-time jobs that required bar passage.
    • 50% of these schools (9) were in the top 20 on the full-time, long-term rate without the benefit of the school-funded jobs; including school-funded jobs in the rate puts 67% of those schools (12) in the top 20.
    • Excluding school-funded jobs from the full-time, long-term legal rate caused all 5 schools over 90% to drop below that threshold.
  • Although the absolute number of full-time, long-term legal jobs funded by schools was relatively small (775, 2.0% of all employed graduates), there were 50% more of these jobs this year compared to last year.

Law School Transparency also released individual profiles of each law school, as well as sortable rankings for all law schools by various categories, including its "employment score" (full-time, long-term, bar passage-required jobs, excluding self-employed solo practitioners).

Matt Leichter ranks all 201 law schools by full-time, long-term, bar passage-required jobs, excluding law school-funded jobs.  Here are the Top 50, along with each school's U.S. News Ranking:

Percent Employed Full-Time/Long-Term Bar Passage-Required Jobs (Excluding Law-School-Funded Jobs)
 Law School (US News Rank)20122013Change
1 COLUMBIA (4) 85.3% 88.3% 3.0%
2 CHICAGO (4) 87.0% 86.5% -0.5%
3 NEW YORK UNIVERSITY (6) 79.0% 86.2% 7.2%
4 PENNSYLVANIA (7) 91.9% 85.7% -6.1%
5 DUKE (10) 84.9% 85.1% 0.2%
6 STANFORD (3) 89.0% 85.1% -3.9%
7 HARVARD (2) 84.6% 84.9% 0.4%
8 CORNELL (13) 85.3% 81.3% -3.9%
9 MICHIGAN (10) 81.7% 81.2% -0.5%
10 VIRGINIA (8) 79.7% 79.7% 0.0%
11 UC-BERKELEY (9) 85.9% 78.4% -7.5%
12 VANDERBILT (16) 71.4% 78.2% 6.7%
13 NORTHWESTERN (12) 75.9% 77.5% 1.5%
14 IOWA (27) 71.4% 76.3% 5.0%
15 TEXAS (15) 75.3% 75.1% -0.2%
16 KENTUCKY (58) 74.1% 74.4% 0.3%
17 YALE (1) 77.0% 74.4% -2.6%
18 NEW MEXICO (72) 67.2% 73.7% 6.5%
19 GEORGETOWN (13) 66.8% 72.4% 5.6%
20 SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (Tier 2) 52.3% 72.1% 19.7%
21 ALABAMA (23) 77.3% 71.7% -5.6%
22 SMU (42) 75.1% 70.9% -4.2%
23 NOTRE DAME (26) 65.3% 70.7% 5.3%
24 BAYLOR (51) 67.1% 70.5% 3.4%
25 FLORIDA STATE (45) 66.4% 69.6% 3.2%
26 NEW HAMPSHIRE (93) 60.9% 69.2% 8.3%
27 MONTANA (121) 61.0% 69.1% 8.2%
28 SETON HALL (68) 65.8% 68.9% 3.1%
29 GEORGIA (29) 69.4% 68.4% -1.1%
30 MINNESOTA (20) 64.3% 68.2% 3.9%
31 SOUTH CAROLINA (93) 70.4% 68.2% -2.2%
32 ARKANSAS, FAYETTEVILLE (61) 70.5% 68.2% -2.3%
33 NORTH CAROLINA (31) 67.6% 68.1% 0.6%
34 UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON (24) 68.0% 67.8% -0.2%
35 LSU (72) 76.7% 67.4% -9.3%
36 WYOMING (129) 56.0% 67.1% 11.1%
37 COLORADO (43) 51.4% 67.0% 15.6%
38 SOUTH TEXAS (146) 71.4% 67.0% -4.4%
39 OHIO NORTHERN (Tier 2) 59.4% 66.7% 7.3%
40 UCLA (16) 70.0% 66.6% -3.4%
41 OKLAHOMA CITY (Tier 2) 53.6% 66.5% 12.8%
42 FLORIDA (49) 56.8% 66.4% 9.6%
43 OKLAHOMA (58) 66.5% 66.3% -0.2%
44 NEBRASKA (54) 65.6% 66.1% 0.5%
45 WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY (18) 67.0% 66.0% -1.0%
46 MERCER (104) 72.5% 65.6% -6.9%
47 UC-DAVIS (36) 60.9% 65.3% 4.4%
48 TENNESSEE (72) 65.2% 65.3% 0.1%
49 LOUISVILLE (87) 66.9% 64.8% -2.1%
50 BYU (36) 63.3% 64.6% 1.4%

Seventeen schools ranked in the Top 50 by U.S. News are ranked outside the Top 50 for full-time, long-term, bar passage-required jobs, excluding law school-funded jobs:

Employment Rank

Law School

US News Rank

51

Indiana-Bloomington

29

56

Boston College

36

60

Utah

49

61

Fordham

36

62

George Washington

20

63

Emory

19

73

Arizona State

31

76

Boston University

27

80

USC

20

81

Ohio State

31

84

Wisconsin

31

94

Arizona

40

95

Wake Forest

31

100

Washington & Lee

43

102

William & Mary

24

125

Tulane

46

144

Maryland

46

Press and blogosphere coverage:

Update

April 10, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Law Schools With the Highest (Yale, 81%) and Lowest (UC-Davis, 11%) Yields

U.S. News 2015U.S. News & World Report, 10 Law Schools Where Accepted Students Usually Enroll:

The number of students applying to law school continues to decline – according to a March report from the Law School Admission Council – but among those accepted, many students tend to favor enrolling at certain institutions.

The rates at the 10 schools with the highest yield rates ranged from 42 percent to 80.6 percent for fall 2013 first-year, full-time and part-time J.D. entering students. At these schools, an average of about 383 students were accepted and, on average, 52.3 percent of accepted students enrolled....

SchoolAccepted  
Enrolled   
Yield         
US News Rank
Yale 247 199 80.6% 1
Harvard 858 568 66.2% 2
BYU 217 139 64.1% 36
New Mexico 258 120 46.5% 72
Southern 487 224 46% RNP
Stanford 392 179 45.7% 3
UMKC 383 172 44.9% 104
North Dakota 189 83 43.9% 129
Indiana-Ind 533 227 42.6% 87
UNLV 269 113 42% 83

University of California—Davis had 11.2 percent of accepted students enroll, the lowest percentage of accepted students according to the survey data. Of the 10 schools where most accepted students did not enroll, the average yield was just 12.7 percent, and the average number of accepted students was about 1,298.

April 7, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Diversity and Disgrace: How the U.S. News Law School Rankings Hurt Everyone

DiversityAnthony E. Varona (American), Diversity and Disgrace – How the U.S. News Law School Rankings Hurt Everyone, N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change Blog (Apr. 3, 2014):

U.S. News and World Report recently released its law school rankings and, as happens every year, readers have focused almost exclusively on the many extreme fluctuations in ranks. ... Instead, or in addition, we should be asking more probing questions, like: Does the U.S. News measuring stick itself measure up? Is it measuring the right things? And what effects have the U.S. News rankings had on legal education and society itself? ...

[I]n light of how valuable diversity among students is to legal education, you might be wondering how much weight U.S. News devotes to student diversity in rating America’s law schools. Ten percent? Fifteen?

The answer is …  zero. The U.S. News ranking methodology ignores student diversity altogether in calculating the rankings. It treats a law school with little diversity as virtually indistinguishable from a very diverse school where pedagogically rich exchanges like those above abound.

For a variety of reasons, the average underrepresented minority student tends to have lower GPA and LSAT scores -- the myopic academic credentials that U.S. News “counts” -- than his or her White, nonminority counterpart. So, it is easy to see how schools that trade student diversity for higher numbers tend to move up in the U.S. News ranks. By contrast, schools that refuse to sacrifice diversity pay a big U.S. News price for pursuing what most educators agree is best for all our students. U.S. News actually rewards less diverse schools for admitting less diverse classes, and altogether ignores the clear learning advantages at the more diverse schools.

It is no secret that law schools have gone as far as admitting much smaller and significantly more homogenous first-year classes, and then letting many more students in through the 2L transfer “back door” (where U.S. News’s methodology does not look), thereby hiding the true credentials of their students from the magazine and artificially inflating their U.S. News ranksU.S. News does nothing to stop schools from engaging in this obvious manipulation. ...

Since U.S. News goes so far as to provide diversity data separately from the main rankings, why does it not reward schools that are more diverse than others by incorporating a diversity score in the rankings themselves? Mr. Morse insists that doing so would be difficult. ...

The sad truth is that the U.S. News law school rankings have hurt, and not helped, American law students, the legal profession and, thus, society as a whole. The U.S. News rankings have resulted in the denial of a quality legal education to minority law school applicants with great promise and drive but modest, rankings-unfriendly credentials. It has kept deserving students with great potential in the legal profession outside the doors of quality law schools and the profession itself by encouraging restrictive admissions policies geared more towards gaming the rankings than doing what is right societally, and what is best pedagogically. ...

Continue reading

April 4, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Muller: The Improving Job Market for California Law Grads

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Legal Employment Outcomes in California in 2013:

The USNWR methodology gives "full weight" to "graduates who had a full-time job lasting at least a year where bar passage was required or a J.D. degree was an advantage." ... Imperfect a measure as it may be, I took this metric and calculated the differences in 2012 and 2013 data for 19 California ABA-approved schools and 2 California provisionally-accredited schools. Here's what the data show. 

First, there were more graduates. Total graduates from these 21 schools increased 1.4%, from 5114 graduates in 2012 to 5185 graduates in 2013.

Second, more graduates obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required or J.D.-advantage positions. In 2012, there were 2848 who obtained such employment, for a 55.7% employment rate. In 2013, there was a 1.2 percentage point increase, with 2950 who obtained such employment for a 56.9% employment rate. ...

Third, law school funding for these types of positions tripled. There were 24 school-funded full-time, long-term bar passage-required or J.D.-advantage positions in 2012; that number jumped to 100 in 2013. Leading the way were UC-Berkeley (from 0 to 25), UCLA (from 9 to 34), USC (from 0 to 12), and UC-Davis (from 2 to 10), which accounted for 70% of the increase. ...

Below is a chart reflecting the 2012 and 2013 data, with links to the school's underlying data. It includes the 2015 USNWR peer score, the 2013 full-time, long-term, bar passage-required and J.D.-advantage positions, along with the year-over-year increase or decline in points from the 2012 rate. It then lists the raw number of students who obtained such positions, along with a parenthetical notation of how many of those positions were school-funded. The same is listed for 2012. ...

Muller

All 21 schools are here.

Update:   I have updated the post to reflect the data released by UC-Berkeley.

April 1, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, March 31, 2014

College Return on Investment

In Wake of 70% Enrollment Decline, La Verne Adopts Flat-Rate Law School Tuition Model

LaVerneNational Law Journal, La Verne Offers Flat-Rate Law School Tuition:

The University of La Verne College of Law is getting out of the tuition discounting game and rolling out what appears to be the first true flat-rate tuition system at an ABA-accredited law school.

Starting next fall, all Law Verne law students will pay $25,000 to attend full time and $19,600 to attend part-time—without the scholarships and discounts that many law schools have leaned on as they competed for a smaller pool of prospective students.

“The time has come to tell the truth about the cost of legal education,” La Verne law dean Gilbert Holmes said.

According to law school administrators, the change will lower the amount many students pay for their legal education. The new tuition will be $14,900 less than the existing $39,900 list price.

Second, the new system would eliminate the common practice of granting generous scholarships to applicants with high Law School Admission Test scores and undergraduate grade-point averages at the expense of lower-scoring students who might have a greater need for financial aid.

Finally, the flat-rate pricing is intended to make the Ontario, Calif., law school more appealing to prospective students. Many law schools have been hit by declining enrollments, but that reality has been especially dire at La Verne, which welcomed just 50 new students this fall, compared to 166 in 2010—a nearly 70 percent decline.

In addition, La Verne is contending with questions about its quality. The ABA in 2011 revoked the school’s provisional accreditation amid concern over low bar passage rates. The provisional accreditation was reinstated less than a year later, after the bar pass rate improved. ...

All new entering students will pay the $25,000 for each of the next three years. Already enrolled students will also pay $25,000—unless their existing scholarships would bring their bills below that mark, in which case they will continue to pay the lower rate.

Holmes, who has been dean at La Verne for less than a year, got the idea for flat-rate tuition from Washington University in St. Louis law professor Brian Tamanaha’s 2012 book, “Failing Law Schools.”

Inside Higher Ed, Law School Ends Discounts:

Holmes said ending tuition discounting is not for everyone, particularly law schools that are concerned about their rankings.

“I’ve spoken to other deans who have said, 'You know Gil, that’s a really a noble idea, but you’re kind of engaging in unilateral disarmament,' ” he said.

Holmes said law schools in states with only a few law schools — like New Mexico and West Virginia, which only have one law school, or Iowa, which has two — or with solid reputations could stop tuition discounting without losing many of the students they desire.

March 31, 2014 in Law School Rankings | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

How Law Schools Goose Their U.S. News Ranking by Hiring Their Graduates

U.S. News 2015The Economist, NPR, and The Faculty Lounge report on how law schools can goose their U.S. News ranking through school-funded jobs.  Placement counts 18% in the current U.S. News methodology, and school-funded jobs are included.  William & Mary rose in the rankings this year from 33 to 24, due in large part to hiring 20.1% of the graduating class -- the second largest percentage among the 194 law schools ranked by U.S. News.  As a result, William & Mary's employed at 9 months figure (which accounts for 14% of the 18% placement weight) rose 17.2 percentage points this year, from 68.1% to 85.3%.  George Washington hired the largest percentage of their graduating class (22.6%), which helped increased their employed at 9 months rate to 91.0%; and Virginia hired the fourth largest percentage (15.1%), which helped increase their employed at 9 months rate to 97.3%.  The chart shows the impact of the school funded jobs in the two most significant placement categories:

  • Full time, long term, bar passage required
  • Full time, long term, bar passage required and J.D. advantage

Employment

Virginia

G. Washington

William & Mary

FT LT Bar Required

Include School Funded  

 

94.9% (2)

 

81.0% (14)

 

73.5% (22)

FT LT Bar Required

Exclude School Funded

 

79.7% (11)

 

60.3% (76)

 

56.4% (94)

FT LT Bar Req’d + JD Advantage

Include School Funded

 

97.3% (1)

 

91.0% (9)

 

85.3% (18)

FT LT Bar Req’d + JD Advantage

Exclude School Funded

 

82.1% (17)

 

74.8% (49)

 

65.2% (99)

March 30, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tax LL.M. Program Rankings by Tax Hiring Authorities

Tax TalentFollowing up on my post on the new 2015 U.S. News Tax Rankings: TaxTalent asked U.S. corporate tax hiring authorities to rank the following programs:

  • Undergraduate Accounting
  • MS Tax
  • MAcc
  • MAcc Tax
  • MBA Tax
  • JD Tax
  • LL.M. Tax

For the LL.M. Tax Survey, respondents were asked to select up to five schools (out of 31) with LL.M. Tax programs that they hold in highest regard when hiring candidates.  Respondent Profile: 144 currently employed heads of corporate in-house tax departments.

2014 LLM

For the J.D. Tax Survey, respondents were asked to select up to five schools (out of 20) with JD Tax programs that they hold in highest regard when hiring candidates.  It is a bizarre list of 20 law schools, as it omits 14 of the 15 schools ranked in tax by U.S. News (Georgetown is the only school ranked by both U.S. News and Tax Talent.) 

March 28, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Tax, Tax Faculty Rankings | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

U.S. News Rankings: 2015 v. 2014 Changes in All 11 Categories for All 194 Law Schools

U.S. News 2015Brian Huddleston (Senior Reference Librarian, Loyola (New Orleans)) has compiled this wonderful 29-page color-coded chart showing the changes in this year's U.S. News Law School Rankings from last year's rankings in all eleven of the published U.S. News rankings categories for each of the 194 law schools:

  • Green:  school improved in category in this year's rankings
  • Red:  school declined in category in this year's rankings
  • Yellow:  school's performance in category in this year rankings is same as last year

Top 3

(Note that Brian uses 2014 to refer to the rankings released in March 2014, and 2013 to refer to the rankings released in March 2013. In usual rankings parlance, these are referred to as the 2015 rankings and the 2014 rankings.)

March 27, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Deans Push ABA to Force Law Schools to Disclose LSAT, GPA Data of Transfer Students

U.S. News 2015Washington Post:  Law School Deans Push ABA About Transfers, by Catherine Ho:

A growing group of law school deans are pressing the American Bar Association’s accrediting agency to require law schools to make public the LSAT scores and undergraduate grade-point averages of transfer students.

At issue is what many legal educators say is an effort by some schools to keep the data hidden in order to inflate their credentials for rankings purposes.

Because U.S. News and World Report’s law school rankings look at the median LSAT scores of first-year students, but not the LSAT scores of transfer students — which are typically lower — critics contend the practice allows the schools to game the system.

The ABA’s accrediting council has yet to officially vote on the proposal, but at a March 14 meeting, members indicated they did not think the LSAT scores and undergraduate GPA of transfer students is “relevant consumer information” that needs to be disclosed, said Barry Currier, managing director of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. ...

Law schools have long disclosed how many transfer students they admit every year, per an ABA accreditation standard. But they do not have to disclose much detail about those students, even though they are required to collect the information.

At the meeting, the council did accept a recommendation that schools should start disclosing the first-year law school grade-point average of their transfer students, which schools the transfer students came from and how many came from each school. ...

In the Washington area, the law schools with the most transfer students in 2013 were Georgetown (122 transfer students in, seven transfers out); George Washington (93 transfers in, 22 transfers out); and American (68 transfers in, 89 transfers out). Other area schools saw less transfer activity: George Mason (12 transfers in; 11 transfers out); Catholic (eight transfers in, 23 transfers out); Howard (five transfers in, four transfers out); and the University of the District of Columbia (five transfers in, 12 transfers out). ...

Continue reading

March 26, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, March 24, 2014

The State of Legal Education: Are Law Profs Really to Blame?

The Legal Watchdog:  The State of Legal Education: Are Law Profs Really to Blame?, by Michael D. Cicchini:

I enjoy a good professor-bashing blog post as much as the next guy—especially when the targeted profs have said, done, or written silly things.  But today, many people like to blame law profs for the abysmal state of legal education—especially graduates’ staggering debt loads and inability to perform even basic legal tasks.  This blame comes in many forms, but a common criticism is that profs earn way too much money for publishing useless law review articles and, to compound the problem, their schools spend even more money shipping them to pricey, tuition-funded conferences to present their articles to other profs.  This, in turn, drives up the price of legal education and, worse yet, marginalizes (or displaces) real training in legal practice and legal theory.  As it turns out, however, the current state of affairs in legal academia is exactly what students have (unwittingly) asked for.

U.S. News 2015First, students are obsessed with the US News rankings of law schools. ...

Second, the single biggest factor in the US News rankings on which students rely is law professor rankings of the law schools. ...

Third, schools want students, and students have tunnel vision for the US News rankings, so how do you think State University Law School (or Small Private University Law School) will try to get its ranking up?  That’s right: the most bang for the buck is to spend money impressing law profs at other schools. ...

Fourth, how does the Dean of State U. go about impressing profs at other schools?  ... The way to win these profs over (thereby improving survey responses and thereby increasing US News rank) is to hire profs just like them—that is, profs who have the same academic backgrounds and who want to publish articles that “are of great interest to the academic[s] that wrote [them], but [aren't] of much help to the bar”—and then let them impress the hell out of each other. ...

[B]y relying on the US News rankings, students have gotten exactly what they’ve (unwittingly) asked for.

March 24, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (10)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March Madness Law School Bracket

March MadnessHere is the March Madness Law School Bracket, with outcomes determined by the 2015 U.S. News Law School Rankings (with academic peer reputation used as a tiebreaker).  The Final Four are Havard (#2 in U.S. News), Stanford (#3), Michigan (#10), and Wisconsin (#31), with Harvard beating Michigan in the championship game.

NCAA

March 20, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Solove: The Fundamental Problem with the U.S. News School Rankings

U.S. News 2015Daniel Solove (George Washington), The Fundamental Problem with the US News School Rankings:

Last week, all the law schools in America were holding their collective breaths for the latest pronouncement by US News about how their school ranked. For law schools, as well as other graduate schools as well as universities, the US News rankings play an enormously influential role. The rankings affect the number and quality of applicants. Employers use the rankings too, and the rankings thus affect job opportunities. The careers of law school deans can rise and fall on the rankings too. Key decisions about legal education are made based on the potential affect on ranking, as are admissions decisions and financial aid decisions.

In the law school world, grumbling about the US News rankings never ceases. The rankings use a formula that takes into account a host of factors that are often not very relevant, that can easily be misreported, skewed, or gamed, and that ultimately say little of value about the quality or reputation of a school. Each year, I read fervent outcries to US News to improve their formula. These cries are deftly answered with a response that is typically a variant of the following: "We'll look into this. We are always looking to improve our ranking formula." Not much changes, though. The formula is tweaked a little bit, but the changes are never dramatic.

Continue reading

March 18, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Law School Rankings by Starting Salaries of Grads

Forbes:  The Law Schools Whose Grads Earn The Biggest Paychecks in 2014, by Susan Adams:

Given the high price of law school and the uncertain job market for lawyers, we thought it would be interesting to investigate, as we have in the past, which law diplomas bring in the biggest paychecks. We turned to salary listing website Payscale, which combed through the profiles of its 40 million unique users who report compensation information about their jobs. Payscale looked at starting salaries of graduates from 97 popular law schools and found 29,800 of them in their database who had reported salary information.  We’re reporting the top 25 here. ...

A note on Payscale’s statistics: The figures are for the first quarter of 2014 and the starting salaries are for grads who finished law school within the last five years. Their median age is 30. Payscale takes the five-year view because some new grads get short-term, high-paying internships just after they graduate, but they don’t sustain that pay over time. Others take judicial clerkships that pay poorly. The wider-year range offers a greater sample size and makes the numbers more reliable. As for mid-career salaries, Payscale looks at law school grads with 10 or more years of work experience, and a median of 15. That sample size is 11,900 and the median age for the group is 46.

1. Columbia Law School
Starting pay: $146,900
Mid-career pay: $176,200

2. Harvard Law School
Starting pay: $125,400
Mid-career pay: $201,400

3. Northwestern University School of Law
Starting pay: $110,800
Mid-career pay: $210,000

4. University of Chicago Law School
Starting pay: $105,100
Mid-caeer pay: $177,500

5. Stanford Law School
Starting pay: $104,000
Mid-career pay: $217,300

6. Yale Law School
Starting pay: $101,800
Mid-career pay: $165,000

7. University of Virginia School of Law
Starting pay: $97,400
Mid-career pay: $153,900

8. University of Michigan Law School
Starting pay: $95,500
Mid-career pay: $198,700

9. Cornell University Law School
Starting pay: $93,500
Mid-career pay: $180,000

10. Duke University School of Law
Starting pay: $87,700
Mid-career pay: $206,900

(Hat Tip: Greg McNeal.)

March 17, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Jones: The U.S. News Law School Academic Reputation Scores, 1998-2014

U.S. News 2015Robert L. Jones (Northern Illinois), Downward Trend Continues for Academic Reputation Scores: Addendum to 2013 Longitudinal Study:

This brief essay summarizes the results of the most recent 2014 U.S. News & World Report (“U.S. News”) law school rankings in the context of the longitudinal study I published last year regarding the academic reputation scores that constitute 25% of the U.S. News methodology.  [A Longitudinal Analysis of the U.S. News Law School Academic Reputation Scores between 1998 and 2013, 40 Fla. St. L. Rev. 721 (2013)]

Consistent with the prevailing downward trend in academic reputation scores observed in the 2013 study, the academic reputation scores for law schools continued to decline in 2014. Fifty-eight out of the 172 law schools in the data set (34%) saw their academic reputation scores decline in 2014. In contrast, only fourteen law schools in the data set (8%) enjoyed an improvement to their academic reputation scores in 2014.4 In the aggregate, law schools suffered a decline of 4.6 points (an average of .026 per law school) in 2014.

1

2

3

Here are the seven law schools that increased their academic peer reputation by at least 0.3 from 1998 to 2014:

School

2014 Peer Score

1998 Peer Score

Change

Alabama

3.1

2.5

0.6

Michigan State

2.3

1.8

0.5

Pepperdine

2.6

2.2

0.4

Florida State

2.9

2.6

0.3

Georgia State

2.5

2.2

0.3

Seattle

2.3

2.0

0.3

Gonzaga

2.2

1.9

0.3


Jones explains that Pepperdine's rise in academic reputation coincided with Ken's Starr's appointment as Dean in 2004 and Pepperdine's #1 ranking in the U.S. News Dispute Resolution Speciality Rankings for 13 of the 17 years in the 1998-2014 period, including the past ten years.

Pepperdine Starr

March 14, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Chapman Dean: U.S. News Rankings Methodology Penalizes Most California Law Schools

U.S. News 2015Following up on yesterday's post, Deans Say Rankings Penalize California Law Schools for Bad Economy; U.S. News Rejects Call for State-Adjusted Employment Data:  Tom Campbell (Dean, Chapman) has asked me to post his letter to the editor of The Recorder, U.S. News Methodology Penalizes Most California Law Schools, on TaxProf Blog:

Your article Deans Say U.S. News Rankings Penalize Schools in the Golden State reported the unanimous position of the California law school deans, who agree that California’s poor employment prospects are a drag on the rankings at all 21 accredited California law schools – even though they are no fault of the California law schools or their students. Put simply, if a law school in Iowa, where unemployment is 4.2%, places 85% of its students, and a law school in California, where unemployment is 8.3%, places 84% of its students, U.S. News ranks the Iowa school ahead of the California school. That is nonsense, if the purpose is to rank the quality of the two law schools. Nevertheless, U.S. News’ Bob Morse responded:

The schools that are underperforming or falling in the ranking, [it's] not because of the state of California's employment woes… but because their students are not in demand, or they're unable to obtain real legal jobs." Mr. Morse pointed to the list for proof, stating: "The top ten schools in California have seen little change in their rankings over the last few years, showing that their graduates are still in demand and they're still getting real legal jobs, despite the California employment status.

Mr. Morse’s statement is false: according to U.S. News’ own data.

Let’s look at the top 10 ranked law schools in California, U.S. News Methodology Penalizes Most California Law Schools, over the last three years:

#4 USC, dropped 2 positions in the national rankings;
#5 UC Davis dropped 13 positions in the national rankings;
#6 UC Hastings dropped 12 positions in the national rankings;
#8 Loyola dropped 33 positions in the national rankings;
#9 UC San Diego dropped 12 positions in the national rankings; and
#10 Santa Clara dropped 23 positions in the national rankings.

The other four top-ten California schools [#1 Stanford, #2 UC-Berkeley, #3 UCLA, #7 Pepperdine] stayed the same in the national rankings.

The “California effect” on our rankings has nothing to do with the quality of education our schools provide. So we proposed to U.S. News to normalize the employment data on law schools the same way they do for differing state bar passage percentages. If a law school’s graduates pass their state bar at a 70% level, that means something different about the law school’s quality if the overall state bar passage is 80%, or if it is 60%. So, U.S. News normalizes for the bar passage rate of the state. They should do the same for employment. Otherwise, law students in entire states like California will be penalized in the rankings not because a lack of quality of their training, but instead due to economic factors beyond their control.

Below I share the full chart showing the significant U.S. News rankings downtrend in California. May I kindly ask that you share this chart and my comments here with your readers?

School

Name

2012

Rank

2013

Rank

2014

Rank

2015

Rank

1 Year

Change

3 Year

Change

Stanford

3

2

2

3

-1

0

UC- Berkeley

9

7

9

9

0

0

UCLA

16

15

17

16

+1

0

USC

18

18

18

20

-2

-2

UC-Davis

23

29

38

36

+2

-13

UC-Hastings

42

44

48

54

-6

-12

Pepperdine

54

49

61

54

+7

0

Loyola-L.A.

54

51

68

87

-19

-33

San Diego

67

65

68

79

-11

-12

Santa  Clara

84

96

96

107

-11

-23

Chapman

104

110

126

140

-14

-36

McGeorge

100

101

124

146

-22

-46

San Francisco

100

106

144

Tier 2

-2 +

-46+

Cal Western

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

n/a

n/a

Golden Gate

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

n/a

n/a

Southwestern

121

129

Tier 2

Tier 2

n/a

-25+

T. Jefferson

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

n/a

n/a

Western State

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

n/a

n/a

Whittier

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

n/a

n/a

March 14, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

More on the 2015 U.S. News Law School Rankings

U.S. News 2015Fortune, And the U.S. News Law School Ranking Fallout Begins...:

Deans of the country's law schools are either kicking back and breathing a sigh of relief, or quivering in their boots, amid the release of the much-feared U.S. News & World Report on national law school rankings. ...

Critics routinely denounce the rankings as misleading and incomplete, but almost anyone connected in any way with the legal profession obsesses over the results.

For the institutions that moved down the yardstick, second-guessing came fast and furious. Washington & Lee Law School, for example, sank 17 notches, to No. 43, showing how the overhaul in job placement numbers are affecting the rankings. ...

Dean Nora Demleitner attributes the school's drop to "the poor employment and bar passage numbers from 2012, the year that figures into this year's rankings." The Lexington, Va.-based school, she says, has begun to give "stronger bar support and changes in our approach to the employment market," which already has shown improvements for the class of 2013.

At the same time, enrollment at Washington & Lee was down 40%, which also could have been affected by its overhaul of the third year to focus on "practice ready" skills, which has been all the rage as law school administrators try to push back against evaporating enrollment and jobs. Demleitner says she does not believe the ranking "reflects on our third-year curriculum reform," noting that it is likely to "take five to 10 years for the benefits of the program to become apparent."

American University's law school plunged 16 slots, from No. 56 last year -- likely a sign that its nine-month-out employment placement of 53.6% does not pass U.S. News & World Report muster. That compared to an 83% employment figure, for the same period, from Louisiana State University law school, in Baton Rouge.

"There's no question that employment is a major driver for the rankings," said Mike Spivey, a law school consultant. ...

Despite reorienting the rankings to include more real-world concerns, Kyle McEntee, founder of Law School Transparency, writes on Law.com that "despite the importance of job outcomes, they account for only 18% of the rank and credit schools for jobs few attend law school to pursue." 

McEntee also takes the rankings to task for making national comparisons when "only a handful of schools have a truly national reach in job placement. The rest have a regional, in-state, or even just local reach." So comparing two schools in broadly different geographical locations is "virtually meaningless. Graduates from these schools do not compete with one another," he writes.

"It turns out," he says, "that 161 schools place at least half of their employed class of 2012 graduates in one state. The top state destination for each school accounts for 67.3% of employed graduates. "A much smaller 7.7% of employed graduates go to a school's second-most popular destination, with just 4.4% of employed graduates working in the third-most popular destination. Only 20.6% of employed graduates (16.9% of the entire class) end up in a state other than the top three," he says.

However, "rankings are not inherently bad," he concludes, adding that "credibility may be lost when methodologies are unsound, through irrational weighting or meaningless metrics, or when the scope is too broad."

Spivey agrees, but he notes that "my phone has been ringing off the hook [with] people concerned about whether they should go to a school which dropped one place, or [if] they [can] transfer to another school if their current school lost out.

"The rankings do dramatically impact behavior."

Infographic: 2015 Best Law Schools:

2015 Best Law Schools infographic

March 14, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Deans Say Rankings Penalize California Law Schools for Bad Economy; U.S. News Rejects Call for State-Adjusted Employment Data

U.S. News 2015The Recorder:   Deans Say U.S. News Rankings Penalize Schools in the Golden State:

In the wake of declining rankings in the all-important U.S. News & World Report, one California law school dean says the problem is not underperforming schools, but an underperforming state economy.

Tom Campbell, whose Chapman University School of Law has fallen from No. 104 in 2011 to No. 140 in the list released Monday, says the state's poor employment prospects are a drag on the rankings at all 21 accredited California law schools. The rankings take into account the percentage of a school's recent graduates that have found legal jobs—an awfully low number at some schools.

So Campbell emailed his fellow deans to rally them to demand the state's employment picture be factored into the U.S. News methodology. His proposition triggered a "flurry of emails" in support, said Lisa Kloppenberg, dean of Santa Clara University School of Law.

"The slow recovery of California's economy, compared with the rest of the nation, has had a deleterious effect on all of us, once again; and it's particularly cruel to our students, who are punished twice: once by the difficulty of getting a job, and a second time by falling US News rankings of their law school," Campbell said in his email, which was forwarded to The Recorder on Tuesday. ...

The overall rankings at eight California law schools—USC, UC-Davis, UC-Hastings, Loyola, University of San Diego, Santa Clara, Pacific McGeorge and University of San Francisco —have fallen, in some cases plunged, in recent years. The rankings at four other programs—Stanford, UC-Berkeley, UCLA and Pepperdine—have remained relatively stable. (The remaining eight schools remain unranked.)

I had seen this trend last year, and now its overwhelmingly clear," Campbell said Wednesday. "[The data suggests] not a single California school has improved its performance. That's a false statement."

Inspired by U.S. News' method for adjusting for bar passage rates, which takes into account the average rate in particular states, Campbell proposes that schools designate the state where the largest number of their graduates land jobs. "The percentage of each law school's graduates with jobs would then be normalized by the state's unemployment rate compared with the national unemployment rate," he wrote.

In essence, he wants the U.S. News formula tweaked so that schools whose students are looking for work in California won't pay a price for the state's relatively poor employment prospects. Campbell said he proposed this method to U.S. News last year, to no avail, but plans to resubmit it with another year of evidence substantiating what he calls the "California effect" on the rankings. He also said he'll have unanimous support from California's law school deans. ...

But Bob Morse, U.S. News director of data research, isn't buying it. "The schools that are underperforming or falling in the ranking, [it's] not because of the state of California's employment woes," he told The Recorder Wednesday, "but because their students are not in demand, or they're unable to obtain real legal jobs," defined by the magazine as full-time positions requiring a J.D. "That's broadly independent of the state of California's economy."

For proof, he pointed to the list: "The top ten schools in California have seen little change in their rankings over the last few years, showing that their graduates are still in demand and they're still getting real legal jobs, despite the California employment status."

School

Name

2012

Rank

2013

Rank

2014

Rank

2015

Rank

1 Year

Change

3 Year

Change

Stanford

3

2

2

3

-1

0

UC- Berkeley

9

7

9

9

0

0

UCLA

16

15

17

16

+1

0

USC

18

18

18

20

-2

-2

UC-Davis

23

29

38

36

+2

-13

UC-Hastings

42

44

48

54

-6

-12

Pepperdine

54

49

61

54

+7

0

Loyola-L.A.

54

51

68

87

-19

-33

San Diego

67

65

68

79

-11

-12

Santa  Clara

84

96

96

107

-11

-23

Chapman

104

110

126

140

-14

-36

McGeorge

100

101

124

146

-22

-46

San Francisco

100

106

144

Tier 2

-2 +

-46+

Cal Western

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

n/a

n/a

Golden Gate

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

n/a

n/a

Southwestern

121

129

Tier 2

Tier 2

n/a

-25+

T. Jefferson

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

n/a

n/a

Western State

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

n/a

n/a

Whittier

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

Tier 2

n/a

n/a

March 13, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

The Most Overrated and Underrated Law Schools

U.S. News 2015Following up on yesterday's post, John Yoo on the U.S. News Rankings: Peer Reputation Is the Only Thing That Matters:  the charts below list the most overrated and underrated law schools in the 2015 U.S. News Law Schools Rankings, based on the discrepancy between a school's overall rank and its peer reputation rank:

  • Overrated law schools:  overall rank is better than academic peer reputation rank
  • Underrated law schools:  overall rank is worse than academic peer reputation rank

Overrated Rank

Law School

Overall Rank

Peer Rank

Difference

1

Florida International

100

152

+52

2

Campbell

121

168

+47

3

Tulsa

72

116

+44

4

New Hampshire

93

128

+35

5

LSU

72

99

+27

6

Arkansas (Fayetteville)

61

87

+26

6

West Virginia

83

109

+26

8

Baylor

51

76

+25

8

Penn State

51

76

+25

10

Wayne State

87

109

+22

11

Seton Hall

68

87

+19

12

Duquesne

121

139

+18

12

Hamline

121

139

+18

12

Akron

121

139

+18

15

SMU

42

58

+16

15

Richmond

51

67

+16

15

Stetson

93

109

+16

15

St. Louis

93

109

+16

19

Drake

113

128

+15

20

Nebraska

54

67

+13

20

Cleveland State

115

128

+13

20

Creighton

115

128

+13

20

Washburn

115

128

+13

24

Alabama

23

35

+12

24

Arizona State

31

43

+12

24

Louisville

87

99

+12

24

Mercer

104

116

+12

28

Washington (Seattle)

24

35

+11

29

BYU

36

46

+10

29

Quinnipiac

118

128

+10

29

St. Thomas (Minneapolis)

129

139

+10

 

Underrated Rank

Law School

Overall Rank

Peer Rank

Difference

1

Oregon

100

53

-47

2

Hofstra

135

99

-36

2

Howard

135

99

-36

4

DePaul

121

87

-34

5

Santa Clara

107

76

-31

6

Maine

129

99

-30

7

Loyola-L.A.

87

58

-29

8

San Diego

79

53

-26

9

Hawaii

100

76

-24

10

American

72

49

-23

10

Pittsburgh

81

58

-23

12

Arkansas (Little Rock)

121

99

-22

13

Catholic

107

87

-20

13

Syracuse

107

87

-20

13

Vermont

129

109

-20

16

UC-Hastings

54

35

-19

16

Baltimore

135

116

-19

16

McGeorge

147

128

-19

19

Marquette

93

76

-17

20

Washington & Lee

43

27

-16

20

Brooklyn

83

67

-16

22

Cardozo

64

49

-15

23

UC-Davis

36

22

-14

23

Florida

49

35

-14

23

Tennessee

72

58

-14

26

SUNY (Buffalo)

100

87

-13

26

Drexel

129

116

-13

26

Wyoming

129

116

-13

29

North Carolina

31

19

-12

29

New York Law School

140

128

-12

29

Pace

140

128

-12

March 13, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (12)

U.S. News Top 50 Law Schools, 2010-2015

Matthew Schmoldt of LawyerWrit.org has graciously granted TaxProf Blog permission to re-print his great charts on the 2009-2014 U.S. News Top 50 Law Schools (which in customary parlance are the 2010-2015 rankings):

Top 14
15-24
26-31
36-43 45-49

March 13, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Law School Rankings by Experiential Learning

The National Jurist - March 2014The National Jurist has published a ranking of law schools based on the experiential learning opportunities offered to students.  The National Jurist used ABA data to calculate the ratio of experiential opportunities per full-time student in clinics, field placements, and simulations (with the ratio of clinical opportunities given the most weight), and added "bonus points" for requiring experiential courses, having a dean of experiential education, and offering experiential "innovations" (capstone courses, pro bono requirements, winter session courses, unique practicums, legal practice programs, and practical court programs).  The National Jurist ranked the Top 93 schools, with schools assigned A+, A, A-, B+, and B grades.  Here are the 11 schools that received an A+ grade and the 10 schools that received an A grade from The National Jurist, along with the schools' U.S. News ranking:

Experiential Rank (US News Rank)

School

1 (129)

St. Thomas (Minneapolis)

2 (93)

Northeastern

3 (31)

Wisconsin

4 (36)

BYU

5 (93)

New Hampshire

6 (83)

Brooklyn

7 (54)

Pepperdine

8 (46)

Maryland

9 (51)

Baylor

10 (68)

Loyola (Chicago)

11 (146)

McGeorge

12 (49)

Utah

13 (68)

Seton Hall

14 (54)

Connecticut

15 (61)

Temple

16 (12)

Northwestern

17 (Tier 2)

Thomas Cooley

18 (81)

Rutgers (Camden)

19 (Tier 2)

Golden Gate

20 (27)

Boston University

21 (Tier 2)

Liberty

March 12, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

John Yoo on the U.S. News Rankings: Peer Reputation Is the Only Thing That Matters

Following up on yesterday's post, 2015 U.S. News Peer Reputation Rankings (v. Overall Rankings):  John Yoo (UC-Berkeley), Do Law School Rankings Matter?:

U.S. News 2015The US News and World Report rankings of graduate schools are out today. One part of me feels like Steve Martin in The Jerk, running out of his house proudly yelling that the phone books are out and his name is finally in it. (I also laughed hard at the advice that Martin's father gave him upon leaving home but that is another story).

Another part of me realizes that the rankings are to be taken seriously — because everyone else takes them seriously: law students choosing where to attend, law firm partners making hiring decisions, law school administrators, faculty, and especially alumni.

The problem with US News is that it factors in lots of odd things in calculating its rankings. For example, in the past they've weighed things like how big the library is, even though most law students only use the library as a study hall because most materials are online now. It has also used money as a proxy for greatness, though, as we have seen from K-12, money spent per pupil and educational performance do not correlate. The rankings also look at bar passage rates, employment outcomes (on which schools have "cheated" by hiring their own students for a year), average LSAT and GPAs, etc.

For all those law students who will spend the next few weeks considering where to go, one of the biggest factors will probably be academic reputation. After all, those obscure considerations above don't matter — and aren't even generally known — to most people on the bench or in a practice. If you were to choose a law school based on anything other than academic reputation (which is a function of the quality of the faculty and the success of the alumni) you are making a big mistake. ... [T]his and this alone should guide the prospective student in deciding where to go and steer the judge or partner on where to hire.

March 12, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

New 2015 U.S. News Tax Rankings

U.S. News 2015Here are the new 2015 U.S. News Tax Rankings, along with last year's rankings:

2015

Rank

 Tax

Program

2014

Rank

1

NYU

1

2

Florida

3

3

Georgetown

2

4

Northwestern

4

5

Boston University

7

5

Columbia

13

5

Miami

5

8

Harvard

12

8

San Diego

14

10

U. Washington

10

11

Virginia

7

12

UCLA

10

12

USC

5

14

Loyola-L.A.

7

15

Michigan

14

n/r

Boston College

16

n/r

UC-Hastings

17

n/r

Houston

18

The biggest movers are:

  • +8:  Columbia (#5)
  • +6   San Diego (#8)
  • +4:  Harvard (#8)
  • -7:   USC (#12), Loyola-L.A. (#14)
  • -4:   Virginia (#11)  

Boston College (#16), UC-Hastings (#17), and Houston (#18) were ranked last year and are unranked this year.

Here are the rankings of the graduate tax programs, along with last year's rankings.

2015

Rank

Grad Tax

Program

2014

Rank

1

NYU

1

2

Florida

3

3

Georgetown

2

4

Northwestern

4

5

Miami

5

5

Boston University

6

7

San Diego

9

8

U. Washington

8

9

Loyola-L.A.

7

n/r

Houston

10

Houston (#10) was ranked last year and is unranked this year.

The U.S. News tax survey instrument states that it is intended "to identify the law schools having the top programs in tax law." The survey is sent "to a sample of law school faculty listed in the AALS Directory of Law Teachers 2012-2013 as currently teaching a course or seminar in tax law." Recipients are asked "to [i]dentify up to fifteen (15) schools that have the highest-quality tax law courses or programs. In making your choices consider all elements that contribute to a program's excellence, for example, the depth and breadth of the program, faculty research and publication record, etc."

As Donald Tobin (Ohio State) has noted, it is more than strange that NYU has finished ahead of Florida and Georgetown each year that U.S. News has conducted the survey.  Because the survey ranks the schools by how often they appear on the respondents' "Top 15" lists, this means that some folks list NYU, but not Florida and Georgetown, among the Top 15 tax programs.

For more on tax rankings, see our article, Pursuing a Tax LLM Degree: Where?, which compiles information about 13 highly ranked tax LLM programs: (1) NYU; (2) Florida; (3) Georgetown; (4) Northwestern; (5) Miami; (6) Boston University; (7) San Diego; (8) Loyola-L.A./LMU; (9) SMU; (10) Denver; (11) University of Washington; (12) Villanova; and (13) Chapman. The topics on which information is reported in the Article include: (1) tuition; (2) scholarships; (3) the full-time tax professors who teach in each program and the tax courses they teach; (4) the number of full-time and part-time students enrolled in each program; (5) general information about adjunct professors teaching in each program; (6) required courses; (7) elective courses, specialty certificates, and concentrations; (8) opportunities to develop tax practice skills by taking experiential learning courses and simulated practice courses; (9) extracurricular tax activities; (10) opportunities to graduate with honors or receive academic prizes; and (11) career planning and placement services offered to students in each program. The article also ranks the tax faculty at these thirteen law schools by citations (the Top 5 are NYU (1), Florida (2), Georgetown (3), Miami (4), and Northwestern (5)) and SSRN downloads (the Top 5 are Loyola-L.A. (1), NYU (2), Chapman (3), Florida (4), and San Diego (5)).

Other resources available on TaxProf Blog include:

March 12, 2014 in About This Blog, Law School Rankings, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

2015 U.S. News Peer Reputation Rankings (v. Overall Rankings)

U.S. News 2015Continuing a TaxProf Blog tradition (see links below for 2009-2014), here is the full list of the 194 law schools ranked by academic peer reputation, as well as their overall rank, in the new 2015 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

3

4.7

Stanford

3

4

4.6

Columbia

4

4

4.6

Chicago

4

6

4.4

NYU

6

6

4.4

UC-Berkeley

9

6

4.4

Michigan

10

9

4.3

Pennsylvania

7

9

4.3

Virginia

8

11

4.2

Duke

10

12

4.1

Northwestern

12

12

4.1

Cornell

13

12

4.1

Georgetown

13

15

4.0

Texas

15

16

3.9

UCLA

16

17

3.8

Vanderbilt

16

18

3.6

Washington (St. Louis)

18

19

3.5

Minnesota

20

19

3.5

USC

20

19

3.5

North Carolina

31

22

3.4

Emory

19

22

3.4

George Washington

20

22

3.4

Notre Dame

26

22

3.4

UC-Davis

36

26

3.3

Boston University

27

26

3.3

Wisconsin

31

28

3.2

William & Mary

24

28

3.2

Iowa

27

28

3.2

Indiana (Bloomington)

29

28

3.2

Ohio State

31

28

3.2

Boston College

36

28

3.2

Fordham

36

28

3.2

Washington & Lee

43

35

3.1

Alabama

23

35

3.1

Washington (Seattle)

24

35

3.1

Georgia

29

35

3.1

Wake Forest

31

35

3.1

Arizona

40

35

3.1

Illinois

40

35

3.1

Florida

49

35

3.1

UC-Hastings

54

43

3.0

Arizona State

31

43

3.0

Colorado

43

43

3.0

Tulane

46

46

2.9

BYU

36

46

2.9

Florida State

45

46

2.9

Maryland

46

49

2.8

Utah

49

49

2.8

Connecticut

54

49

2.8

Cardozo

64

49

2.8

American

72

53

2.7

George Mason

46

53

2.7

Temple

61

53

2.7

Miami

61

53

2.7

San Diego

79

53

2.7

Oregon

100

58

2.6

SMU

42

58

2.6

Pepperdine

54

58

2.6

Houston

58

58

2.6

Case Western

64

58

2.6

Denver

68

58

2.6

Kansas

68

58

2.6

Tennessee

72

58

2.6

Pittsburgh

81

58

2.6

Loyola (Los Angeles)

87

67

2.5

Richmond

51

67

2.5

Nebraska

54

67

2.5

Kentucky

58

67

2.5

Oklahoma

58

67

2.5

Georgia State

64

67

2.5

Missouri (Columbia)

64

67

2.5

Loyola (Chicago)

68

67

2.5

Chicago-Kent

72

67

2.5

Brooklyn

83

76

2.4

Baylor

51

76

2.4

Penn State

51

76

2.4

Lewis & Clark

72

76

2.4

New Mexico

72

76

2.4

Cincinnati

79

76

2.4

Rutgers (Camden)

81

76

2.4

Rutgers (Newark)

83

76

2.4

Indiana (Indianapolis)

87

76

2.4

Marquette

93

76

2.4

Hawaii

100

76

2.4

Santa Clara

107

87

2.3

Arkansas (Fayetteville)

61

87

2.3

Seton Hall

68

87

2.3

UNLV

83

87

2.3

Michigan State

87

87

2.3

Seattle

87

87

2.3

Northeastern

93

87

2.3

South Carolina

93

87

2.3

Villanova

93

87

2.3

SUNY (Buffalo)

100

87

2.3

Catholic

107

87

2.3

Syracuse

107

87

2.3

DePaul

121

99

2.2

LSU

72

99

2.2

Louisville

87

99

2.2

Mississippi

104

99

2.2

Missouri (Kansas City)

104

99

2.2

Gonzaga

107

99

2.2

St. John's

107

99

2.2

Arkansas (Little Rock)

121

99

2.2

Maine

129

99

2.2

Hofstra

135

99

2.2

Howard

135

109

2.1

West Virginia

83

109

2.1

Wayne State

87

109

2.1

Stetson

93

109

2.1

St. Louis

93

109

2.1

Vermont

129

109

2.1

Loyola (New Orleans)

Tier 2

109

2.1

San Francisco

Tier 2

116

2.0

Tulsa

72

116

2.0

Mercer

104

116

2.0

Texas Tech

107

116

2.0

CUNY

113

116

2.0

Albany

118

116

2.0

Idaho

118

116

2.0

Montana

121

116

2.0

Willamette

121

116

2.0

Drexel

129

116

2.0

Wyoming

129

116

2.0

Baltimore

135

116

2.0

Suffolk

Tier 2

128

1.9

New Hampshire

93

128

1.9

Drake

113

128

1.9

Cleveland State

115

128

1.9

Creighton

115

128

1.9

Washburn

115

128

1.9

Quinnipiac

118

128

1.9

North Dakota

129

128

1.9

New York Law School

140

128

1.9

Pace

140

128

1.9

McGeorge

147

128

1.9

Southwestern

Tier 2

139

1.8

Duquesne

121

139

1.8

Hamline

121

139

1.8

Akron

121

139

1.8

St. Thomas (Minneapolis)

129

139

1.8

Samford

135

139

1.8

William Mitchell

135

139

1.8

Chapman

140

139

1.8

Memphis

140

139

1.8

Toledo

140

139

1.8

South Dakota

145

139

1.8

Southern Illinois

Tier 2

139

1.8

Dayton

Tier 2

139

1.8

Widener

Tier 2

152

1.7

Florida International

100

152

1.7

South Texas

146

152

1.7

John Marshall (Chicago)

Tier 2

152

1.7

Roger Williams

Tier 2

152

1.7

Texas A&M

Tier 2

152

1.7

Valparaiso

Tier 2

158

1.6

California Western

Tier 2

158

1.6

Elon

Tier 2

158

1.6

Golden Gate

Tier 2

158

1.6

Mississippi College

Tier 2

158

1.6

Northern Illinois

Tier 2

158

1.6

Northern Kentucky

Tier 2

158

1.6

Nova Southeastern

Tier 2

158

1.6

Oklahoma City

Tier 2

158

1.6

St. Mary's

Tier 2

158

1.6

Touro

Tier 2

168

1.5

Campbell

121

168

1.5

Capital

Tier 2

168

1.5

New England

Tier 2

168

1.5

North Carolina Central

Tier 2

168

1.5

Ohio Northern

Tier 2

173

1.4

John Marshall (Atlanta)

Tier 2

173

1.4

Southern Illinois

Tier 2

173

1.4

St. Thomas (Miami)

Tier 2

173

1.4

Texas Southern

Tier 2

173

1.4

Detroit

Tier 2

173

1.4

District of Columbia

Tier 2

173

1.4

Western New England

Tier 2

173

1.4

Whittier

Tier 2

181

1.3

Appalachian

Tier 2

181

1.3

Charleston

Tier 2

181

1.3

Faulkner

Tier 2

181

1.3

Florida A&M

Tier 2

181

1.3

Thomas Jefferson

Tier 2

186

1.2

Arizona Summit

Tier 2

186

1.2

Barry

Tier 2

186

1.2

Charlotte

Tier 2

186

1.2

Florida Coastal

Tier 2

186

1.2

Liberty

Tier 2

186

1.2

Regent

Tier 2

186

1.2

Thomas M. Cooley

Tier 2

186

1.2

Western State

Tier 2

194

1.1

Ave Maria

Tier 2

Prior years' rankings:

Press and blogosphere coverage:

Update:   Brian Leiter (Chicago):    "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."

March 11, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Student Selectivity (Median LSAT/GPA) Changes for the 2015 U.S. News Law School Rankings

US NewsIn advance of tomorrow's release of the new 2015 U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings:  Brian Huddleson has added to my ranking of the 202 ABA-accredited law schools by student selectivity of the entering Fall 2013 class weighted by LSAT scores (12.5%) and undergraduate GPAs (10%) using the U.S. News methodology a ranking of the entering Fall 2012 class. (Brian's data excludes provisionally accredited schools and law schools in Puerto Rico.) Here are the biggest improvements and declines in student selectivity of the Top 100 schools for the forthcoming 2015 rankings.

Update:  I have deleted the chart because the methodology of my student selectivity ranking for the Fall 2013 class is not consistent with Brian's ranking for the Fall 2012 class.  I will post an updated chart as soon as I can.

March 10, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

World University Rankings by Reputation (For Research and Teaching)

World Reputation RankingsLondon-based Times Higher Education has released its 2014 World University Rankings based exclusively on reputation for research (66.7%) and teaching (33.3%) from surveys of 10,536 academics from 133 countries (methodology) (Top 100).  The Top 25 are (click on the links for each school's research and teaching ranking):

  1. Harvard (U.S.)  100.0
  2. MIT (U.S.)  90.4
  3. Stanford (U.S.)  74.9
  4. Cambridge (U.K.)  73.3
  5. Oxford (U.K.)  67.8
  6. UC-Berkeley (U.S.)  63.1
  7. Princeton (U.S.)  35.7
  8. Yale (U.S.)  30.9
  9. Cal-Tech (U.S.)  29.2
  10. UCLA (U.S.)  28.8
  11. Tokyo (Japan)  27.7
  12. Columbia (U.S.)  21.6
  13. Imperial College of London (U.K.)  20.9
  14. Chicago (U.S.)  20.8
  15. Michigan (U.S.)  18.9
  16. ETH Zurich (Switzerland)  17.4
  17. Cornell (U.S.)  16.9
  18. Johns Hopkins (U.S.)  16.8
  19. Kyoto (Japan)  15.1
  20. Toronto (Canada)  14.9
  21. National University of Singapore (Singapore)  13.5
  22. Pennsylvania (U.S.)  12.8
  23. Illinois (U.S.)  12.7
  24. London School of Economics (U.K.)  11.8
  25. University College London (U.K.)  11.5

8 of the Top 10, 17 of the Top 25, and 29 of the Top 50 are U.S. universities.

March 8, 2014 in Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Student Selectivity (Median LSAT/GPA) for the 2015 U.S. News Law School Rankings

US NewsIn advance of Tuesday's release of the new 2015 U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings:  below is a ranking of the 202 ABA-accredited law schools by student selectivity weighted by LSAT scores (12.5%) and undergraduate GPAs (10%) using the U.S. News methodology:

1

YALE

2

HARVARD

3

CHICAGO

4

STANFORD

5

PENNSYLVANIA

6

VIRGINIA

7

DUKE

8

UCLA

9

COLUMBIA

10

NYU

11

NORTHWESTERN

12

UC-BERKELEY

13

GEORGETOWN

14

VANDERBILT

15

MICHIGAN

16

ALABAMA

17

MINNESOTA

18

EMORY

19

USC

20

CORNELL

21

GEORGE WASHINGTON

22

WASHINGTON - ST. LOUIS

23

WILLIAM & MARY

24

TEXAS

25

INDIANA - BLOOMINGTON

26

BOSTON UNIVERSITY

27

WASHINGTON - SEATTLE

28

BOSTON COLLEGE

29

GEORGIA

30

BYU

31

NOTRE DAME

32

SMU

33

COLORADO

34

UC-IRVINE

35

WAKE FOREST

36

IOWA

37

WASHINGTON & LEE

38

UC-DAVIS

39

OHIO STATE

40

WISCONSIN

41

ARIZONA STATE

42

FORDHAM

43

PEPPERDINE

44

GEORGE MASON

45

ARIZONA

46

NORTHEASTERN

47

ILLINOIS

48

FLORIDA

49

BAYLOR

50