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Law School Rankings vs. Parent University Rankings

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7 Responses

  1. Jim G says:

    I would expect many or most law schools would outrank their host institutions because many highly-ranked universities don’t have law schools (e.g., Princeton, MIT, CalTech, etc.). So, in absolute numbers, a university’s law school ranking should be better than its overall ranking.

    This sort of comparison really ought to look at percentile rankings — where the school ranks as a percent of all schools in the category.

  2. bill says:

    Jim G’s observation is correct that percentile is the way to go.

    However, his observation about highly ranked universities not having law schools is only correct if it is not also disproportionately the case that lowly ranked universities /do/ have law schools.

    I’m not sure that that’s the case.

  3. I’m not sure we can make this comparison without some sense of the opposite phenomenon – law schools (like the one where I work) that are ranked lower than their parent universities.

  4. Jim G says:

    Bill,

    I don’t understand why it matters whether lower-ranked universities disproportionately have law schools. Could you explain more?

    My point was just that each university that doesn’t have a law school creates a “hole” into which a school with a law program can move. Princeton has no law school, so Harvard could take the #1 spot. But Yale gets that honor in the law rankings — meaning that Harvard isn’t actually breaking even (#2 overall, #2 law), because it’s #1 among universities without law schools, and #2 among law schools. Or take Duke, which is #8 among undergrad institutions, but behind no-laws Princeton (#1), Cal Tech (#5), and MIT (#7); Duke University is #5 among institutions with law schools, but its law school is ranked at #10 – a drop of five spots, not two.

    So, at a minimum, the study should compare a law school’s ranking to its host institution’s ranking among other universities with law schools (i.e., Harvard Law at #2 with Harvard at #1; Duke Law at #10 with Duke at #5).

    Looking at the comparison some more, having a host institution looks like a requirement for a top ranking. The only independent law school in the top 100 is Brooklyn Law School at #60.

  5. bill says:

    The current system (find the difference in ranking) is goofy.

    As I said, I agree with you that percentile is the way to go.

    IF you do percentile, then the only way it matters that MIT, Brown, Dartmouth and Caltech don’t have law schools is if it is less likely that schools as lowly as those named four are stellar do not have law schools. (E.g., if there’s a Northeast Dakota A&M at the bottom of the university rankings, and it doesn’t have a law school, that cancels out MIT).

  6. Samantha Brown says:

    I think these rankings are stupid, and just proves to the world that lawyers don’t have a life. Medical schools don’t play childish games like this. They recognize that the fact that students even attend medical school is a big accomplishment. Sometimes, I am ashamed to be in this field. Does these rankings determine who will be a great lawyer or how much impact we will make in this world? No.

    Just another way for humans to continue tearing each other down.

  7. Samantha Brown says:

    I think these rankings are stupid, and just proves to the world that lawyers don’t have a life. Medical schools don’t play childish games like this. They recognize that the fact that students even attend medical school is a big accomplishment. Sometimes, I am ashamed to be in this field. Does these rankings determine who will be a great lawyer or how much impact we will make in this world? No.

    Just another way for humans to continue tearing each other down.

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