(Also: Scam Madness is around the corner!!!)
My lesser lemming tends to move up several spots when my news feed fills with delicious articles such as these:
"FSU Law School ranked #1 by US News and World Report" (...in Florida!)
"UH law school continues to rank among best in country" (...even though it's ranked 100th and dropped 20 spots!)
"US News & World Report: Hamline University Best Private Law School in Minn." (someone tell Cooley to open a campus there, stat!)
"Duquesne Law School Jumps Significantly in U.S. News Ranking" ("Last year, Duquesne placed among top-tier law schools for the first time in a decade. This year, Duquesne jumped up to the 121st spot, shared with seven other institutions, including DePaul University in Chicago.")
"Wayne State law school makes surge in national rankings" (from 105 to 80-something; also: "University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, which has campuses in Ann Arbor, Auburn Hills, Lansing and Grand Rapids, both are in a second-tier group")
"The Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University Ranks Among Top Institutions in Annual U.S. News & World Report Rankings" (...it's 31st and "is among the nation's premier law schools").
By far, my favorite dissenting opinion about The Holy Rankings comes from Chapman dean Tom Campbell, whose impressive reasoning goes as follows:
“It puts a substantial amount of weight on what percentage of law school graduates have jobs,” he said, adding that since 2009 attorney jobs in California have been falling, even as more attorneys are being hired nationally.
“Chapman graduates look for jobs in California,” he said.
“It's unfair to all California law school graduates that (the U.S. News survey) does not take into account the employment situation in the state.”
I've heard a lot of complaints about the US News Rankings over the years, but this one gets a prize for novelty of scamdom. California schools - or those in any depressed state - should actually get a credit in the rankings if the local economy sucks and fewer students can acquire jobs. Meanwhile, this would, of course, suggest that law schools in states with a burgeoning economy should be handicapped.
Although on the surface this seems backwards, batshit crazy, and completely unsupportable under any system of objective thought, I kind of like it. No one goes to law school for a job, after all, and if it's relatively easy for graduates to get jobs, the poor quality of a school may be masked, while an excellent school in a depressed region may be overlooked with undue emphasis on its students' massive debts and food stamp collections. I mean, it's a 40-year career we're preparing for, and surely those students graduating into depressed economies aren't suffering any educational disadvantage as a result.
Think of it this way, skeptics: Yale would still be a great law school even if it moved to the Yukon. So naturally Chapman is as good of a law school in depressed California as it would be in a booming economic area, such as Chicago or Washington D.C.
So yeah. Stop being mean to law schools because they dump graduates into over-saturated markets, US News. That's just unfair. Consider how crappy the local market is and give a bump to those schools who are able to kick ass in spite of their graduates not being able to land jobs in the only locations where most of them are legally or practically limited to work.