Like SuperLawyers, the annual US News “best law schools” list is a source of smug satisfaction for some, and outrage for others. If your law school is in the top [arbitrary number], you probably smile to yourself even as you decry the problems with the rankings to others. (Like coaches of losing NFL teams, I assume the deans of “rank not published” schools will be looking for work shortly.)

How do you feel about the annual US News law school beauty pageant?

(HT Minnesota Lawyer.)


  1. Dan says:

    Frustrating that the list spans eight pages… no use using your browser’s search function.

  2. Jordan says:

    Oh Sam, another fine article! You know like everyone else that it’s extremely important how US News and World Report feels about a person’s law school at any given time.

    Normally, I don’t keep up with this stuff. By showing me that my law school moved up a few spots, you’ve helped my practice tremendously.

    In fact, today I’m going to send out a letter to all of my clients letting them know that US News & World Report thinks my alma mater, Temple, is pretty good. So good, in fact, that they bumped it up a few spots and now it’s the second highest ranked school in all of Pennsylvania. That’s a big deal, and it’s extremely important to my clients. They don’t care about someone who knows what they’re doing, returns their calls, or gets them results… no, clients want to know their lawyer went to a school that US News & World report thinks is more awesome than other schools. And if we had any employees, and their law school dropped in the rankings, they would be fired IMMEDIATELY. Like right on the spot.

    I’m also going to copy every state and federal judge where I practice, so they know that when I litigate, it’s probably with a little more awesomeness than the guy next to me (who may have attended a dreaded TTT like Villanoava. I bet these losers shop at the regular food store instead of Whole Foods, too.) My guess is the bench will issue a standing order saying: “Mr. Rushie: Your legal mind is obviously superior because of where you went to law school. Every motion you ever file from here on out is granted. Thank you, once again, for enlightening the court with your awesome. SO ORDERED.” And it won’t even be sarcasm.

    And finally, if my practice fails, every resume I send out will contain a copy of the rankings along with it. I don’t think employers will consider anyone else who didn’t go to my alma mater. Trial experience? Portable clients? Strong reputation with the local bench and bar? That’s all fine and dandy, but what puts beer on the table is prestige, baby.

    And Sam, this was such a great topic to write about. Every conversation I initiate with another lawyer usually starts like this:

    “Hi Bill, I’m Jordan! Nice to meet you! Where did you go to law school?”
    “…oh. I’m sorry. The LSAT is difficult for most people.”
    “Um… okay. Nice to meet you, too…”
    “Likewise. Hey, tell you what. I’ll ask my wife if she saw any coupons in the newspaper this weekend, if she did, I”ll have her mail them to you. Maybe you can use them at the grocery store. Whole Food doesn’t take coupons, so they’re useless to us, but you wouldn’t know that…”

    • Sam Glover says:

      So it sounds like you feel the same way I do about the rankings. That’s cool. They’re still news, especially to the many law students, prospective law students, and law school staff who read Lawyerist.

  3. Guest says:

    I have ambivalent feelings about the rankings. For all the reasons that many others have previously discussed at length, the rankings are silly. At the same time, the rankings are a helpful (albeit limited) tool to aid prospective students and employers in choosing where to attend and who to hire.

    I think the best solution would be for US News to appease shg and Tannebaum by adding “strength of logo” to its rankings criteria.

    • shg says:

      You’ve mistakenly extrapolated my position on logos for law firms to logos for law schools. The latter is entirely different, and the logo for law schools is a critical aspect of excellence in legal education. As such, it should play a significant role in a schools placement which, as Jordan correctly notes, directly correlates with winning in court on the grounds of awesomeness.

  4. Alexander Wolfe says:

    I was going to comment but frankly nothing can be added to Jordan’s response of awesomeness.

  5. shg says:

    There is a second, and perhaps more significant, correlation between Superlawyers and the US News & World Reports law school rankings. Both cost more than they’re worth, and neither does squat to make you a better lawyer.

  6. Adam Lilly says:

    “In Old Norse sources, beings described as trolls dwell in isolated rocks, mountains, or caves, live together in small family units, and are rarely helpful to human beings.”

  7. mgm says:

    Wise up guys….University of Washington at 25,000. and George Washington at 45,000?

    Only differece is the Washington….HUH?

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