Tuesday, September 14, 2010


An Encouraging Day at St. Thomas

Yesterday, my colleague Greg Sisk released a fascinating report on scholarly productivity, which was immediately picked up by law school uber-blogger Brian Leiter of the University of Chicago.

In short, Greg's study extends some of Leiter's work at ranking schools based on the number of times their tenured faculty are cited in law reviews. It's a rough measure of how well-known and respected a faculty might be among national colleagues.

Because much of a school's ranking in U.S. News is determined by how that school is viewed by other academics, this is an intriguing exercise. I would suggest you take a look; the full report can be downloaded here.

As I have said before, it is a good and timely question to ask whether or not the U.S. News Ranking should have a significant effect on the legal academy. However, what can't be debated is that those rankings do have a very real impact on law schools and how they do business. For example, many schools now use nearly all of their scholarship money to attract students with higher LSAT scores, which in turn drives up the ranking numbers. That means that scholarship money no longer goes primarily to those with financial need or those who have proven themselves in the first year or two of law school.

Sadly, the Razor Rankings never quite caught on.

I noticed that the Razor ranking system places Stanford (17) significantly lower than does US News (3)citing a "troubling lack of Obama relatedness". This fails to acknowledge, I belief, the influence of President Obama's appointee to the position of Asst. Attorney General for the Civil Division (DOJ), Tony West. Mr. West is a graduate of Stanford Law School where he served as president of the law review. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he earned about $65 million for the Obama camp, most of which came from California. His senior staff in the Civil Division (the largest--and perhaps most influential--DOJ division) consists almost entirely of Stanford educated Californians. Insofar as President Obama and Tony West are concerned, taking into account the Razor Rankings criteria, I think the Stanford ought to be reconsidered.

Mea Culpa
Those are better than USN&WR.

Then again, so is consulting the magic 8-ball. "Will I have a job on graduation from my law school?" "Outlook dim."

"What about if I graduated top of my class at Harvard?"

"Ask again once your job is outsourced to India. They do doc review at half the price we'd have to pay a know-nothing junior associate."

"What do I do now?"

"Suicide is painless."

Where did you get your pessimistic 8-Ball?
Where I get all my implements sorcerous and arcane. UT Student Union.
Do they also sell food on-a-stick?
Oddly enough... Yes!

Also, there's this food cart outside that sells pizza rolls, fried rice, Indian dough pockets, pretzel dogs, and lemonade. I ate that for lunch for three years straight. When I didn't go get Thai food from Mam.
Impaled pabulum and recondite relics...all in one place!!!? The closest the Baylor SUB comes is a rundown Sbarro and a $.75/can soda vending machine which operates a lot like an 8-ball...when you push a button you never know what it will give you.
the razor ranking system is genius, as is any system that ranks wake forest in its top three.
well done, sir.
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