Friday, April 18, 2008

American's 10-mile Long Waitlist

Is opening up. One of my clients just was asked via email to re-confirm his interest and within 5-minutes he had an acceptance letter (and 24 hours to submit a deposit).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Things to Consider When Accepting a Law School Scholarshi

For those of you considering law school scholarship offers right now, please consider (1) whether the scholarship is renewable and (2) what is required of you to renew it. A 3.25 doesn't sound so hard to attain coming out of undergrad; but at some law schools that may be a GPA reached only by the top 20% of the class. If you're choosing a school primarily because of the scholarship then think about how you would feel without that scholarship 2nd and 3rd years. This is especially true if you would try to transfer because if you haven't hit the GPA requirement for your scholarship then you may not be the world's most competitive transfer applicant.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Getting Ready for the Fall 2009 Admission Cycle

The Integrated Learning Blog posted an article I wrote for them about things you can do now to prepare for the Fall 2009 Law School Admission Cycle.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Best Law Schools for BigLaw

I have a handful of clients contemplating Columbia, Harvard, NYU, Boalt and Northwestern and here's a timely post by WSJ Law Blog of interest if you're hoping for a BigLaw job after graduation.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rankings Lead to Increased Transfer Admits

The Faculty Lounge has a great article today about law schools downsizing to jump in the rankings, and compensating by taking more transfer applicants. This is a well-known practice, and applicants are just now starting to get wind of it.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Pre-order 2009 ABA LSAC Official Guide Today

Don't even think of applying to law school without this!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Agonizing over Being Waitlisted?

Anna Ivey, fellow member of AIGAC, has a great blog post about (1) why schools waitlist and (2) what to do about it.

How the University of Buffalo Responds to Dropping 23 Spots

A great article about the big impact little numbers can have on a law school's ranking.

University of Minnesota's Take on the Rankings

Here's another example of a school that hasn't changed much in the rankings since 1996 but is catching flak for going down 2 spots in 2009: University of Minnesota Law School.

Think this school will be watching its incoming LSATs a bit more closely? Probably. With good reason? Probably not. Should be interesting, but we have to remember that the 2009 rankings take 2007 data into account.....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What do the Law School Rankings Really Mean?

Here is a link to an open letter written by Brian Leiter about the flawed methodology of the U.S. News Law School Rankings. Every law school applicant (in deciding where to apply and where to attend) should read it. If you do not read it, you are not doing your homework. Too many law school applicants make their decisions by the rankings; if you are going to stake such a big decision on what a magazine has to say then make sure you understand how law schools manipulate the rankings and why.

A lot of you have been asking me for my opinion about this year's rankings. I believe that looking at only one year's data provides an incomplete (and often overly dramatic) picture. After all, if the rankings will change a year from now then you made a very short sighted decision. And, of course, the rankings must change each year in order for U.S. News to continue to sell their magazine for $9.95.

The following is not a complete analysis of the 2009 Law School Rankings. This is the beginning of a continuing discussion about my observations, presented in no particular order. Also, keep in mind that I am not a statistician.

I decided to compare this year's rankings with those from 2006 to see whether any of the notable rise and fall stories from this year had significant merit (as to both the praise of the rising and the panic of the falling).

Here are my general observations:

  • The top 5 schools are exactly the same (Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, NYU). For the last 4 schools, the overall scores decreased - apparently because acceptance rates were higher.
  • In groups of 5, the top 30 schools don't change much over time. So if you limit yourself by applying only to Top 20 schools, you're leaving out 3-5 schools that are in that group in any other year. Who is to say that #24 won't be #19 by the time you graduate?
  • The Tier 3 and Tier 4 Schools should not be looked at as "lesser". They should be regarded as "Regional Law Schools." Many of these schools have excellent reputations in their respective geographic regions and are at a disadvantage in the rankings since national reputation is a major factor relied upon by US News. Most lawyers practice law in a particular community for their entire careers. Going to law school in that community has distinct advantages not properly taken into account by the rankings.
Some of my readers have been asking me school-specific questions. I'll address a few of those here:
  • There is some panic about Cardozo's ranking dropping this year. In 2006, it was #58 and in 2009 it's#58. That is not a drop I would consider significant.
  • Pepperdine has climbed from #77 in 2006 to #59, largely because of acceptance rates. (Bar passage also climbed from 60% to 65%). The school has been under new leadership, and -arguably- more Conservative leadership.
  • UNC has dropped 11 places because of employment rates upon graduation. But don't be quick to condemn. Reading Brian Leiter's article may lead me to assume UNC-CH has been (perhaps) more ethical in their employment rate reporting and may be suffering as a result. Just a guess, with a "benefit of the doubt" mentality thrown in to the mix.
  • U. Washington going from #24 to #19? Still within my 5-point rule. I'm not worried.
  • U. Colorado has climbed from #48 to #32. Nothing substantive has changed except 9 month employment numbers.
  • University of San Diego was #63 in 2006 and is now #82 (and in very good company with University of Miami and Loyola Chicago). Acceptance rate changed from 21% to 31% - that's the only major difference in the numbers.
  • Those of you deciding between Santa Clara and San Diego should keep in mind that Santa Clara is only ranked one school above San Diego. The difference is absolutely negligible. Don't make this decision based on rankings. (However, in 2006 Santa Clara was Tier 3... it's acceptance rate has doubled but employment and bar passage numbers improved). If you want to be a tax attorney, perhaps San Diego. If you want to practice IP, then perhaps Santa Clara. Do your research.
Those are my comments for now; I look forward to reading all of yours.....