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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Unconfirmed: Law School Rankings Released, University of Houston Jumps 10 spots to #60

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Via Marshall Preddy at Legalese, the University of Houston Law Center has jumped 10 spots to #60 in the 2008 U.S. World and News Report Rankings. The USWNR site still shows 2007, but Concurring Opinions has the scoop on 2008 law school rankings which were apparently released earlier to subscribers and posted on

I’ve made my feelings known on the matter in earlier posts, I wish I could say it doesn’t matter at all, but of course it does. Why? Not for any intrinsic matter, but because someone out there pays attention to these things and acts accordingly – those bright-eyed, terrifyingly insecure youngsters in the throes of acceptance/rejection letters trying to figure out where they’re going to spend the next three years. Orin Kerr makes this argument at Volokh; this comment nails it specifically.

In my opinion, and to borrow from Malcolm Gladwell, there are two schools of thought on the value imparted by an educational institution. Law Schools can be more like modeling agencies or more like the Marine Corp. Modeling agencies earn their reputations be selecting only the best. The Marine Corp is far less selective, but you can be damn sure it will turn whatever it gets into a soldier. Of course neither motive is completely true of all law schools, but for the average law student, you’re much better off at a school that sees itself as more marine corp than modeling agency.

UPDATE# 1: Houston’s former Dean Nancy Rapoport takes a look from a perspective only a Dean can bring – We’re number, uh, something?. The decision to promote Houston’s appearance on the Vault’s underrated law school list I thought was a bit like a company touting a depressed share price.

UPDATE# 2: Bill Henderson at the Empirical Legal Studies Blog, puts the modeling agency / marine corp dichotomy in terms of stronger students / better education –

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Category: advice to law students, law school, law school rankings, university of houston


One Response

  1. NRapoport says:

    Am hoping that, as folks review this year’s rankings, they take a look at the Indiana Law Journal’s symposium on the rankings (March 2006, I think), including my piece, 81 Ind. L.J. 359 (2006). On p. 361 of that piece, I have a diagram that discusses the relative utility of the rankings as a grouping device, rather than as an ordinal ranking. Don’t know if you want to post that diagram on your blog, but you have my permission to do so.

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