: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at

The (Party) Law School Rankings

Filling a void inexplicably left by the U.S. News Rankings, SubtleDig posted Party Law School Rankings. UHLC came in 5th or 98th depending on how you look at it. Baylor Law had a trifecta with the top overall prize of the least partying law school, least happy student body, and Least Alcohol Consumption; Surely that’s a coincidence.

Law School Rankings Game: One Step Forward, Four Steps Back?

After becoming a poster child for the pitfalls of not playing along with the law school rankings, the University of Houston Law Center made a rapid climb back up the rankings from a low of 70 to 55 last year. This year we ‘slipped’ to 59. or did we?

In comparing the leaked numbers to the 2009 numbers I wondered what the difference was. UHLC was tied with a host of folks at No. 55 last year with a raw score of 49. The school actually improved for this years ranking, increasing the raw score to 50, but was vaulted by other schools such as Case Western, Pepperdine and Kentucky. Moral of the story: just as good or even just a little bit better, is no longer good enough.

To the pre-L’s: I’ll leave the larger discussion of the efficacy of deciding where to go for law school on the basis of ranking for another day. On the one hand, it’s a rough proxy for the collective wisdom of other prospective law students – it’s always a fairly safe bet to move with the herd. On the other hand, that ranking number, as objective as it may seem to the uninitiated, is a fairly arbitrary measure when comparing schools within 20 or so spots of each other, and those numbers are going to move, sometimes a lot. There are lots of other (valid) reasons to decide where to go to law school (cost, location, subject area of interest, being admitted, etc) – if you haven’t decided where you’re going and why, it’s not too late.

U.S. News Rankings in the Wild, UHLC 59 and 19

The newest round of U.S. News and World Report law school rankings are slowly trickling out in advance of their official release date on April 23rd. For those interested, the University of Houston Law Center is at 59 and debuts at 19 on the new part-time program rankings.

Glimpse of USNWR Part-Time Program Rankings

Partially previewed here. D.C. anyone?

1. Georgetown (D.C.)
2. George Washington (D.C.)
3. Fordham (N.Y.)
4. American (D.C.)
5. George Mason (Vir.)

Video below:
Read the rest of this entry »

Managing partner of K and L Gates derides U.S. News and World Report Rankings

Peter Kalis, the chairman and global managing partner of K and L Gates challenges the efficacy of the U.S. News and World Report Rankings in Gripes About Law School Rankings From a Law School ‘Customer’ in the National Law Journal.

I’d like to take up the cause of “nondesigner” law schools. I’ll focus on the University of Pittsburgh School of Law but there are many “Pitt Laws” in our markets — law schools with dedicated teachers and researchers, fine student bodies and solid market reputations that, alas, do not rank them with Yale or Harvard.

The real Pitt Law was hammered this year in the U.S. News ranking and dropped 16 places, from 57 to 73. Other law schools experienced abrupt movements up and down this year’s ranking as compared with last. Such sudden changes among stable institutions reveal more about the ranking than the law schools themselves. If change comes slowly to law firms, it comes even more slowly within academia.

I am a graduate of Yale Law School. It was and is a great place — but it’s no Pitt Law. Yale Law is the same tiny size it was 50 years ago — about 165 students per class. The 50 largest law firms in the country now employ about 65,000 lawyers. Yale Law today, sad to say, is quantitatively beside the point to most of the country’s leading law firms. And, of course, “Yale Law” is merely a metaphor that embraces Harvard, Stanford, Chicago and the other “designer” law schools whose entering class sizes are frozen in time like the fetching smile of a prom date you haven’t seen in 40 years.

Consider the impact of the real Pitt Law on my firm. We have 29 partners and 60 lawyers overall who are graduates of Pitt Law. It has supplied us with a global development partner, a global general counsel, a global head of litigation and the managing partner of one of our largest offices. It trains great leaders as well as great lawyers not only because ideas matter there, but also because emotional intelligence and analytical intelligence go hand in hand. It doesn’t sit well with me when Pitt Law is unfairly maligned.

It’s fairly easy to see from the numbers: 33 lawyers from Yale Law School and 61 from University of Pittsburgh Law School (not to mention 7 from the University of Houston Law Center despite not having a Houston office). Some of this is obviously choice, see Law Professor Hiring: Statistics on JD Placement, but of course the beauty and the disease of rankings is that they sell simplicity rather than explanation.

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