Tuesday, March 25, 2008

US News: Great Rankings or Greatest Rankings?

[HT to The Shark and CF] Boalt is now 6th in USN&WR rankings, ahead of Chicago (which lost Sunstein AND the internet in the classroom) and UPenn, which as I've said before, does not belong in the top 10. Kudos Boalties, now on to the difficult task of not turning into DBs.

[Update: PDF of 20008. Cf., the 2006 rankings].

Speaking of daunting and impossible tasks of improving Boalt, Michael Bazeley is in charge of improving your school's humble website. Please offer your feedback's to him at this blog that he has created.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good news.

Why did the chart list our abr passage rate as 84.9% in CA though? I thought we droppedto 81% or something.

3/25/2008 7:16 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

That's exactly our 2006 BPR.

3/25/2008 7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been leaked elsewhere too

3/25/2008 11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we might not pass the bar, but that employment % at graduation is sweet!

3/26/2008 12:11 AM  
Blogger zoilax said...

Isn't this the highest Boalt's been ranked by USN&WR? And if this year's ranking's based somewhat on 2006 BPR, will ranking plummet in 2010, in accordance w/ 2008's low-ish BPR ?

3/26/2008 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3/26/2008 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, did Berkeley game the rankings? 99% employment rate at graduation, a higher rate than any other school.

3/26/2008 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they included re-studying for the bar as post-graduate employment. :P

3/26/2008 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goodness knows that if we fell to #12 this post would be about how useless these rankings are. So while a good ranking makes the school look good—which I’m all for—I suggest we also not care when we do well.

3/26/2008 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@12:30--The rankings are awesome AND useless, kind of like male nipples. Embrace the duality, yo.

It's a positive step that any public law school made it this high, despite the obvious financial disadvantages. If it happens to be our little dork factory, so be it. Life is unfair--let it be unfair to Penn and Chicago for a change.

3/26/2008 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The improvement in rankings isn't suprising if you attended Edley's talk a few weeks ago. We've increased faculty by about 20% (if I remember right), but we haven't grown the student body yet, giving us a student-teacher ratio closer to that of the super-elites (yale through columbia). That, and the good employment figures, is the main difference from last year. I don't know what to make of the employment figures--I haven't heard any evidence of gaming and my guess is that a strong economy, a grading system that protects the very bottom of the class, and a small class size has given us the good employment stats.

Yes, rankings are to a large degree of bullshit, but our current ranking is closer to some sort of reality than it used to be. (I mean, c'mon, we were ranked 13 three years ago and I bet a lot of us 3Ls turned down what were higher ranked schools at the time to come to Boalt. I know for me that I chose Boalt over NYU and Chicago; of course, location was a big part of that choice;)

3/26/2008 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh kids, come on. edley worked out a public interest grant program for folks to get funding for 6 months or so after graduation until they get bar results and can find a full time, permanent public interest gig, which often won't be available in advance. this is an amazing thing he did for public interest students, it's cheap because it affects a relatively low number, and yes, it dials the employment rate way, way up. 3 unemployed public interest students waiting for bar results = a 1% decrease in employment rate. you do the math on how little money keep 10 kids in a job costs him, and gives us a 99% instead of a 96%.

3/26/2008 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos to Dean Edley! As the previous commenter mentioned, this is in large part thanks to the increase in faculty. The ratio used to be atrocious, like 18:1, and now it's almost 12:1. And he thankfully did it not to simply game the rankings (and bringing in anyone with a pulse), but by consistently making excellent hires and thereby improving the quality of the education offered. Thank you, Dean Edley, and keep up the good work!

3/26/2008 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@1:19--interesting that you say the grading system protects the bottom of the class. I always thought it made the middle indistinguishable from the bottom. I'd be curious to hear what a hiring partner thinks when she sees a P.

3/26/2008 3:00 PM  
Blogger McWho said...

Probably that it's a hell of alot better than a C-.

3/26/2008 4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


If you accept your premise that our grading system makes the bottom indistinguishable from the middle, then that would seem to help the bottom by making it difficult to discover who is at the bottom.

But your premise is wrong. Yes, in any given class, a P can cover a wide range, but over the course of a couple of semesters, there will be few students with exclusively P grades. People in the middle will be distinguished by the peppering of Hs (and perhaps an HH or two) amongst their Ps.

3/26/2008 4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:19 here...Yeah, and C minuses look a lot shittier than Ps.

3/26/2008 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm I a dork for being happy about this year's rise in the rankings? I was a little worried there for a while, especially with the drop three years ago (right after I accepted my spot here). I know that people from all of these "top" schools (and many others) can be very good lawyers, but I like that we are getting a little respect.

BTW--regarding grades: I have a C+ from a few years ago that still haunts me. I do not have the same feeling about my Ps here.

3/26/2008 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@4:13--My premise kicks ass. YOUR premise is wrong. Your 2L summer job interviews are based on exactly 2 semesters of grades, and with 60% of every class getting a P I don't think it's that rare for 1L's to finish with all P's for a year. Even if you do better as a 2L and 3L, you may already be hosed. Anyway, I think it's naive to assume that a P looks better than a low letter grade--if the interviewer went to Boalt and got HH's, they may assume that someone with a P barely passed, not that they barely missed an H. Depending on the person the P may either look better than a C- or exactly like a D-.

All of which means it's cool that Boalt went up in the rankings--can only help in the job hunt.

3/26/2008 9:42 PM  
Blogger McWho said...

Since people with all P's got firm jobs, I really doubt that they think of them all as D-'s.

3/26/2008 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@McWho--you're assuming people with low grades at schools that give letter grades *don't* get firm jobs. Those places have high employment rates too.

3/27/2008 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most legal employers are not large bay area firms with tons of Boalt grads. If you don't have a huge number of Boalt people applying to your jobs every year, you're not going to be able to figure out what the curve is. We have a fantastic grade scale and it is one of the big reasons why I chose boalt. There are always going to be gunners, but I do think that in general we have a cooperative rather than a competitive atmosphere here.

3/27/2008 12:50 PM  

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