USD Law Jumps to 56th in 2011 US News Law School Rankings
Posted by demkid on April 13, 2010
Well, immediately after my last post, I did a little searching. It looks like the attempts to prevent leaks of the print version of the 2011 US News Law School Rankings have failed. This year, I’m going to give credit to Above the Law, as they posted links to the new rankings within the last hour (via Top-Law-Schools). I’m going to consolidate the scanned pages (from holybartender’s Flickr stream) below, for your enjoyment. But now, my analysis:
The University of San Diego School of Law has continued its rise in the latest version of the US News Law School Rankings. In the 2011 version, USD Law has jumped from #61 to #56, and is now on the cusp of Tier 1 status. This small rise follows a huge jump in the 2010 rankings, when USD had the highest leap of any school, moving up the rankings from the 82nd position.
For the second time, US News has published separate rankings for part-time JD programs, and USD’s program now ranks 10th, a small drop from a tie for 7th last year. US News has changed its methodology for part-time rankings in the current version, as they are now “based on a 5.0-scale peer assessment survey, median LSAT scores and median undergraduate grade-point average for fall 2009 entering part-time students, and an exclusive part-time J.D. curriculum index that measures the extent to which a law school offers a rich part-time program to its students.” Georgetown University still has by far the best part-time program in the country, but USD Law continues to have the best program West of the Mississippi. USD Law remains in the Top 50 for school diversity, with an Asian American proportion of 17%. Also, USD has the 6th-best tax law program in the country, as ranked by faculty who teach in the field.
Congrats to the faculty, staff, and students at my alma mater, and continued thanks to Dean Cole, who has made a significant effort to address the criticism associated with our drop to 82nd in the rankings, two years ago. Last year, I hoped that we would be well into the 50s this year, so with a bit of continued luck, we could find ourselves as a Tier 1 school in the not too distant future.
As I mentioned, here are the pics of the new 2011 rankings. Our San Diego counterparts, California Western and Thomas Jefferson, remain in Tier 4. I will post an update of the big gainers and losers from last year after I have more time to analyze the rankings. However, here is how California schools faired: Stanford is 3rd (no change), Berkeley is 7th (from 6th), UCLA is 15th (NC), USC is 18th (NC), Davis is 28th (35th), Hastings is 42nd (39th), Pepperdine is 52nd (55th), Loyola is 56th (71st), Santa Clara is 93rd (85th), and USF is 98th (NC). New to this year’s rankings is McGeorge (98th), and a big congratulations should go to Chapman University, now ranked 93rd, and perhaps ranked in the Top 100 for the first time in the school’s history (but I’d have to verify that.)
Out of the California schools, the biggest gainer was Loyola, which jumped 15 spots, into a tie with USD, and the biggest drop was Santa Clara, down 8 spots. More congratulations should go to Pepperdine, and even though they only gained 3 spots, they are now just 1 overall score point away from Tier 1 status. Similarly, USD Law is 3 overall score points away from the Top 50. USD continues to have a high peer assessment score (2.9 and the highest of any of the Tier 2 schools.)
Update: After reviewing last year’s rankings, here are the biggest movers. Biggest gains go to George Washington (20th from 28th), UC Davis (28th from 35th), Georgia (28th from 35th), Wisconsin-Madison (28th from 35th), Arizona State (38th from 55th), Colorado-Boulder (38th from 45th), Florida (47th from 51st, tier change), Miami (60th from 71st), New Mexico (67th from 77th), St. John’s (72nd from 87th), Loyola-Chicago (78th from 87th), and Hofstra (86th from 100th). There are 7 new additions to Tier 2, including Syracuse University at 86th and the University of Hawaii-Manoa, which gets the award for biggest gainer and is 72nd after not being ranked!
Biggest losses go to Alabama (38th from 30th), Yeshiva (52nd from 49th, tier change), Kentucky (64th from 55th), Seattle (86th from 77th), Richmond (86th from 77th), Santa Clara (93rd from 85th), Missouri (93rd from 65th), and Depaul (98th from 85th). Clearly the biggest dropper was the University of Missouri. Schools that dropped from Tier 2 are Buffalo-SUNY, Marquette, and South Carolina.
A quick glance at the top of the part-time rankings shows that the new methodology had a significant impact on the rankings of a few schools. These would be Yeshiva (4th from 18th), Houston (10th from 18th), Rutgers-Camden (15th from 28th), Santa Clara (16th from 25th), Denver (18th from 9th), Seattle (20th from 12th), and by far the biggest change was the gain made by SMU, moving to 13th all the way from 46th. Not sure how that happened, but I’m sure they’re particularly happy down there in Texas.