The new US News and World Report Law School rankings are out. So, what's new? As far as the top schools are concerned, not much:
7. Michigan(+2), Penn
9. Berkeley (-2), UVA (+1)
12. Northwestern (-1)
14. Georgetown, Texas (+1)
So, congrats Texas, yawn everyone else.
But, as many people were anticipating, the real change was going to be in the reporting. US News has changed how employment statistics are calculated:
This year, we modified how we compute the employment rates used in the law school rankings. In the past, new J.D.s counted as employed at graduation and at nine months out if they were working full or part time in a legal or non-legal job or pursuing additional graduate education; so did 25 percent of those whose status was "unknown." Now, the rates are figured solely based on the number of grads working full or part time in a legal or non-legal job divided by the total number of J.D. graduates. Also, those who are not seeking employment are now counted in the calculation as part of the total number of graduates; previously, they were excluded.
US News has also decided to expand their rankings beyond the top 100, to include 75% of schools:
In response to interest from both readers and institutions in knowing where more law schools sit, we have extended the list of numerically ranked institutions from the top 100 to the top three-quarters of the schools. The remaining schools are listed alphabetically as the second tier. In addition, we are publishing our first ranking of law schools by hiring partners and recruiters who work at law firms that were part of the 2010 Best Law Firms rankings produced by U.S. News and the publication Best Lawyers. (Emphasis added.)
Previously the top 100 were considered Tier I and II (Tier II being an unofficial status given to 51-100, not actually granted by US News). But, under the new rules, what? WHAT? No tier three?