By Kevin O'Keefe

Law schools being ranked by blogs

Blogs are now ranking law schools per a story from this morning’s Wall Street Journal. And prospective students are finding the information in such blogs more valuable than traditional ranking sources such as U.S. News.

Last year, a blogger and Notre Dame Law School graduate who goes by the name ‘law firm addict’ began trolling message boards frequented by law students. The blogger invited students to share figures on school representation in law firms’ summer-associate programs (one finding: Columbia is the perennial winner in New York), as well as where federal appeals clerks went to school. (This year’s winner is Stanford by number of clerks as a percentage of its class.) The information is posted on lawfirmaddict.blogspot.com and lawclerkaddict.blogspot.com.

The blogs ‘tell you more useful information…than the percent-employed-after-graduation numbers that schools report to U.S. News,’ says William Rothwell, a third-year student at the University of Chicago Law School. Mr. Rothwell, who contributed figures made available by his school to the clerkship blog, says he trusts the law-firm blog because it has been accurate about summer associates at two offices where he has worked.

Brian Leiter, a University of Texas-Austin law professor, posts lists ranging from Supreme Court clerkship placement (the University of Virginia outperforms its U.S. News ranking) to scholarly reputation (outperformers versus U.S. News include the University of Southern California). In 2005 he created his own ad-suppored site, leiterrankings.com……Richard Posner, a federal appeals court judge, wrote in a 2005 paper that U.S. News does a ‘pretty good job of grouping law schools by tier,’ but that alternative rankings could help differentiate them further. Using LSAT data and numerous sets of rankings, Judge Posner created a ‘composite’ ranking in which Colorado and Fordham made the biggest gains over their U.S. News rank.

Just another example of bloggers with first hand expertise being a more valuable source of information than long standing traditional sources. As people become more comfortable with alternative sources of information you can expect blogs to provide even more valuable information.

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Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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