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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The So-Called Top 14

allow me to be (one of?) the first UTexas-associated faculty member(s) to say "no cheers" to the today's US News ranking bombshell regarding my illustrious school on the Third Coast. So-called Top 14 club is meaningless designation, as Brian Leiter noted a few years back. It is no less meaningless for 2012 as for years past. And only responsible way to approach this rankings sillingness is to say so -- whether your law school moves up or down. So I've said it.

Posted by dan rodriguez on March 15, 2011 at 01:12 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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"I COME NOT TO PRAISE UT's NEW TOP 14 RANKING!!!!, i come to bury it"? is that the idea?

Posted by: rankings | Mar 17, 2011 7:32:08 PM

if I can prompt a comment post with the remarkable sentence fragment "the nice folks at autoadmit," my mission is accomplished!

Posted by: dan rodriguez | Mar 17, 2011 4:07:34 PM

I agree. There are lots of people that find value in the rankings, though for many of the reasons that make us cringe. I wrote about this at http://literarytable.com/2011/03/15/the-elephant-in-the-room-u-s-news-law-school-rankings/

Posted by: Warren Emerson | Mar 17, 2011 2:19:33 PM

The nice folks at autoadmit have already revised it to the top 13, don't worry.

Posted by: Da Biz | Mar 16, 2011 7:02:58 PM

"And only responsible way to approach this rankings sillingness is to say so -- whether your law school moves up or down. So I've said it."

The other responsible way to approach the matter is to ignore it completely, which I take to be Brian's preferred approach. That ignores the cake-and-eat-it-too situation.

Posted by: Ani | Mar 16, 2011 12:09:53 PM

And, furthermore, to whom does the ranking belong? Current students shelling out money to attend UT, and alums sitting on piles of loan debt in a down economy, might desire to attach a substantial amount of meaning to these rankings.

Posted by: but | Mar 15, 2011 9:13:02 PM

But this post merely draws further attention to the increasing ranking of UT and thus further advances the impact of these rankings.

Posted by: but | Mar 15, 2011 9:10:40 PM

normative, naturally
(and, to Brian, preaching to the choir on the topic mentioned)

Posted by: dan rodriguez | Mar 15, 2011 2:33:32 PM

I would assume Dan's point (similar to mine) is that it does not in fact signify any actual institutional development or achievement, i.e., it doesn't mean that UT now offers a better legal education or places better in Los Angeles or New York, or has a better law and philosophy program than last year (though they could do something about that by hiring Kevin Toh--nudge, nudge, Dan). I assume Dan would agree with what I take to be your suggestion, Orin, that some external constituencies will invest the overall ranking with a significance, despite its lack of a real-world referent.

Posted by: Brian | Mar 15, 2011 1:36:51 PM


When you say it is meaningless, are you making a descriptive claim or a normative claim? I can certainly understand the view that it should be meaningless, but you have a harder case to make that it is in fact without meaning to people.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Mar 15, 2011 1:23:26 PM

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