If Imitation is Flattery, Thanks Super Lawyers!

Super Lawyers released its first law school rankings this week with a methodology taken straight from the Lawdragon playbook.

When Lawdragon released its first law school ranking in 2007, http://www.lawdragon.com/index.php/lawdragon/fullstory/law_school_update/, we came up with a new twist on the controversial formula used by U.S. News & World Report. Rather than give points for number of library volumes or the vague ‘reputation’ criteria, we tallied the law schools attended by the members of our annual Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America. It’s a fresh, practice-oriented approach that looks at the producers of leading practitioners, corporate counsel and judges.

Both Above the Law http://abovethelaw.com/2009/11/super_law_school_rankings.php and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog offered their take on the Super Lawyers Law School ranking. http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2009/11/16/harvard-tops-first-ever-super-lawyers-ranking-of-law-schools/ While both questioned the need for another law school ranking, we’d like to note that after a decade or so of discussing the U.S. News & World Report rankings with practitioners, judges and academicians nationwide, it’s clear that it is considered at worst a flawed system and at best one in sore need of alternatives.

Here is the link to the Super Lawyers Law Schools http://www.superlawyers.com/toplists/lawschools/united-states/2009/.

While we have our differences with Super Lawyers’ overall methodology and approach to selecting its list of lawyers, the resulting law school list is quite similar to Lawdragon’s – a distinct reflection of schools producing top practitioners.

We compared the top 30 law schools for Lawdragon and Super Lawyers and found only four differences.

Lawdragon includes: University of Southern California http://lawweb.usc.edu/, St. John’s http://www.stjohns.edu/academics/graduate/law, Tulane http://www.law.tulane.edu/index.aspx and University of Houston http://www.law.uh.edu/. Super Lawyers includes: University of Minnesota http://www.law.umn.edu/, University of Wisconsin http://law.wisc.edu/, Temple (link currently down) and University of North Carolina http://www.law.unc.edu/. Many of the discrepancies in the lists are based on Super Lawyers’ inclusion of 5 percent of lawyers from most U.S. jurisdictions compared to Lawdragon’s inclusion of just 500 lawyers and judges nationwide. Super Lawyers is also based in Minnesota, while Lawdragon is based in California and New York.

Sure to add fuel to the fire over the law school ranking debate, the much-maligned U.S. News’ 2009 rankings has 10 schools in its top 30 not included in either Lawdragon or Super Lawyers: Washington University in St. Louis http://law.wustl.edu/, Emory University http://www.law.emory.edu/, Indiana University – Bloomington (Maurer) http://www.law.indiana.edu/, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign http://www.law.illinois.edu/prospective-students/ , Notre Dame http://law.nd.edu/, University of Iowa http://www.law.uiowa.edu/, College of William and Maryhttp://law.wm.edu/?svr=www, University of Alabama http://www.law.ua.edu/, University of Washington http://www.law.washington.edu/ and Washington and Lee University http://law.wlu.edu/. http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/rankings  (US News has five schools tied at 30, hence the hefty number.)

Here are the 21 schools on the top 30 lists of all three. They are listed in Lawdragon order:

1. Harvard http://www.law.harvard.edu/index.html

2. Yale http://www.law.yale.edu/

3. Columbia http://www.law.columbia.edu/

4. New York University http://www.law.nyu.edu/index.htm

5. University of Texas http://www.utexas.edu/law/

6. Georgetown http://www.law.georgetown.edu/

7. University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall http://www.law.berkeley.edu/

8. University of Chicago http://www.law.uchicago.edu/

9. University of Virginia http://www.law.virginia.edu/html/index.htm

10. University of Michigan http://www.law.umich.edu/Pages/default.aspx

11. UCLA http://www.law.ucla.edu/home/Default.aspx

12. University of Pennsylvania http://www.law.upenn.edu/

13. Stanford http://www.law.stanford.edu/

14. Northwestern http://www.law.northwestern.edu/

15. George Washington University http://www.law.gwu.edu/Pages/Default.aspx

16. Duke http://www.law.duke.edu/

17. Fordham http://law.fordham.edu/

18. Boston University http://www.bu.edu/law/

19. Vanderbilt http://law.vanderbilt.edu/index.aspx

20. Boston College http://www.bc.edu/schools/law/home.html

21. Cornell http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/

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