Ranking: Law v. Undergrad

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is the Murray Shusterman Professor of Transactional and Business Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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13 Responses

  1. Confused says:

    Did you adjust for the larger number of undergraduate schools?

  2. Dan Cole says:

    I’m not sure I follow the underlying assumption that law school rankings and undergrad rankings should basically mirror one another. Is there a reason for such an assumption? And what would it mean for the “rubber band” to snap?

  3. Dave Hoffman says:

    Confused: Sorry that you are! I thought I was clear that I didn’t adjust for the larger number of undergraduate ranked schools — indeed, that’s what I meant by “skew”. Paul Caron in 2007 turned the ranks into percentages, which you could easily do.

    Dan: I don’t know why you’d think I assume they should basically mirror each other. But given that law ranking are determined in part by academic reputation, which is in turn determined in part by undergraduate brand (for better or worse), a large difference in rank would tend I think to exert pressure on the law scores. “Headwind”, as Caron describes, for schools that have a “better” law rank than undergrad; “Tailwind” for schools that don’t.

  4. Confused has a point. Because the undergraduate list is longer than the law school list, law schools will tend to have better ranks than their affiliated undergraduate programs. But, and this is critical, the differences due to length of list alone are not uniform across the scale. Lower-ranked schools will tend to have larger differences because both scales are anchored at 1 at the upper end and then descend at different proportional rates. If you’re gong to present only one set of data — differences in absolute ranks or differences in percentages — it should be percentages. Differences in absolute ranks are meaningless.

  5. Dave Hoffman says:

    Not meaningless to university and law school administrators, or in reputation effects. But nothing you say is inconsistent with my post, I think.

  6. Dave, I disagree. You called the results of your comparison “illuminating.” They’re not.

    Here’s another way to do the comparison that would have been more useful. Drop every school that is not “present on both lists.” Now you have two lists of equal length. Compare schools’ ranks on these revised, shorter lists. That’s apples-to-apples, unlike your charts.

  7. Dave Hoffman says:

    I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I put up some new charts, which I’m sure won’t satisfy you!

  8. An Albanian says:

    Albany Law School is a free-standing law school. It’s not affiliated with SUNY-Albany.

  9. Dave Hoffman says:


    Thanks – my screw up. I’ll leave up the figures since it’d be confusing to delete them. But folks should mentally delete the school from the list.

  10. Thanks, Dave. I’ll pronounce myself satisfied, especially given that very nice shade of blue you used.

  11. JustinB says:

    Albany Law School is loosely affiliated with Union College, #41 National Liberal Arts College, which would probably be a basis for comparison. http://www.union.edu/academic/beyond/after/union-university/

  12. Steve M says:

    What exactly is the point of this?

  13. dave hoffman says:

    Steve M: Would driving traffic to the blog be an acceptable answer?