Saturday, August 29, 2009

OK, Bubba, Where did You go to Law School? Best Quality vs. Best Value is a Hot Topic : How About a Quality of Football Team Correlation?

Jennifer Pohlman at the September 2009 National Jurist has an article on their list of the top 65 "best value" law schools, reporting under the title "Best Bang! for your buck".

Hat tip here to Debra Cassens Weiss at the ABA Journal Law News Now and her article, North Carolina Central Tops List of Best Value Law Schools, citing to Paul L. Caron's TaxProf Blog, where the posting Best Value Law Schools compares the National Jurist "Best Value Rank" with the "US News Rank" of "Best Law Schools" in the nation.

We found it interesting to see that Big 12, SEC and Big 10 schools (traditionally the top college football conferences) dominate the "Best Value" law school rankings, suggesting an unexpected and of course speculative direct correlation between the quality of the football team and the "best value" of the law school ;-)

It is gratifying to this writer - as a strongly biased Husker undergraduate graduate - to see that the University of Nebraska (UNL) law school ranks 3rd in the "Best Value" list, which might just mean that the Cornhuskers very soon may again become a national football force to be reckoned with.

We say this as a "biglaw" Stanford Law School graduate, who also recognizes that there are significant differences between two universities like the University of Nebraska and Stanford - unless of course you are talking women's volleyball, where team talents are comparable, but where the Husker fan base puts the Cardinal to shame.

It is true, of course, that one most keep in mind that top law schools open career doors that generally remain closed to graduates of law schools not having top national reputations - but this is part of a selection process which is based on individual school (and other) performance stretching back to elementary school.

You do the work - and you get the rewards. If you slouch, you have settle for a lower tier.

If school and test performance is thus lower and a person's general track record is not as good as another's - this may say nothing about slumbering talent or intellect - then that person, barring affirmative action or personal connections of some kind, is very unlikely to get into a top tier law school, and that is the way that it should be. Performance is rewarded. Slouching is not.

But this does not prohibit someone from emerging as a star later in life - which happens, more often than one thinks. Adolescents grow up, get married, have children, become responsible, and emerge from the shadow of previous slouching days. Life can be a strong motivator. In the long run, it is not where you went to school, but what you do with your life afterwards, that counts.

Just one thing puzzles us. The North Carolina Central Eagles Division I college football team was 4-7 last year. How is that possible? Can we extrapolate from the quality of the football team that the law school also has a better quality than one might expect?

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