NOTE: An updated version of this article for the new 2012-13 rankings is available here.
It’s a happy day in Tempe… Arizona State jumped a phenomenal 17 spots, from #55 to #38, to move into the ranks of the top 50 law schools (Tier 1); Arizona State now ranks as the best law school in Arizona, beating out the University of Arizona (#42). After taking a drubbing (drop to #28) last year, George Washington moved back up to #20 this year. Also posting impressive gains within the Tier 1 were UC-Davis (#28), Georgia (#28), Wisconsin (#28), and Colorado (#35).
In Tier 2 action, Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and St. John’s in New York each jumped 15 places in the rankings, while Hofstra jumped 14 places and New Mexico jumped 10 spots. Joining the Tier 2 (or rejoining the Tier 2 after a hiatus, as the case may be) are Hawai’i (#72), Syracuse (#86), Chapman (#93), Nebraska (#93), West Virginia (#93), Pacific (#98), and William Mitchell (#98).
Not all schools fared so well. The biggest loser was the University of Missouri at Columbia, which dropped 28 places from #65 to #93. Within the top 14 law schools, NYU, Berkeley, Duke, and Northwestern each slipped a spot in the rankings. Within the Tier 1 schools, Indiana dropped four spots, rekindling the debate as to whether their #23 ranking last year was just a fluke. Fordham also slipped four spots, although it still easily retained its status as the third-best law school in New York City. Alabama’s free-iTunes-gift-card-if-you-apply scheme must not have worked out as well during the last admissions cycle as they fell eight places to #38. Maryland’s ranking dipped five spots to #48, and Kentucky dropped nine places to #64.
And a few schools lost their coveted status as a Top 100 law school: Buffalo (SUNY), Marquette, South Carolina, St. Louis, Louisville, Gonzaga, and Maine.
Until USNWR confirms, take it with a grain of salt. That said, spot-checking LSAT and GPA scores would suggest that it’s authentic; the fact that Nebraska and Hawaii return to the Tier 2 after reporting issues last year and that all schools that just received full accreditation are now ranked (as Tier 4 schools) lends further credibility. The only defect I found that weighs against the leak being the real thing is that UC-Irvine isn’t included in the disclaimer listing provisionally-accredited schools, but this could well be an deliberate decision on USNWR’s part, perhaps because UC-Irvine is only in its second year of existence and hasn’t been formally provisionally accredited. USNWR has confirmed the rankings.
As a reminder, Version 3.0 of Law School Predictor launches June 22, 2010 and will include the new 2011 rankings and data. You can continue to find Law School Predictor on two of your favorite social-networking websites: Facebook and Twitter. Become a fan of the Facebook Page or follow LSP on Twitter to get the latest updates, and to show your support. For applicants who are just beginning to explore and research the law school application process, I highly recommend visiting Top-Law-Schools.com and the TLS forums.