US News & World Reports Law School Rankings came out last week and my Alma Mater Hofstra University School of Law just jumped Fourteen (14)points!
Just two years ago, Hofstra did not even qualify as a tier 1 school. Last year it squeaked in at number 99 but this year it establishes itself as a school on the rise.
As an Alum I am of course very proud of both the faculty and staff as well as the students who made this happen. I am not sure of the efficacy of a law school ranking system to begin with, but if you are going to have one, then I guess it is better to be in the top tier than not.
My fear is that the areas that the USNWR survey thinks are important may become over pronounced and take from the school the things that make it relevant to its students.
For example, Hofstra used to bring in a lot of returning students and students that had little or no intention of practicing law once they got their degrees. That number has been reduced to a large extent because of the shear cost of getting a degree these days. Those returning students however provided a real lesson in perseverance in their younger classmates. Their real life lessons made our classes more "interesting" and frankly less obtuse. If this were to be diminished in search of higher ranked applicants and at the expense of the small class sizes, then I would think that while the ranking would be better, the educational experience would be far lessened.
I am sure that the clinic program and trial program (which US News does not rank highly but whose students regularly win trial competitions against those schools that are well rated in these areas) remain a vital part of the curricular and will as the school's reputation grows become a source of US News pride as well.
For those of you who are thinking about law school, I highly recommend Hofstra School of law. Its proximity to both the hub of Long Island (Nassau County) legal practice and that of NYC, makes it an attractive place to go to school and increases the chance of finding a job Tenfold.