Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Has Anyone Ever Heard of Bowen Law School?

Or Duquesne University for that matter? These schools were ranked in the top 25 law school writing programs by U.S. News and World Report. Really, what is the point of a writing program ranking? We all know that rankings outside of the top 20 law schools are worthless. Creating another ranking is just throwing third tier schools a bone to use in their propaganda to fool more students into believing they attend a school worthy of taking out a $100k loan.

From Arkansas Business:

For the fourth time in six years, the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law was ranked in the top 25 law school writing programs by U.S. News and World Report.

Bowen's legal writing program was ranked No. 22 in this year's report, tied with the University of Michigan, Marquette University, and Duquesne University's writing programs.

In addition to Bowen's standing as one of the top legal writing programs in the country, the school's part-time law school program was ranked No. 38.

"These rankings reinforce our belief that UALR Bowen School students receive a first-rate legal education," said Dean John DiPippa. "We work day-in and day-out to share our values of professionalism, public service, and access to justice with students and the larger legal community."

So why did I hear through the grapevine that several graduates of one of the top ranked law school legal writing programs according USNWR were the worst writers in their office? Unless there is a correlation between where a law school is ranked in this survey and its hiring rate, this particular ranking is worthless to students. Most law schools only offer one or two required legal writing classes. Beyond that required class, it really depends on the individual student's writing ability. It doesn't matter if your school is ranked first or fiftieth in the writing program ranking. Seriously, USNWR needs to stop with this bullshit. A toilet is still a toilet no matter how fancy you try to make it out to be.


  1. My accountant's name is Bowen. I have to ask him if anyone in his family has started a law school lately.

  2. Why do they call it rankings? It seems like they are almost more like advertisements.

    You see if you scored below a 155 on the LSAT, you probably shouldn't go to law school, but now b/c of USNews you can see the LSAT range and convince yourself you can go to any law school that will take your range. Students can be deterred from making the mistake if these LSAT ranges don't show up.

  3. What a joke. These rankings are merely an advertising scheme for the law schools, i.e. "Yes, we are ranked in the third tier, but we have the 2nd best Aboriginal Law program in the country - according to US News. See? You are getting a value at Overpriced Piece of Trash School of Law."

  4. Yes its in my ass

  5. I'm going to have to call bullshit on the, "If you scored below a 155 on the LSAT, you probably shouldn't go to law school" comment.

    I'm a non-traditional law student (meaning when I graduate in three weeks, I'll be 33). Also, by non-traditional I mean that my parents didn't graduate from high-school (so, no, mommy and daddy aren't lawyers). I scored a 153 on the LSAT and it wasn't a reflection, at all, on how well I'd do in law school. Sure, I'm in the middle range, grade-wise, in my class. But, because I'm not socially inept, I've been able to line up a job in my very specialized area of law. I simply went into law school with a mission to practice one type of law, and I never deviated.

    While I don't disagree with the notion that there's a glut of lawyers because law schools are accepting too many students, I see the positive in allowing students into law school (and, the legal profession) that would heretofore not have been accepted because they aren't from privileged backgrounds.

    My greatest hope is that when the bubble bursts, law school's won't go back to their elitist practices. All that "keeping it in the family" crap is completely inconsistent with the moral and ethical ideals that many law schools profess to embrace.

  6. I guess somewhat ironically, although I've never heard of Bowen, I've definitely heard of it's three "equals" in writing U Mich, Marquette, and Duquesne. Though, Marquette more for basketball i guess, and Duquesne I have no idea why but I do and I specifically remember hearing it pronounced ("doo-kane") before seeing it written/spelled.

    Also perhaps ironically, USNews probably does these subcategory rankings specifically in response to all the criticisms about their main rankings overemphasizing things like LSAT averages but not "skills" averages. Eh. I guess damned if you do and damned if you don't?

  7. I must give a measured defense of the rigorous legal writing program. The law school I attended and where I am now employed (which is not third tier) does have one of the very highly ranked legal writing programs. It was the ONLY class I took in law school that, in retrospect, had any relationship to the actual practice of law, particularly with respect to those first few years when you're chained to the desk in the library. I would like to see these programs strengthened and expanded, rather than the current trend of giving more and more curricular space to "Law and ________" and that kind of impractical crapola.

  8. What really makes me LOL is that Drexel, a school that has been in existence for 4 years with and an unemployment rate of 40% is ranked in best legal writing and best health law.




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