Simply Super
New rankings put Michigan Law in second spot

By John Masson, Amicus editor

A new ranking of American law schools finds Michigan Law in second place, trailing only Harvard in the estimation of Super Lawyers magazine.

The ranking system, published last week, reduces the convoluted comparisons used by other ranking systems to a single, eminently practical criterion: the number of graduates who go on to become Super Lawyers. It's a method Super Lawyers publisher Bill White says makes perfect sense.

"In the real world—the world of clients and juries and judges—no one cares about your GPA or LSAT score," both of which factor into ratings schemes like the one used by U.S. News & World Report. "All that matters is how good and ethical a lawyer you are. That’s the focus of Super Lawyers."

Michigan's showing won't surprise people who have tracked the school's placement in several other rankings that now compete with the frequently controversial U.S. News rankings. In 2008, career website Vault.com ranked Michigan Law second from the perspective of its graduates' potential employers, and Princeton Review this year rated Michigan #3 for best career prospects. Additionally, University of Chicago law professor Brian Leiter this year ranked Michigan fifth among schools producing legal academics.

Like other ranking systems, the Super Lawyers version is not without critics. The list came under immediate fire from observers such as Leiter, who noted that the magazine made no effort to account for class size in compiling its numbers. That means that large schools had a built-in advantage over smaller schools such as Yale. In fact, Leiter on Thursday published his own take on the same rankings, based on rounding recent class sizes to the nearest 50.

And where did Michigan place in that list?

At number two. Right behind Harvard.