Maclean's second annual ranking of Canadian law schools
* indicates a tie
NEXT CHART: Elite firm hiring
[...] This is the second year that Maclean’s has ranked Canada’s law schools, and this year’s methodology follows the same approach as last year—with a few improvements. The goal remains the same: to objectively assess each school against recognized measures of faculty quality and graduate employment quality. Are a law school’s professors significant contributors to the intellectual life of their discipline? Do a law school’s graduates land the most sought-after jobs in government, the private sector and—new this year—academia? Go straight to the rankings [...]
Your mehtodology musty be skewed or faulty. Where does entrance difficulty factor in? UBC is much much much easier of a scholl to get into than UVic. th eoly law school harder to enter than UVic is U of T. How could a school considered second rate (based on who attends) like UBC rank in the top 5 let alone ahead of UVic or Dalhousie?
Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s ranking is by far more comprehensive and meticulous than this one, though kudos to Macleans for (finally!) having a law school ranking. I remember checking the Macleans magazine and always wondered why they ranked med school but never law school.
Comparison with the other publication aside, the (limited) criteria Macleans used are actually very good indicators of how well the school is doing. Although, for “elite firm hiring” I wonder if Macleans has simply used the number of hires or did they actually use number of hires based on number of applications. The latter is a much better indication, obviously. I believe if the latter was used, Victoria and Dalhousie will rank even higher.
Why did you not include McGill in the list of civil law schools? All McGill grads receive both a civil and a common law degree!
your rankings are crap, stop doing them.
I agree with “Montrealais”.
All McGill graduates are trained in the civil law and receive a degree in the civil law (and, additionally, degree in the common law). A great many McGill graduates then go on to complete the Quebec bar and to practice as civilian lawyers.
Indeed, it was not so long ago that the civil law degree was the only one available at McGill. It is strange indeed not to see McGill listed as a civilian school — nor, worse, to see any explanation as to why it does not appear there.
“Although, for “elite firm hiring” I wonder if Macleans has simply used the number of hires or did they actually use number of hires based on number of applications. The latter is a much better indication, obviously.”
Well said. same goes for the clerkships. If, for example, a school has a class where no one (or very few) even applies to a SC clerkship why should that factor in how good the school is? I am assuming here that the less the people apply, the less likely that school will be represented.
and for elite firms; i imagine a school like Toronto (where many students are interested in it) versus a school like Windsor (where social justice is a stronger theme)will have more students vying for big law. Some schools may attract different people who are interested in things other than elite law firms.
these rankings seem to punish those schools who have student bodies interested in things other than elite firms and SC Clerkships….
ah well, my school is one of ‘best’ law schools in Canada.
which school is osgoode tied with?
To answer bullrun’s question… Osgoode is tied with all of them.
macleans had, for one year, a law school ranking in the 1990s. it conveniently deleted it from its database after last year’s ranking came out
Their own statistics speak to the realiability of these rankings themselves. I doubt that there was such a dramatic shift in the quality of education between schools from last year to this year, with some school jumping as much as 5 spots.
Further to James’ comment, of course Ottawa ranked highly (3rd) in that SCC clerkships because that’s where the study body already lives. Surely that stat alone cannot put that school above the U. of A. or Queens which ranked higher in every other category but one!
As others have said, this methodology focuses on very narrow, albeit respected, indicators of success for individual lawyers in Canadian society. It does a disservice to any notion of intelligent discussion to call schools the “best” institutions based on significantly selfish indicators of individual success. Many of us have parents or siblings who are not in similarly high-powered fields who we would not describe as less then impressive human beings. I went to school both in the US and Ottawa (which dropped this year) and am now in a very traditional corporate field. However, I realize I am not someone helping everyday ordinary Canadians, the poor, the abused, the victimized. I am in no way the “best” by any moral, ethical, or civilized standard if I work at a huge firm. While I have no problems ranking institutions up and down, it would be nice if reasonable law students opposed making theses measures of individual success reflect too greatly on schools as a whole, as it inherently penalizes schools who produce graduates with a wider range of career interests, essentially anything other then big firm corporate law. At least referring to these rankings as “Student Market Competitiveness” to reflect the true nature of what is being measured would be a start.
While valuing Elite Firm Hiring at %20 is commendable and appropriate, valuing Faculty Journal Citations at %50 seems greatly disproportionate. As someone who held a managing position with a peer-reviewed Canadian Law Review I know how important it is to differentiate between peer-reviewed journals publishing only original material, the gold standard for any professional field, and other less demanding publications. Seasoned faculty can game the system by submitting multiple similar manuscripts written over a short period of time to multiple non-peer reviewed journals that do not demand exclusive submissions, ensuring success to some degree. This is in contrast to faculty who concentrate on only original and substantial research and then move on to a new research perspective in the same general field. Excluding non peer-reviewed, non-exclusive journals is essential to giving some meaning to the Faculty Journal Citations category, and reducing its value to at most %30 is essential to maintain any precision with these ratings.
elite firm, SC clerkship and faculty citations to decide how good a law school is? what happens when you have a student body not concerned with big law or SC clerkships…
I think the ratings are pretty much right, as long as you accept that the difference between #3 and #15 is pretty thin and mostly arbitrary.
Another points on SCC clerkships is that they are dominated by McGill (students are bilingual, a requirement for a clerkship), Ottawa (the court is in that city) and UofT, well because its UofT.
these rankings are very arbitrary and the methodology is out of whack.
In the United States, where there is truly a tiered university system, it makes some sense to rank the professional schools. You want the best students to have the best education.
In Canada, all of the law schools are recognized by the Canadian Bar Association, graduates from all law schools pass the bar and go on to do great things. I appreciate that Macleans wants to sell magazines, but it does a disservice to every law school. Even the “top ranked” law schools lose by arbitrarily getting those with the highest LSAT scores, not necessarily the best lawyers. Every person who is a lawyer in Canada knows or should know this, so why is this a discussion?
in response to “top five”, there is a tiered system in canada: toronto and the rest.
here’s why: spending on students is tremendously skewed towards this one school. there was talk about fundraising at fourth-placed ubc. even with optimistic projections, in five years ubc law students still get funding only ten times less, per student, than toronto law students. ten times!
“Their own statistics speak to the realiability of these rankings themselves. I doubt that there was such a dramatic shift in the quality of education between schools from last year to this year, with some school jumping as much as 5 spots.”
Maybe they are all so close that one moving a little but puts it above many other ones?
This methodology presupposes with no justification that the quality of a law school can be assessed by the number of grads hired by “elite” law firms, SCC clerkships and journal citations. Using real criteria that corrolates with the quality of a law school, UNB Law would find its rightful place near the top of this list.
I think these ratings are good, but it also depends on individual experience. So even though some schools maybe at the “top of the list”, doesn’t mean that someone that went there actually thought it was good. I think that the tuition on most of these schools are ridiculous, especially University of Toronto. My likings of UofT are not that high, mainly because of their “cocky” reputation, but nevertheless, these ratings are ok. Also, I would be nice if some of the schools offered a joint Canadian/American degree, which would give more opportunities (schools like Windsor and Ottawa). I would though like to see what kind of ratings are given for 2009.
Response to Sam Paellon.
“Entrance difficulty” factors in through the 50% of the rating that is based on student and graduate quality. Also, the reason a school which is easier to get into, (UBC), can be rated higher than a school which is harder to get into, (UVic), is due simply to size. A smaller proportion of applicants can be granted access to one of Canada’s smallest law schools, than one of its largest. This does not affect the quality of education offered at these institutions, as is demonstrated by their respective ranks. The ability of a small school to set their LSAT and GPA cut offs a percentage point or 2 above that of a larger school does not affect their performance on the measures of student and graduate quality as these are not, *shock, awe*, perfect measures of success during law school or a legal career.