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July 21, 2013

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Jim Milles

At University at Buffalo the requirement is that the reviewers be professors at AAU (Association of American Universities) law schools.

Orin Kerr

I haven't heard of a school requiring external letters from only higher-ranked schools. I think it is understood that there is only a modest correlation between a scholar's reputation in the field and the U.S. News ranking of the school where that scholar teaches.

Jacqueline Lipton

I may have mis-remembered or mis-heard, and perhaps it was only people saying that they generally look for references from higher ranked schools but there was no correlation with actual written rules/by-laws.

anecdata

At my (solidly T1) institution, there's no absolute requirement, but a strong expectation that external letters should come from higher-ranked schools unless the reviewer is a superstar. The rationale is that such reviewers make tenure easier to sell to the main university.

MS

Most letters have some version of, "This person would qualify for tenure at my institution," and that language is more meaningful coming from a higher ranked school. I also agree that University Administrations strongly prefer letters from peer institutions since that is their norm outside of the law school.

Anon

Sounds like elitist rubbish to me. Consistent research articles identifying the US News rankings for law as not much more than a commercial gimmick, and still the "T-1" (now they've given it nick-name?) want to stake their careers on it. Really? Most young people these days cannot afford the "T-1" schools, so what does that say about all this? Wealth begets status. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Speak up people.

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