Let’s Talk Law School Rankings
I hate the US News and World Report law school rankings. That’s hardly a secret. It’s not the methodology issues that bug me. Rather, it’s the over-reliance many law school applicants place on the rankings when choosing between offers from law schools.
I loved, after the rankings were released last week, that one of my clients sent me an email that said, “You are so right about the rankings being bogus.” Now, obviously, there is a difference between a top 5 school and a Top 100 school, and I can call the rankings “bogus” without denying there is some truth regarding the quality of the education offered and the job propects faced by graduates. However, the groupings are more valuable than the specific rank. Obviously, if the rankings didn’t change from year to year, USNWR wouldn’t sell any magazines (tragic, really…). No one is really choosing between NYU and NYLS or Georgetown and Catholic. The choice you are faced with is much more subtle than that and a one or two or even ten point drop should not unduly influence your decision about which law school to attend. This is especially true if you fail to understand the reason the ranking changed.
If you’re a new reader of my blog, I recommend you learn more about my perspective on the US News and World Report law school rankings by reading these posts:
An additional thought:
Part-time programs now count. That means that schools will part time programs were significantly disadvantaged by the new calculations. Did George Washington Universitybecome less of a law school in the last 12 months? Absolutely not. It’s sad that the Dean felt compelled to write to all who sent in a deposit to explain how the part time LSAT and GPA stats are the reason for the drop in ranking. Anyone who suddenly decides not to attend GWU for this reason is making a big mistake.
Because Brian Leiter is right about the rankings, I’m joining his fan club by not linking to or re-publishing the new 2010 Law School Ranking results here. If you want to know what a law professor thinks is important in ranking law schools, see Professor Leiter’s results here.
And yes, I’m taking questions.
And, read my blog post tomorrow for an exciting announcement!