Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The U.S. News and World Report's Ranking System Effect On Law Schools

Research Documents Effect of U.S. News Ranking on Law Schools is an interesting December 9, 2009 New York Law Journal article (registration required). It documents something we all know. The U.S. News and World Reports Law School ranking system effects law schools. As the article states:

The rankings have become a routine consideration in law school decision-making, according to the report, and pressure to move up in the rankings influences the way law schools distribute their resources.

The study's conclusion that law schools have several ways of gaming the system likely will not surprise the many critics who have charged that the rankings are easily manipulated and are harmful to the educational mission of law schools. Most of the interviewed administrators said the rankings hurt law schools, but some believed they add transparency and accountability to legal education. The magazine bases its rankings on reputation, selectivity, placement success and faculty resources.

The researchers considered ways in which that pressure has changed the role of law school deans, admissions officers, career services personnel and faculty.

Administrators consistently reported they have allocated more money toward merit-based scholarships in order to attract students with high LSAT scores, a factor that accounts for half of a school's selectivity score. That leaves less money for need-based scholarships, which in turn can hurt student body diversity because applicants from lower income groups tend to have lower scorer LSAT scores, the researchers found.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Law Schools, Rankings | Permalink


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