Sunday, April 17, 2005
The National Law Journal has an article about some of the fall-out from this year's U.S. News and World Report rankings. The article states,
The rankings, have become "the 800-pound gorilla of legal education," according to Jeffrey Stake, a law professor at Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington. . . . Concern that the rankings are prompting law schools to change their operations in hopes of increasing their scores, all to the detriment of legal education, informed the program. "There are incentives being created out there that are not good for law students," Stake said. His school came in 36th this year, up four spots.
U.S. News & World Report is aware that "some of the schools have a numbers game," said Robert Morse, director of data research for the publication. He said that it has modified its methodology in some ways to help alleviate the problem and may continue to do so.
This year, for example, the magazine changed the way it measures each school's Law School Admission Test (LSAT) numbers because of concerns that schools were not reporting the figures accurately, Morse said. Those changes have stirred controversy of their own, with some saying they now create a disadvantage for minorities.
The publication receives enormous attention and scrutiny because it has virtually no competition in law school rankings, Morse said.
"It's scary. It's taken on a life of its own," he said.
I can definitely agree with that last statement. [bm]