October 25, 2010
U.S. News Rankings Info and Law School Applications Are Up
I was wandering around the NALP (The Association for Legal Career Professionals) when I came across this interesting fact about the U.S. News Law School Rankings: 40% of a school's score in the latest survey was determined by the 646 people who responded to the reputational survey. The opinions of faculty account for 25% while that of lawyers and judges account for 15%. Somehow I had the impression that there would be a lot more respondents than that. The article from the NALP Bulletin doesn't say how many surveys were sent out, so the raw number by itself doesn't have a context. Nonetheless, the point is made that 40% of a school's score was determined by less that 1/20th of one percent of all the lawyers in the country. I guess all those glossy law school promotional pieces are sent to the wrong people.
The article containing this information actually had a different point. It concerns an upcoming change to the methodology calculating the score for employment. Schools report two employment statistics, one at graduation (worth 4% of a score) and one at 9 months past graduation (14% of score). 74 schools reported the latter figure, but not the former. U.S. News takes the 9 month figure and reduces it by 30% for its calculations. The lack of reporting suggests that a 30% reduction in the 9 month figure is actually better than the unreported statistic of employment at graduation. No more. The specific change in methodology to counter this is not detailed, but U.S. News will change how it uses these statistics in calculating a score.
While we're on the subject of employment at graduation and beyond, there was a recent article on the National Law Journal web site that suggests the grim news for law graduates hasn't stopped law school applications from reaching an all time high last year. A survey of prospective law students suggests that the trend isn't about to abate. To that person at Boston College who wants their money back, someone is ready to take your place. I don't know why, but there is. [MG]