Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Kenneth Lasson has posted an article on SSRN entitled Compelling Orthodoxy: Myth and Mystique in the Marketing of Legal Education. The article mainly concerns the effect of U.S. News rankings on legal scholarship. The core of his theory is:
"For better or worse, 'building the brand' has become not only the primary goal of a law school's strategic identity plan, but inextricably bound up by the annual rankings of U.S. News & World Report."
"The near-obsessive preoccupation with this standard by most law deans and faculties has in turn yielded perhaps the most obtrusive contemporary intervention into legitimate legal scholarship. Whether true or not, the clear perception is that the more prestigious the institution's law review and those in which its faculty publishes, the higher its position in the standings. At least one consequence is that student editors feel strongly inclined to select articles based on the the author's reputation or law-school affiliation, rather than on an article's merits. Similar pressures may drive them to choose the type of highly theoretical but impractical pieces that are held in high regard by many law professors."