Monday, March 18, 2013

Can Law Schools Raise Their “Academic Reputation Score” in the U.S. News Rankings?

According to one detailed study, the general answer is no.  In a study entitled   “A Longitudinal Analysis of the U.S. News Law School Academic Reputation Scores Between 1998 and 2012,” Professor Robert L. Jones concludes:      

In light of the pivotal role the U.S. News rankings have come to play in American legal

education today, the U.S. News academic reputation scores have taken on increased importance.

Unfortunately for those faculty and administrators who hope to influence their institution’s

academic reputation scores, the analysis of the past fifteen years has demonstrated that law

schools can hope for relatively little improvement to their scores. Only ten law schools have

been able to improve their academic reputation scores by more than .2 points in the last fifteen

years. Only twenty five schools out of 172 were able to improve their scores by more than .1

over the same period. In light of how many resources were devoted during this period to the

improvement of academic reputation scores, there is a cautionary quality to such statistics.

The obvious question is how valid are these rankings in the first place.


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