Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Over at The Faculty Lounge, Al Brophy asks, "Is US News Still Relevant?". One thing that caught my eye in the new rankings is that far fewer opinion survey recipients seem to be responding. Over the past decade, an average of 67% of the academics receiving the US News survey filled it out. This year, that number was down to 58%. Among judges and lawyers, the average response rate over that time period has been 22%. Several years ago, US News started using two years of the judge/lawyer responses each time, probably in recognition of the low response rate. This year, US News did not even publish that response rate. And, they moved to a 3-year average. This strongly suggests that the response rate dropped significantly.
What does it mean that more people than ever are throwing out the US News survey? My guess is that the ongoing crisis in legal education makes it easier to recognize that the annual horse race-like results of the rankings are far less important than lots of other things going on in legal education.