Monday, July 2, 2012

Just Say No To the U.S. News Law School Rankings

A few days ago, one of my co-bloggers discussed a study, which concluded a law school's U.S. News rank was the most important reason a student chooses a law school.  It stated, "Thirty-two percent of the 645 responses to the survey said that a law school’s ranking was most important when determining which school to attend."  I find this to be very disappointing.   As I demonstrated in a post a couple of weeks ago, U.S. News has absolutely no value in helping students select a law school.  There have also been many other studies that strongly criticized U.S. News, particularly one by Brian Leiter.  To give a couple of highlights from my previous post: employment rates, which constitue 18% of the total score, are based on full-time and part-time jobs and legal and nonlegal jobs.  Since nonlegal jobs are included in the rates, 18% of the total score is meaningless.   Similarly, the assessment score by lawyers/judges constitutes 15% of the score.  First, only about 12% of those surveyed responded, which calls this category into question.   More importantly, I question how these legal professionals can have knowledge of the approximately 200 law schools in this country.   In sum, most of the U.S. News criteria are wortheless or questionable, making the rankings wortheless. 

It is time to just say no to the U.S. News Law School Rankings.  This is most important for law students who make their law school selection in large part based on U.S. News.  They should ignore U.S. News completely.  I also urge the editors at Law Schooled to tell their law student readers the truth about the value of U.S. News.

It is also time for law schools to just say no to U.S. News.  They should stop spending scarce resources on things that only raise their rank in U.S. News.  They should also not participate in the rating process; they should stop giving U.S. News the information that is necessary for the rankings.  Law professors should also stop returning the rating forms, both for the general and speciality rankings.  Finally, judges and attorneys should place their rating forms in the trash.

We can break the vicious cycle of the U.S. News Rankings.

(Scott Fruehwald) 

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