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Author Topic: U.S. News & World Report may expand their numerical rankings of law schools to i  (Read 3977 times)


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This article is great and gives some real insight into how the rankings work it is on the LSAC website and I think it gives a great breakdown of the pros and cons of the rankings. The really sad thing discussed in the article is how much money schools are spending to boost their rankings. There are named schools as Morten said. Go to Harvard, UCLA, Stanford, Yale, Michigan, NYU, University of Chicago etc if you have the option. Those are top top schools and nobody needed U.S. News to tell us that. I cannot see anyone caring about a school being tier 3 opposed to tier 4. Now they are going to tier 5, which is just absurd. I simply cannot see any hiring firm saying well Florida International was Tier 3 last year and therefore we should hire the FIU grad over the Southwestern Grad. The people really lose about because of this essentially bogus system are the students, professors, and the legal profession in general. Schools become obsessed with satisfying this unregulated for profit magazine instead of teaching students the law. They will jump through hoops to create jobs on campus or fellowships to make a student employed at graduation. I mean why not simply charge less and teach students the law instead of trying to satisfy this private unregaulted magazine. Lets face it there are top schools and not top schools. GGU is never going to be on the level of Stanford. Southwestern will never be on par with UCLA. New York Law School will never be on par with NYU. It drives me nuts my school explicitly hired our dean in an effort to boost our schools ranking. It was not she is a great legal mind, it was not that she wants to do expand the curriculum, or create new clinics, or anything to give me a better education. Instead it was simply we want to hire her so we can be the 124th best school instead of the 152nd best. It is absolutely absurd!

I love how Cooley made their own rankings I think that is the most bad ass thing a school has ever done. If they didn't place themselves at the top I think it would show the ridiculousness of the rankings. It would be awesome if every school just published their own. The system is sick literally sick and it is just like what I saw in my basketball career. Just people making rankings based on absolutely nothing. Simply to make money it is sick, but nobody wants to question where these rankings come from.

Footnote from the article above.
14As one dean put it, “The difference between ten years ago and now in the volume of mail I get is astounding. The amount of money that law
schools are spending—if you want to know, without question in my mind, the biggest impact that USN rankings have had, it’s on the profits of

Marketing Expenditures Below is from Page 10 and really discusses the worst part of the whole system whether you support or don't support the rankings.

According to the administrators interviewed for this study, one of the clearest effects of the rankings is the
tremendous proliferation in the amount of promotional material from other law schools received by deans and faculty
members.14 Reputation rating is the most heavily weighted criterion in the USN ranking formula and therefore has
become an obvious target of attention. Law schools are spending substantial amounts of money15 on brochures and other
marketing publications that are distributed to those who have a vote, or even might have a vote, in the USN survey
other deans, administrators, faculty members). Administrators note that they receive these brochures throughout the year,
but they arrive in very large quantities in the weeks immediately prior to the October release of the USN reputation
survey, what one marketing director referred to as “sweeps week.” Many report that these mailings usually end up in the
garbage unread.16 Regardless of their effect on reputation ratings, these brochures represent a large expenditure of
resources that could be used for any of a variety of other purposes. Among the alternatives mentioned were new faculty
members, writing centers, scholarships, and library volumes—purposes that, according to most administrators, would
more directly benefit the school in terms of educational quality. Not surprisingly, this is a hot-button issue for these

I could hire a faculty member for the amount of money spent on this; I could support twenty students for this
price; I could buy a substantial number of books for our library; all of which strike me as what this enterprise
ought to be about … I could almost support an entire legal writing program, I could fund a clinic, I could do any
of those things. Instead I’m putting out a magazine which goes out to people who aren’t interested in it and
perhaps to some who are interested in it. But those who are interested in it would be the alums, not the federal
judges in Milwaukee.

When I got here I began to look at our budget and I discovered—numbers that might interest you—that I had
one full-time employee out of a very lean staff who did nothing but put together this magazine. I discovered that
the cost of the magazine, distributed to our quite small mailing list … all of our alums, which is roughly 4,800
people, all the federal judges—that’s something they’re all interested in—the managing partners of the largest
law firms in the country, and a large number of [in-state] legal presences. So that was a pretty limited mailing
list by the standards of some of these things, but this [cost us] in excess of $100,000 per year, just the
production cost and the mailing list, and one whole person. And we were really, really modest in terms of the

14As one dean put it, “The difference between ten years ago and now in the volume of mail I get is astounding. The amount of money that law
schools are spending—if you want to know, without question in my mind, the biggest impact that USN rankings have had, it’s on the profits of

15“If you look to see what the costs are of design, when you start looking at the competition for photography, for graphics and you multiply it by
these huge amounts. We’re talking in many cases millions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent by some institutions in order to get the
design, the photography.”
16“I don’t read the ones that are mailed to me. My secretary has instructions to throw them away upon arrival. Who reads those things? I don’t. I
don’t keep them—they literally go from the mail room to the trash can.”