Could not agree more and as an FYI if you want to know the standards used by U.S. News Rankings here they are http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/articles/2013/03/11/methodology-best-law-schools-rankings
40% of the rankings are based on lawyers and judges filling out scantrons ranking schools as 1 or 5. Who these lawyers and judges are is unidentified and I find it unlikely any lawyer or judge marking these Scranton visits each ABA law school every year.
Undergrad GPA makes up 10%, but again this just looks at the number so a 3.1 in Nuclear Physics from Harvard looks worse than a 4.0 in underwater Basket Weaving from Timbucktu State.
The LSAT makes up 12.5% and the test is by no means perfect, but at least this is an objective criteria and if U.S. News made this one of the standards I would have less of an issue, but it only makes up 12.5% and this is the one factor that can be objectively measured.
Acceptance Rate 2% and schools manipulate this to no degree offering fee waivers to people simply so they can reject them this is a tremendous waste of resources for everyone involved and I don't know how rejecting more applicants than another school improves the legal education at the institution.
Placement 20% that is not crazy, but again these numbers can be greatly manipulated and schools engage in number manipulation here as well. Additionally legal education is a long-term investment and a legal career lasts a lot longer than 9 months and these short time also puts schools in States that take longer to return bar exam results at a disadvantage. If they calculated it one year after bar results were released to put each school on level playing ground it would be a better system,but even then the person looking for a job has a lot more ability to get placed than the school can give them.
I know at my law school there were people I would not trust to feed my cat and would never want them to be my lawyer and they were others in my school that were highly competent. Unsurprisingly everyone I knew that was normal and competent found employment. The weird, smelly a-hole kid who missed half the classes and showed up 20 minutes late to the Final spends his time writing on Facebook about how awful the legal job market it, but the problem is him not the legal market.
Bar Passage Rate: 2% I would think being able to pass the licensing exam in a jurisdiction would be a pretty important indicator as to the quality of legal education, but the powers that be have made it the lowest weight factor. Literally if a school rejects more applicants than they will increase their ranking more than if they improve bar passage %
Rounding it up Faculty Resources 15%
I don't really have an issue with that the amount of books, student faculty ratio, etc means something and 15% is a reasonable number.
However, U.S. News doesn't care and shouldn't people buy the magazine blindly and make life altering decisions based on it and come away with a huge profit. I don't blame U.S. News for capitalizing on this market and that is why they rank Cities, Hospitals, or anything else they can turn a profit on. I don't think they are even imply there rankings are the Gold Standard they are offering their opinion the same as I am on this board, but nobody should make a life altering decision based on what I or U.S. News says.
Bottom line to any 0L's or 1L's considering transferring please do not make a life altering decision regarding your legal education on U.S. News opinion. Use your common sense obviously Harvard will open more doors than Wayne State, but no attorney out there cares if Wayne State is ranked higher than Williamette.
Stepping off Soap Box and again could not agree more with Maintain FL