so why is it that W&L seems to have been dropping in the rankings consistently in the past few years? is this an alarming sign of times to come?

Just as an FYI reference, here are the US News Rankings for W&L Law from 1990-2008:

1990: 25 (0 difference compared to 2008)

1991: not in Top 25 (at least -1 difference compared to 2008)

1992: not in Top 25 (at least -1 difference compared to 2008)

1993: not in Top 25 (at least -1 difference compared to 2008)

1994: 22 (+3 difference compared to 2008)

1995: 21 (+4 difference compared to 2008)

1996: 20 (+5 difference compared to 2008)

1997: 25 (0 difference compared to 2008)

1998: 19 (+6 difference compared to 2008)

1999: 20 (+5 difference compared to 2008)

2000: 20 (+5 difference compared to 2008)

2001: 20 (+5 difference compared to 2008)

2002: 18: (+7 difference compared to 2008)

2003: 19 (+6 difference compared to 2008)

2004: 23 (+2 difference compared to 2008)

2005: 22 (+3 difference compared to 2008)

2006: 22 (+3 difference compared to 2008)

2007: 22 (+3 difference compared to 2008)

2008: 25 (0 difference compared to 2008)

Average Over 15 Years (not counting 1990-1993 due to lack of data for 3 out of 4 of those years)= 21.2

Average Over Last 5 Years= 22.8

While obviously W&L Law has done better in the past than it did in 2008, this isn't their first time at 25 (and between 1991-1993 they weren't even in the Top 25).

Just as it won't be their first time when their Ranking picks up & improves for NEXT YEAR!