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March 13, 2012

Why do law schools have to watch the U.S. News rankings?

Because of brainless "reporting" (i.e., regurgitating) of the results like this.  Movements are reported without any explanation of what they mean, or how they were brought about, or whether they mean anything at all beyond enhanced manipulation of self-reported data.  Journalists more than anyone are responsible for the persistence of the U.S. News fraud on the public.

Posted by Brian Leiter on March 13, 2012 in Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

The more things change, the more thay stay the same...again

From the 1973 Blau-Marguiles survey of law schools Deans, the top five law schools:

1. Harvard University

2. Yale University

3. Columbia University

3. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

5. University of Chicago

From the 1974-75 Blau-Marguiles survey of law school Deans, the top nine schools:

1. Harvard University

2. Yale University

3. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

4. Columbia University

5. University of Chicago

6. Stanford University

7. University of California, Berkeley

8. New York University

9. University of Pennsylvania

From the 1977 Cartter Report survey of faculty quality:

1. Harvard University

2. Yale University

3. Stanford University

4. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

5. University of Chicago

6. Columbia University

7. University of California, Berkeley

8. University of Pennsylvania

9. University of Virginia

10. University of Texas, Austin

11. University of California, Los Angeles

12. Cornell University

13. New York University

14. Northwestern University

15. Duke University

From the 1987 U.S. News reputational survey of Deans, which was the basis of its first ranking of law schools:

1. Harvard University

1. Yale University

3. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

4. Columbia University

4. Stanford University

6. University of Chicago

7. University of California, Berkeley

8. University of Virginia

9. New York University

10. University of Pennsylvania

11. University of Texas, Austin

12. Duke University

13. Georgetown University

14. University of California, Los Angeles

15. Cornell University

16. Northwestern University

From the fall 2007 academic reputation survey by U.S. News:

1. Harvard University

1. Yale University

3. Columbia University

3. Stanford University

5. University of Chicago

6. New York University

6. University of California, Berkeley

6. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

9. University of Virginia

10. University of Pennsylvania

11. Cornell University

11. Duke University

11. Georgetown University

14. Northwestern University

14. University of Texas, Austin

And, finally, the fall 2011 academic reputation survey from U.S. News (just released):

1.  Yale University

2.  Harvard University

2.  Stanford University

4.  Columbia University

4.  University of Chicago

6.  New York University

7.  University of California, Berkeley

7.  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

9.  University of Virginia

10. Duke University

10. University of Pennsylvania

12. Cornell University

12. Georgetown University

14. Northwestern University

14. University of Texas, Austin

Apart from Michigan, NYU, Stanford, maybe Texas, maybe UCLA, not much movement over 30+ years--and even with the movers, the movement is slight. (The movement looks more dramatic if one looks at the overall U.S. News rank, but that's a nonsense number for reasons with which everyone is, by now, familiar and is an apple/orange comparison since, until U.S. News, rankings had focused almost entirely on academic criteria--the U.S. News reputational survey is the last vestige of that, as it were.) And some of the movement is just a consequence of the U.S. News echo chamber effect (a lower overall rank results gradually in slightly lower reputation scores).

One curiosity about the reputation results this year:  Illinois's reputation score plunged from 3.5 last year to 3.1 this year--the kind of change in score that one never sees.  This is a clear indication that other academics punished the school en masse for the fraudulent data reporting that came to light last fall right when the surveys were going out.  Pretty remarkable, but also absurd, since the quality of the faculty didn't change in the space of a year!  But it's a cautionary lesson for other schools about what happens when you are found out for cheating.

For those curious, here is the rest of the top 25 in academic reputation based on the fall 2011 surveys:

16. University of California, Los Angeles

17. Vanderbilt University

18. University of Southern California

18. Washington University, St. Louis

20. George Washington University

20. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul

20. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

23. Emory University

24. Boston College

24. Boston University

24. University of California, Davis

24. University of Iowa

24. University of Wisconsin, Madison

From an academic point of view, these results do seem to me to under-rank  USC and BU, as well as Illinois, quite significantly.

UPDATE:  A colleague at Villanova, which revealed its own data reporting irregularities last year (under a prior administration), writes:  "Note that we were also punished - 2.6 down to 2.2 - dropped us to 101 in the ranking, despite improvements in other areas. Ouch."  It really is weird that the only thing that clearly affects the reputation surveys is stuff like this!

ANOTHER:  Blog Emperor Caron lists all the schools by their academic reputation rank (though in the current version he has UCLA tied with Northwestern and Texas, which is a mistake).

Posted by Brian Leiter on March 13, 2012 in Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

March 12, 2012

The Attack on Rutgers-Camden, Continued

Responses from members of the Rutgers-Camden law school community and the idiot Governor in action (also here).  To take a research-active faculty, many of whom have close ties with the outstanding philosophy department at New Brunswick, and yank them out of the Rutgers system and drop them at "Rowan," a school no one outside of South Jersey has ever heard of...well, the whole thing has the makings of a catastrophe.  Anyone who can leave will leave, and a lot can.  (As the U.S. News fiasco with Loyola LA showed, the name change alone will cause the rank of the new "Rowan Law School" to crash.)

Finally, a bit of humor about a basically unfunny situation.

UPDATE:  And here's a revealing portrait of the South Jersey politician/businessman behind the proposal to destroy Rutgers-Camden--by the way, he's a Rutgers-Camden drop-out!

Posted by Brian Leiter on March 12, 2012 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

March 8, 2012

Summer Law Firm Hiring Up 25% in 2011 from the Prior Year

Some welcome news for law students.

Posted by Brian Leiter on March 8, 2012 in Legal Profession | Permalink | TrackBack

March 7, 2012

More on the Proposal to "Give Away" Rutgers-Camden

Here.

Posted by Brian Leiter on March 7, 2012 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

March 6, 2012

Post-tenure review in Texas

Details of the new developments here. I expect this will go nationwide in one form or another. The difficulty, of course, is that the proponents of such measures do not generally have constructive intentions. On the other hand, tenure does mean only termination "for cause," and the failure of most universities to ever examine whether cause exists undermines the defensibility of tenure.

Posted by Brian Leiter on March 6, 2012 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

March 5, 2012

Florida Coastal Removes Lawsuit To Federal Court

Florida Coastal, the defendant in one the fifteen lawsuits claiming that law schools provided fraudulent employment data, has removed its case to Federal court.  Manuel Rodriguez, one of the plaintiff attorneys, plans to contest the move, arguing that "once you federalize the case, you have distant courts deciding local issues."  The case was assigned to Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami.

Posted by Dan Filler on March 5, 2012 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink | TrackBack

March 2, 2012

NLJ 250 Hiring Report

The new one is here.  The "NLJ 250" is a list of the nation's 250 largest firms, which means, among other things, that it excludes a lot of high-end litigation boutiques that recruit heavily from elite law schools (including Susman Godfrey, Kellogg Huber, Bartlitt Beck, Keker & Van Nest, and others).  Last year's results are here, and while the list is basically the same, the changes in ordinal placement indicate how sensitive some of the results are to student choices in a particular year (e.g., clerkships, JD/PhD students and so on).

Posted by Brian Leiter on March 2, 2012 in Legal Profession, Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack

March 1, 2012

Anthony Crowell Named Dean and President of New York Law School

Anthony W. Crowell, Counselor to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Public Library, has been named the Dean and President of New York Law School. He will take over in the spring.

Posted by Dan Filler on March 1, 2012 in Faculty News | Permalink | TrackBack