Monday, October 14, 2013
U.S. News "asking" for expenditures information but has not decided whether to use it in the rankings
Friday, October 11, 2013
Thursday, October 10, 2013
...by Albert Yoon (Toronto):
[W]e find that, with few exceptions, law reviews publish more articles from faculty at their own institution than from faculty at other law schools. Law review publications of their own faculty are cited less frequently than publications of outside faculty. This disparity is more pronounced among higher-ranked law reviews, but occurs across the entire distribution of journals. We correspondingly find that law faculty publish their lesser-cited articles in their own law review relative to their articles published in other law reviews. These findings suggest that legal scholarship, in contrast to other academic disciplines, exhibits bias in article selection at the expense of lower quality.
I will counter this with one meaningless anecdote: my best-cited law review article appeared in Texas Law Review when I was on the Texas faculty!
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
We noted the ABA's change in policy during the summer, but now a Dean elsewhere writes:
This is well said, and I agree with all of it. The ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education ought to formally condemn this move by U.S. News.
I thought you'd be interested to know that law school deans this week were informed that the US News law schools survey is now open for law schools to submit their data. Looking at the data entry form, Questions 91-102 regarding expenditures are exactly the same as last year. That is, US News has decided to continue to collect expenditure information and use such information in its rankings of law schools. This despite the many cogent criticisms over many years of the use of this factor in the rankings; the fact that the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, as reported in July 2013, no longer requires law schools to submit this information annually (and therefore that independent check on what law schools report to US News no longer exists, thereby increasing the incentive for law schools to manipulate their data in reporting to US News); and the fact that the Draft Report of the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education criticizes the continued use of such information in the rankings (p. 9 of the Report, Section B.3) and under its Specific Recommendations (Section VIII., p. 32, Section G.3) calls for US News to stop doing so.
While the decision to rank schools according to how much they spend has always been corrosive, perverse, and misleading, it is particularly disturbing to see US News continue to do so in light of the above and in light of the urgent need for law schools to hold down costs and limit expenditures in order to minimize student debt. US News' decision to continue doing so is inexplicable and inexcusable and I sincerely hope that deans, journalists, and the ABA will specifically and loudly call upon US News to explain its decision and work to educate prospective students and the legal community at large about this issue.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Now we know the truth! From page 65:
Established Elite: Berkeley, Chicago, Columbia, Harvard, Michigan, NYU [but see the footnote], Penn, Stanford, Virginia, Yale
Rising Elite: Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Minnesota, Northwestern, Texas, UCLA, USC
Declining Elite: BU, Case Western, Indiana/Bloomington, Iowa, North Carolina, Wisconsin
Regional Elite: Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Boston College, Buffalo, BYU, UC Davis, UC Hastings, Cardozo, Cincinnati, Colorado, Connecticut, Emory, Florida, Fordham, George Washington, Georgia, Illinois, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers/Newark, SMU, Temple, Tulane, Wash U/St. Louis, Washington/Seattle, Utah, Washington & Lee, William & Mary, Vanderbilt
"Rising Regional," "Regional" and "Local" law schools are listed in appendices. You'll have to read the article to see all the different kinds of data, stretching over almost a century, that went into these categorizations.
ADDENDUM: Just to be clear, as a marker of current faculty quality these categories break down pretty quickly in reliability--but that's not what they're being presented as, in any case.
Monday, October 7, 2013
Friday, October 4, 2013
Thursday, October 3, 2013
This is an empirical study of one year of it (2007-08) by Tracey George (Vanderbilt) and Albert Yoon (Toronto). It confirms mostly what I would have expected. This may be particularly noteworthy:
Among the metrics of comparison they look at are publications, fellowships, PhDs, school graduated from, clerkships and so on. They do err, I think, in taking U.S. News a bit too seriously in viewing one metric as "graduation from Yale, Harvard, Stanford," even though the evidence suggests that while Yale is in a class by itself for teaching placement, the other two are not. I've urged Professor Yoon to include some data on Chicago, Columbia, and Michigan, at least. (Of course, this was only one year, and it is possible that the data for this one year do support the grouping. In any case, hopefully the final version of the paper will include more evidence in support of the grouping.)
Despite the ink spilled on race and gender in legal academic hiring, we find, with limited exceptions, these factors have little effect. After controlling for credentials, gender and race do not improve a candidate's chance of getting a screening interview. The only stage where we find that race and gender have statistically significant effects are at the intermediate call-back interview stage where women and non-whites are statistically significant more likely to be invited for a job talk interview. But, women and non-whites are no more likely than similarly situated men and whites to get a job offer or, if they get an offer, for the offer to come from a more elite school.