May 12, 2022

Professor Lawsky's Entry-Level Hiring Report for 2021-22

The report is now available here.  Professor Lawsky recorded 106 hires, the most in a good number of years, although nothing like the numbers before 2010, when 150 or more was the norm.  Inevitably some rookie hires are missed:  Chicago had three grads on the market, all three of whom received tenure-track offers, but it looks like one did not report to Professor Lawsky.  Some misses are inevitable, but I'm confident her overall picture is quite informative.

As Professor Lawsky also notes, we don't have data on how many graduates of each school were on the market.   You can see past "success rate" data from some prior years here and here.

UPDATE:  Professor Lawsky very kindly updated her report to include the missing Chicago candidate. Thank you, Professor Lawsky!


May 12, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Faculty News, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

May 09, 2022

Per student value of law school endowments

A colleague elsewhere sent me data on law school endowments in 2019 (most probably went up in 2021, although they're probably back down now).   We divided the total endowment by the total JD and non-JD student enrollment based on the 2021 ABA disclosures to determine the per student value of the endowments.  Endowments, of course, are not the only source of income beyond tuition:  public law schools, for example, get substantial amounts of money from the state, while some law schools get substantial annual gifts (for more than a decade, for example, Chicago has benefitted from renewable three-year gifts supporting the Rubenstein Scholarships in an amount that would be equivalent, by my estimate, to another $125,000,000 in endowment!).  There is, of course, a striking if hardly perfect correlation between per student value of endowments and US News.com rankings, in part because per capita expenditures account for all the differences between otherwise comparable schools.

Interestingly, several of the very wealthy law schools (e.g., Yale, Stanford, Harvard, and Notre Dame) actually have lower per student endowments than their parent universities as a whole; while others (like Virginia and Michigan) have far more.

In any case, here are the top 20 law schools by the per student value of their endowments (schools with an *asterisk outside the top 10 have a gross endowment greater than $100 million; all the schools in the top ten have gross endowments greater than $100 million).

1.  Yale University ($2,033,106)

2.  Stanford University ($1,422,512)

3.  Harvard University ($1,060,304)

4.  University of Notre Dame ($670,157)

5.  University of Chicago ($623,318)

5.  University of Virginia ($623,923)

7.  Columbia University ($496,710)

8.  University of Michigan ($480,237)

9.  University of Pennsylvania ($403,714)

10. Duke University ($352,594)

Continue reading


May 9, 2022 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

May 06, 2022

ABA Committee recommends dropping the requirement of standardized testing (e.g., the LSAT) for law school admission

Here.  While the ABA has some power, the real power rests with USNews.com:  if they still want LSAT scores, law schools will still use them.  If USNews.com drops the LSAT scores, then the race to get the highest median GPA, regardless of the difficulty of the undergraduate course of study, will accelerate, since that will be the only numerical measure left for student admissions.  That would be a disaster.  Comments are open for thoughts from readers on this development and what it portends; submit your comment only once, it may take awhile to appear.


May 6, 2022 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink | Comments (3)

April 27, 2022

A change to the USNews.com ranking formula that would actually be salutary

The arbitrary adjustments to weightings and the like to one side, here's a change that would improve legal education and law school admissions:   drop the median GPA as a factor.  Not all GPAs are equal.  A 3.9 in communications or education is inferior to a 3.5 in engineering or chemistry or philosophy or economics.  Some majors are harder than others.   But US news generates massive pressure to ignore field of study in favor of GPA.  It's a disaster.  Drop median GPA as a factor.


April 27, 2022 in Rankings | Permalink

April 26, 2022

What are standard law school teaching loads these days?

Professor Jeff Sovern (St. John's) writes:

I wonder whether schools that perform better on lists like the citation lists posted on this blog from time to time have lower requirements for the amount of teaching professors do and if so, how much. I am also curious to know what standard law school teaching expectations are these days, something others may also wonder about.  Could those of you who read this please post the teaching requirements at your law school in the comments? At my school, St. John’s, the default teaching load is twelve credit hours per year. Professors with chairs are expected to teach ten hours per year while early-career professors get a course reduction of about one course a year and in one semester in their first few years teach no courses. Professors may seek a research leave every seventh year consisting of a semester at full pay or a year at half-pay.  

Comments are open; submit your comment only once, they are moderated and may take awhile to appear.  Include a valid university email address, which will not appear.   It would be preferable for posters to name the school in question, which is why I need to know the email address, even if you choose not to post your full name.


April 26, 2022 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Rankings | Permalink | Comments (8)

April 14, 2022

"Do the U.S. News rankings rely on dubious data?"

CHE actually posted this as a question, and not a rhetorical one!


April 14, 2022 in Rankings | Permalink

April 13, 2022

More on expenditures and the USNews.com ranking stew

Derek Muller (Iowa) comments.


April 13, 2022 in Rankings | Permalink

April 05, 2022

Yale Law melodrama continues: Professor Stith disagrees with Dean, says student protest violated the Law School's Free Speech Policy

Story here (prior coverage--and earlier examples of the clearly dysfunctional institutional culture).  Despite the continued bad press, and even as its USNews.com reputation score falls to 3rd, its #1 scholarly impact positions depends increasingly on an ageing faculty, and its younger faculty increasingly live in New York City (or decamp to NYC schools), the per capita expenditures metric will still keep Yale at #1 in USNews.com.


April 5, 2022 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

March 30, 2022

USNews.com compared to other metrics of school quality

 

Here's the USNews.com "top ten", with other data on these schools.

US News overall rank

School

Overall scholarly impact rank

Scholarly impact rank for faculty under 60

SCOTUS “per capita” placement rank

Academic reputation rank in US News

Avg. rank across all metrics

1

Yale University

1

3

1

3

1.8

2

Stanford University

6

10

3

1

4.4

3

University of Chicago

2

1

2

3

2.2

4

Columbia University

5

9

9

3

6.0

4

Harvard University

3

2

3

1

2.6

6

University of Pennsylvania

8

14

15

8

10.2

7

New York University

4

5

5

3

4.8

8

University of Virginia

9

5

5

8

7.0

9

University of California, Berkeley

6

7

9

7

7.6

10

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

13

13

5

8

9.8


March 30, 2022 in Rankings | Permalink

March 28, 2022

Law Schools Unfairly Ranked by U.S. News

MOVING TO FRONT (ORIGINALLY POSTED OCT. 3 2011, SLIGHTLY REVISED IN THE INTERIM), SINCE IT IS TIMELY AGAIN

I've occasionally commented in the past about particular schools that clearly had artificially low overall ranks in U.S. News, and readers e-mail me periodically asking about various schools in this regard.   Since the overall rank in U.S. News is a meaningless nonsense number, permit me to make one very general comment:   it seems to me that all the law schools dumped into what U.S. News calls the unranked lower tiers--indeed, all the law schools ranked ordinally beyond the top 25 or 30  based on irrelevant and trivial differences-- are unfairly ranked and represented.  This isn't because all these schools have as good faculties or as successful graduates as schools ranked higher--though many of them, in fact, do--but because the metric which puts them into these lower ranks is a self-reinforcing one, and one that assumes, falsely and perniciously, that the mission of all law schools is the same.  Some missions, to be sure, are the same at some generic level:  e.g., pretty much all law schools look to train lawyers and produce legal scholarship.  U.S. News has no meaningful measure of the latter, so that part of the shared mission isn't even part of the exercise.  The only "measures" of the former are the fictional employment statistics that schools self-report and bar exam results.  The latter may be only slightly more probative, except that the way U.S. News incorporates them into the ranking penalizes schools in states with relatively easy bar exams.  So with respect to the way in which the missions of law schools are the same, U.S. News employs no pertinent measures. 

But schools differ quite a bit in how they discharge the two generic missions, namely, producing scholarship and training lawyers.  Some schools focus much of their scholasrhip on the needs of the local or state bar.  Some schools produce lots of DAs, and not many "big firm" lawyers.    Some schools emphasize skills training and state law.  Some schools emphasize theory and national and transnational legal issues.   Some schools value only interdisciplinary scholarship.  And so on.  U.S. News conveys no information at all about how well or poorly different schools discharge these functions.  But by ordinally ranking some 150 schools based on incompetently done surveys, irrelevant differences and fictional data, and dumping the remainder into a "second tier", U.S. News conveys no actual information, it simply rewards fraud in data reporting and gratuitously insults hard-working legal educators and scholars and their students and graduates.


March 28, 2022 in Rankings | Permalink