April 09, 2024

The "peer" (academic) reputation score in USNews.com's new ranking

The Blog Emperor compiles the data.  One could quibble with some of these results (e.g., Stanford isn't #1, except maybe in California!), but for the top 20 or so it's a lot less misleading than the "overall" ranking.

April 9, 2024 in Rankings | Permalink

March 27, 2024

Law Schools Unfairly Ranked by U.S. News


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 employment statistics that schools self-report to the ABA 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. 

Continue reading

March 27, 2024 in Rankings | Permalink

March 05, 2024

Non-JD enrollment at "top 20ish" law schools

My former Texas colleague John Dzienkowski calls my attention to this astonishing chart showing non-JD enrollment (mostly LLM and SJD enrollment) at some leading law schools.   LLM students are usually paying tuition, and are invisible to USNews.com rankings.   Penn, which is half the size of Harvard, has as many non-JD students, which is extraordinary.  So too is the non-JD enrollment at Northwestern, and USC.   The zero figure for Michigan must be an error.

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March 5, 2024 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

February 05, 2024

San Francisco City Attorney subpoenas USNews.com over its hospital rankings...

...suspecting conflicts of interest, and USNews.com sues claiming violation of its First Amendment right to mislead consumers (OK, they left out the "mislead consumers" part).  As we've noted before, prevailing in a lawsuit against USNews.com would be difficult.

February 5, 2024 in Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

October 16, 2023

Texas A&M grads have highest bar pass rate in Texas

That's quite an achievement; the Texas Wesleyan school, which A&M took over and transformed starting only a decade ago, was regularly in the bottom half of Texas schools for bar passage rate.

October 16, 2023 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

October 03, 2023

USNew.com changed its meaningless formula for the college rankings significantly this year...

...and lawprof Derek Muller (Notre Dame) speculates about whether this portends further changes to the law school rankings.  I'll just note that in the 1990s, US News (back when they were still an actual magazine, not a website) used to include average starting salaries of graduates, but then dropped that since it had more to do with geography (e.g., does a school place mostly in the NYC area?) than with the success of the school or its graduates.

October 3, 2023 in Rankings | Permalink

September 20, 2023

Which law school has the strongest scholarly faculty?

It's that time of year for another amusing Internet poll:  pairwise comparisons of the "top 40" law faculties.  More than 60 choices.  Have fun!

September 20, 2023 in Rankings | Permalink

August 08, 2023

14 lateral moves that made law professors "take notice" during 2022-23

Based on my in-box and conversations with others, these were 14 moves that transpired this past year that were thought to be the biggest hiring coups (I usually list only ten, but this was another big year for lateral moves):


*Derek Bambauer (intellectual property, law & technology) from the University of Arizona to the University of Florida, Gainesville.


*Jane Bambauer (First Amendment, law & technology, privacy) from University of Arizona to University of Florida, Gainesville.


*Robert Bartlett III (corporate) from the University of California, Berkeley to Stanford University.
*Colleen Chien (intellectual property, law & technology) from Santa Clara University to the University of California, Berkeley.
*Dhammika Dharmapala (tax, corporate, law & economics, empirical legal studies) from the University of Chicago to the University of California, Berkeley.

*Michele Goodwin (health law, constitutional law) from the University of California, Irvine to Georgetown University.


*Ran Hirschl (comparative constitutional law) from the University of Texas, Austin back to the University of Toronto.


*Timothy Holbrook (intellectual property, property) from Emory University to the University of Denver


*Kevin Quinn (empirical legal studies) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Political Science) to Emory University (Law School & Political Science).


*Daria Roithmayr (constitutional law, Critical Race Theory) from the University of Southern California to the University of Colorado, Boulder.


*Sarath Sanga (corporate, contracts) from Northwestern University to Yale University.


*Gregory Shaffer (international law, international trade) from the University of California, Irvine to Georgetown University.


*Maya Steinitz (arbitration, international business transactions) from University of Iowa to Boston University.

August 8, 2023 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

May 16, 2023

Given the new (inexplicable) USNews.com ranking stew...

...Derek Muller (Iowa) predicts what next year's ranking will look like.  There is always the possibility that the reputational scores will fluctuate (arbitrarily), but my guess is this won't be far off what the 2024 rankings look like!  Note some of the dramatic changes predicted!

May 16, 2023 in Rankings | Permalink

May 15, 2023

Why did Yale's academic reputation score plunge from (tied for) 3rd to (tied for) 6th this year?

Was it because Yale led the charge on the boycott of USNews.com?  Was it the accumulated effect of various embarrassing events, from judges boycotting Yale over free expression issues to the Amy Chua melodrama?  Was it a reflection of a widely perceived decline in the strength of Yale's younger faculty compared to their elders?   Was it all of these?  What's clear is the drop this year was pretty dramatic by historical standards for USNews.com reputation surveys, and of course this year is way down from a decade or so ago when Yale was usually tied for 1st or 2nd in academic reputation.

May 15, 2023 in Rankings | Permalink