Applying To Law School Like It’s 1976


U.S. News Rankings In The News Again!

Yes, indeed. It is that time of year again. The U.S. News rankings are popping up in the news everywhere. It is unclear why as the rankings really haven’t changed. Yale is at the top. Again. Yale has been at the top since forever. In fact, nothing in the top 10 has changed since the last rankings were released in March. Or the top 25. Consequently, there really is no news regarding movement amongst top law schools. So, let’s talk methodologies.
As mentioned in a previous law school news weekly review, the U.S. News could probably use an update to its ranking methodology. Like more emphasis on placement success and less on everything else. As it stands, 40% of the rankings are made up of quality assessment from other law schools and judges and attorneys. This is essentially what law schools think of each other and what attorneys and judges think about schools. Subjective much? Then selectivity gets 25%. This is more objective because it includes actual concrete scores and acceptance rates. Job placement gets a 20% weight and faculty resources gets a 15% weight.
Two humble suggestions: Put a ton of weight on placement and add the new category of average student debt. These are the two issues that are constantly circulating news circles and conversations between recent grads and perspective law students. Why not include them in the rankings? Above the Law puts 75% of their rankings weight on likelihood of a graduate having a job and starting salary. We put a 50% weight on similar categories. Because, duh. No one cares if faculty members have access to adequate books. Or what one law school thinks about another.
Perhaps if the U.S. News scrambles up the way they create their rankings, it will also shake up the rankings. Or Yale could just be the top school for the rest of eternity.
U.S. News Law School Methods
Quality assessment (.40) – Peer assessment (.25)/Judge and attorney assessment (.15)
Selectivity (.25)
Placement success (.20)
Faculty resources (.15) 
Source: U.S. News

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