US News: Think Your Law School’s Top Tier? Think Again.

Bitter Newsroom Lawyer, News & Views

The legal blogosphere is buzzing about the front-page story in today’s Wall Street Journal that U.S. News & World Report is “seriously” considering reworking its famous law school ranking system to crack down on top law schools’ infamous practice of “gaming” the rankings. As the WSJ Law Blog reports, “it’s no secret that top law schools game the…rankings by admitting students with sub-par LSATs and GPAs into the part-time program only, since those students’ so-called entering credentials will then be excluded from the rankings calculus.”

A change in ranking criteria to include part-timers would “catch the outliers but punish part-time programs that have existed forever and aren’t doing it to game the system,” says Ellen Rutt, an associate dean at the University of Connecticut. Such a change, which may even be implemented as early as January, could, as one law professor postulated, result in some schools falling from the magazine’s “first tier” of the top 50 schools to the second tier, and some from the second to the third.

Wait, wait, wait. Hold on. So what you’re saying is: Law school rankings might not be an accurate reflection of how smart a schools’ students are? Say it ain’t so.  [WSJ via WSJ Law Blog]

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