The Wall St. Journal reports today that US New & World Report, which publishes the much watched and reviled law-school rankings, is considering changes to its rankings formula. These changes could have serious consequences for law schools and students.
The front-page article “Law School Rankings Reviewed to Deter ‘Gaming’ “ claims that many schools are ‘gaming” the rankings by using part-time programs as back doors into law school for applicants who may bring down their ranking.
Part-time students’ stats have not been considered in the rankings and are generally lower. The part-time students frequently become full-time students during the second year, when their stats will not be considered by US News. That policy–or loophole–may disappear according to Robert Morse, director of data research at US News. The WSJ writes,
“Counting part-timers would roil the law-school rankings, which have a big impact on where students apply and from where law firms hire. A number of law-school administrators interviewed about the potential change contend it could have another effect: narrowing a traditional pathway to law school for minorities and working professionals.”
I have written repeatedly that students put too much emphasis on the rankings. They are flawed. Morse’s reaction to the law schools’ shenanigans prove that point.
Use the rankings for the data. Rank the schools for yourself.