Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Sunday, March 9, 2014

An Open Letter to Other Law Bloggers Regarding the US Rankings


When the new rankings come out shortly, may I suggest that you not post the overall ranking.  You all know the overall rank assigned to a school by U.S. News is meaningless, often perniciously so.  It combines too many factors, in an inexplicable formula, and much of the underlying data isn't reliable, and some of it (e.g., expenditures on secretarial salaries and electriciy) isn't even relevant.  You all know this.  So don't report it.  The fact that this garbage appears in what used to be a major 'news' magazine doesn't change the fact that it is garbage. 

Instead, let me suggest that if you want to blog about the rankings when they come out, write about some of the underlying data that speaks for itself:  the reputational scores, for example, or the bar passage rates, or the numerical credentials of the students.  Those have limitations too--the median of 500 is not really comparable to the median of 200; the reputation scores are not based on presenting evaluators with any information about the schools being evaluated; and so on--but one can at least say clearly what the limitations are, and one is not hostage either to the dishonesty of the schools "reporting" the data or the sheer idiocy of the U.S. News ranking formula.

APRIL 9, 2009 ADDENDUM:  I should also note that, to my knowledge, U.S. News has done nothing to address the methodological problems raised last year.

UPDATE (MARCH 5, 2013):  The Dean of a flagship state law school writes, "Your post on US News Rankings is much appreciated. Schools like mine do not play the game, and truly try to keep our tuition low.  We spend our money on our students and their education. The hypocrisy of the 'legal education reformers' astounds me. They will be the first to denigrate the education we offer here, since we are not a top 100 school. Thanks for the good message, even if not enough schools listen." 

UPDATE (MARCH 10, 2014):  Lawyer Bobby Cheren writes: "How about referring to them as the '' rankings from now on, as the magazine is essentially defunct?"  Apt point!

March 9, 2014 in Rankings | Permalink | TrackBack (2)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Rookie hiring in 2013

A complete report.  Interesting.  Only 125 positions filled last year, though I expect that will be double the number filled this year.  This means we can also revise the placement rate, based on the number of candidates from each school on the market last year.

1.  Univeristy of Virginia (57%, 4 total)

1.  Yale University (57%, 21 total)

3.  University of Chicago (50%, 6 total)

4.  Duke University (46%, 6 total)

5.  New York University (42%, 13 total)

6.  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (39%, 5 total)

7.  Harvard University (32%, 18 total)

8.  University of California, Berkeley (25%, 5 total)

8.  University of California, Los Angeles (25%, 2 total)

10.  Cornell University (21%, 3 total)

10.  Northwestern University (21%, 3 total)

12.  University of Texas, Austin (18%, 2 total)

13. Columbia University (17%, 3 total)

13. Georgetown University (17%, 3 total)

13. Stanford University (17%, 2 total)

March 7, 2014 in Advice for Academic Job Seekers, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Scrutinizing the data about the legal job market

Facts are never welcome by cyber-miscreants, but sometimes they are worth considering by those hoping to make informed decisions.

March 6, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Student Advice | Permalink

In Memoriam: Sarah Tran

SMU Law Professor Sarah Tran passed away last week after a battle with leukemia.  

March 6, 2014 in Memorial Notices | Permalink

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

More signs of the time: declining 1L enrollments

Blog Emperor Caron has the sordid details.  Not all declines are created equal:  some are due to dramatic drops in applicants, but some are surely due to a desire to preserve the numerical quality of the study body and thus rankings.  The schools with increases in enrollment, also noted, are interesting.

March 5, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Rankings | Permalink

Case Western Dean Lawrence Mitchell, who had been on leave, resigns

Monday, March 3, 2014

NLJ 250 Placement Rankings corrected...

More signs of the times: Thomas Jefferson Law School offering huge discounts across the boards

Friday, February 28, 2014

New York Times v. Sullivan fifty years later

What do you think?  I'm sure everyone would have their preferred wording, but I assume everyone can locate their own view in one of the three options below, so don't get hung up on the precise wording--choose the option closest to your view of the case and its legacy.  (The second and third options got chopped: the second should say "by requiring the plaintiff too prove too much" and the third  should conclude "into public figures who can be defamed with impunity".)

February 28, 2014 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Another law school offering major tuition incentives to residents in its part of the country

Tulsa.  I am told that maintaining "good standing" for purposes of these scholarships simply means "not failing out"!  So it is not some higher standard that poses a risk of losing the scholarship.

February 26, 2014 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink