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Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Tax Prof's Views on Law School Rankings (and Baseball)

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Forgive the shameless plug, but my latest article, What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, 82 Texas L. Rev. 1483 (2004), is out now in hard copy. The article argues that law schools should heed the lessons from Michael Lewis's best-selling book Moneyball and embrace rankings rather than hide from them. Here is the concluding paragraph:

Like Michael Lewis, we have told a story about a profession and people we love. We are proud of the work law schools and law professors do in teaching future lawyers and producing legal scholarship to the betterment of American law and society. As institutions and as individuals, we have nothing to fear from the accountability and transparency spotlight. Indeed, we do our best work in the light. We should welcome the opportunity to tell the world what we do and help them measure our performance as teachers and scholars. If we do not, the story will be told by others and it will no longer be our own.

Here is the abstract:

Michael Lewis takes an inside look at how in recent years the Oakland A's have achieved one of the best records in baseball despite having one of the lowest player payrolls. Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler have argued that the book has large and profound implications for other professions. This review essay by a tax law professor and a labor law professor explores the book's large and profound implications for law schools.
Beane succeeded by ruthlessly exploiting inefficiencies in major league baseball caused by the inability to properly evaluate players. He replaced traditional subjective measurements of players by scouts with new objective statistical methods pioneered by baseball outsiders.
In many ways, legal education is teeming with more inefficiencies than Beane uncovered in baseball. We argue that changes in the economic conditions of higher education and the legal profession, combined with increasing demands for accountability and transparency, created the market demand for measuring organizational success which U.S. News & World Report met with its annual law school rankings. We explore the implications of Moneyball for legal education in three areas.
First, we argue that law school rankings are here to stay and that the academy should work to devise ways to more accurately measure law school success. We advocate the comprehensive collection of data that users and organizations can weigh differently in arriving at competing rankings systems.
Second, we applaud efforts begun in the past decade to quantify individual faculty contributions to law school success. We support measures that take into account both quantitative and qualitative measurements of faculty performance. We provide data that confirm the relationship of productivity and impact measures of scholarship and provide support for isolating background and performance characteristics in predicting future faculty scholarly work.
Third, we use Billy Beane as a prototype and identify the qualities that enabled him to revolutionize baseball. We shift the focus here to deans and present data measuring decanal scholarly productivity and impact. We contrast these figures with the corresponding faculty data and distinguish deans' scholarly performance both in the period prior to becoming dean and while serving as dean. We also offer some surprising predictions, based on the data, of the qualities that a future dean will need to assume the mantle of the Billy Beane of legal education.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2004/05/tax_profs_views.html

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» This Tax Professor Knows Baseball from Notes from the (Legal) Underground
What do you do if you're a creative guy with something to say, but you're also a (yawn) tax professor? Professor Caron of the University of Cincinnati College of Law knows: you find a way to write about baseball. Details [Read More]

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» Rethinking The Rankings from The Curmudgeonly Clerk
Professors Caron and Gely have published a 72-page article in the flagship journal of my alma mater entitled What Law... [Read More]

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» Rethinking The Rankings from The Curmudgeonly Clerk
Professors Caron and Gely have published a 72-page article in the flagship journal of my alma mater entitled What Law... [Read More]

Tracked on May 19, 2004 9:00:26 AM

» Rethinking The Rankings from The Curmudgeonly Clerk
Professors Caron and Gely have published a 72-page article in the flagship journal of my alma mater entitled What Law... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 8, 2004 10:59:23 AM

» Our Secret Is Out: from The Volokh Conspiracy
From John Miller's column in this week's National Review (p. 44): "Several universities have managed to poach talent by accepting conservatives rejected by more prestigious institutions. The law school at Ge... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 19, 2005 3:02:08 PM

Comments

Like most law professors, when discussing law school performance, you show absolutely zero interest in the students. Tracking law school quality by law faculty publication is not a measure of a good law school--it is the measure of a law research institute.

If you really wanted to judge a quality law school, you would investigate what it takes to make quality lawyers, and how to teach students in a way that also increases their interest in the law. Like most professors, you forget that students come to law schools to learn--not to be neglected for the boring and often pointless research peccadilloes of their professors.

But then, as a professor, you probably just don't care.

Posted by: Russel Trust | Jun 16, 2004 12:58:18 PM

Like most law professors, when discussing law school performance, you show absolutely zero interest in the students. Tracking law school quality by law faculty publication is not a measure of a good law school--it is the measure of a law research institute.

If you really wanted to judge a quality law school, you would investigate what it takes to make quality lawyers, and how to teach students in a way that also increases their interest in the law. Like most professors, you forget that students come to law schools to learn--not to be neglected for the boring and often pointless research peccadilloes of their professors.

But then, as a professor, you probably just don't care.

Posted by: Russel Trust | Jun 16, 2004 12:58:49 PM

Like most law professors, when discussing law school performance, you show absolutely zero interest in the students. Tracking law school quality by law faculty publication is not a measure of a good law school--it is the measure of a law research institute.

If you really wanted to judge a quality law school, you would investigate what it takes to make quality lawyers, and how to teach students in a way that also increases their interest in the law. Like most professors, you forget that students come to law schools to learn--not to be neglected for the boring and often pointless research peccadilloes of their professors.

But then, as a professor, you probably just don't care.

Posted by: Russel Trust | Jun 16, 2004 12:58:49 PM

i wnat to finish my 2 years on my masters looking for a good school online if there is such a school with a high standard degree looking for probono law firms. please email me a school neat atlanta Georgia help please i have 2 years more to complete masters.

Posted by: mike Drain | Feb 14, 2005 7:54:51 AM