Tuesday, October 12, 2004
I just received the "Annual Peer Assessment" survey from U.S. News & World Report asking me to help "identify the law schools having the top programs in tax law":
Identify up to fifteen (15) schools that have the highest-quality tax law courses or programs. In making your choices consider all elements that contribute to a program's academic excellence, for example, the depth and breadth of the program, faculty research and publication record, etc.(For the 2004 U.S. News ranking of the top Top 25 tax programs, see here; for the U.S. News ranking of the Top 10 graduate tax programs, see here; for TaxProf Blog's description of the major moves (both upward and downward) in the 2004 U.S. News tax rankings compared to the 2002 rankings, see here.)
Given the increasing emphasis schools are putting on these rankings, it got me to wondering why no one has auctioned off their 15 votes on eBay:
Starting bid: US $1.00As readers who have been with TaxProf Blog since our April 15, 2004 launch know, I have a particular interest in the subject of law school rankings (see here). I recently published (with my fellow blogger and colleague Rafael Gely) What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, 82 Texas L. Rev. 1483 (2004), which 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:
Time left: 10 days
Ends Oct-20-04 12:00:00 PDT
Start time: Oct-10-04 12:00:00 PDT
Quantity: 15 available
Item location: Cincinnati, Ohio
You are bidding on 1 of 15 selections in a U.S. News & World Report annual peer assessment of tax law programs in American law schools. Each of the 15 winning bidders will be able to designate one of the votes on this official U.S. News ballot. This is your chance to help your favorite law school's tax program get the recognition it so richly deserves.
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.The article has attracted a lot of attention (over 1100 downloads on SSRN) and spawned a symposium on The Next Generation of Law School Rankings to be held on April 15, 2005 (the date is purely a coincidence!) at Indiana-Bloomington, with the papers and commentary to be published in the Indiana Law Journal. Over a dozen leading law profs (including Brian Leiter (Texas), Hon. Richard Posner (Chicago, 7th Circuit), and Cass Sunstein (Chicago)) will weigh in on three general areas:
• Framing the Rankings DebateI will be sharing news about the symposium on TaxProg Blog over the coming months. In the meantime, don't forget the University of Cincinnati College of Law (the first law school on the top of page 4) as you fill out your U.S. News survey of the leading law school tax programs!
• Rankings Methodologies
• Other Voices in the Rankings Debate