Monday, April 11, 2011
There are many key questions that need to be resolved. For example, U.S. News would need to determine what scale would be used to measure diversity success for each law school. How should law schools be compared in ethnically diverse states like California and Florida with those in far less diverse states like Vermont and Iowa? Should Stanford University and the University of Southern California, both private law schools, be measured against the same scale as public schools in California like UCLA?
How should diversity at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and North Carolina Central University law schools, which are part of the historically black colleges and universities, be measured? Should diversity just be based on ethnic diversity and not take into account economic diversity? How would law school economic diversity be measured? We also need to consider what the law schools themselves think about including diversity in the rankings.
Yet another important issue is to what degree diversity is linked to academic quality versus being an important social goal. There is also the key question of whether diversity should even be included in the rankings, given that the main purpose of the rankings is to identify the best schools academically.
I spoke with Craig Holden, a partner at Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith and chair of the Council on Access & Fairness for The State Bar of California, who was the catalyst behind the proposal to U.S. News, and told him that U.S. News was willing to have further discussions so we could determine the feasibility of the suggestions.
In addition, U.S. News would need to work with a representative group of legal educators and others to develop such diversity success yardsticks. We cannot do it without outside assistance and some meaningful level of agreement on the right things to measure and the correct metrics to use to measure them.
- ABA Journal, US News Weighs Request to Add Diversity Measure to Law School Rankings
- Althouse, US News Weights Request to Add the Most Freakishly Manipulable Measure to Law School Rankings
- Huffington Post, What's Really Behind U.S. News' Refusal to Consider Diversity?, by Victor Gold (Dean, Loyola-L.A.)
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- Law School Rankings and Diversity (Feb. 23, 2010)
- U.S. News: Rankings Do Not Hinder Law School Diversity (Mar. 4, 2010)
- Amar & Johnson: U.S. News Should Include Diversity in its Law School Rankings (Mar. 13, 2010)