TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, October 14, 2013

U.S. News Undecided on Using Law School Expenditures in Rankings, Despite ABA's Decision to Stop Collecting Data

US News (2014)Following up on Friday's post on Brian Leiter's post that despite the ABA's June 7 decision to eliminate the requirement that law schools report their expenditures to the ABA, U.S. News is continuing to ask law schools for this data:  although I noted that U.S. News "presumably will keep using the data in its annual law school rankings," Inside Higher Ed reports today:

Robert Morse, who directs the rankings at U.S. News, via e-mail confirmed that the questions were being asked but he said it was inaccurate to say that the information will be used in the next rankings. But he said that the rankings operation "has not made a determination at this time if there will be any change in the upcoming best law schools ranking methodology."

Expenditures Per Student (9.75%) and Financial Aid Per Student (1.5%) are significant components of the existing U.S. News law school rankings methodology.

UpdateBrian Leiter (Chicago): "Just to be clear, then: U.S. News will waste thousands of hours of time of administrative staff around the country compiling data they would not otherwise need to compile, but may not use any of it. Classy."

Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink


Whether US News stops using this financial data this year or next, it will stop using the data at some point. Many schools will stop supplying it; numbers reported by those who continue to comply will be unverifiable. Today, schools have to worry about the ABA catching and disciplining cheaters; hereafter, that worry will disappear. As a result, students will be told by an increasing number of disinterested advisors to take US News’ results with a large grain of salt. This will hurt US News’ bottom line. Credible rankings cannot be based on secret, self-reported but unverifiable numbers.

Posted by: Theodore Seto | Oct 14, 2013 2:49:35 PM

Whoa. Just agreed with Leiter.

Posted by: No, breh | Oct 14, 2013 11:55:42 PM