Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Ranking the Law School Rankings, 2014:
Last year, I introduced the first-ever ranking of law school rankings at PrawfsBlawg. I thought I would reprise the task again.
As Elie Mystal at Above the Law noted at a recent conference, law school rankings tend to encourage more law school rankings. So it may be useful to put them in a single place and analyze them.
The rankings tend to measure one of, or some combination of, three things: law school inputs (e.g., applicant quality, LSAT scores); law school outputs (e.g., employment outcomes, bar passage rates); and law school quality (e.g., faculty scholarly impact, teaching quality). Some rankings prefer short-term measures; others prefer long-term measures.
Last year, I ranked 15 rankings. I'm adding four other rankings: Enduring Hierarchies; Witnesseth Boardroom Rankings, Above the Law Rankings, and Tipping the Scales Rankings. ...
1. Sisk-Leiter Scholarly Impact Study (2012): Drawing upon the methodology from Professor Brian Leiter, it evaluates the scholarly impact of tenured faculty in the last five years. It's a measure of the law school's inherent quality based on faculty output. In part because peer assessment is one of the most significant categories for the U.S. News & World Report rankings, it provides an objective quantification of academic quality. Admittedly, it is not perfect, particularly as it is not related to law student outcomes (of high importance to prospective law students), but, nevertheless, I think it's the best ranking we have. ...
12. U.S. News & World Report (2013): It really isn't that this ranking is so bad that it's 12th on my list. It's not ideal. It has its problems. I've noted that it distorts student quality. But, mostly, it's a point that there are quite a few rankings that, I think, are much better.