TaxProf Blog

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

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Pay To Play Hits Law School 'Rankings'

Newsweek 2Above the Law, Schools Touting Appearance In ‘Best Law Schools’ Sponsored Content Article:

If your school is paying to be hailed as one of the “Best Law Schools [of] 2016,” then it’s probably not one of the actual “Best Law Schools of 2016.” And yet, a few law schools appear to be banking on some less-than-diligent prospective students who might take a passing reference in a sponsored article as genuine praise. Moreover, the schools are actively patting themselves on the back for these accolades that they actually paid for in the first place! ...

Nonetheless, a string of law schools, mostly in the “Rank Not Published” cellar of the U.S. News & World Report rankings, have profiles up in the “Best Law Schools 2016” section of Newsweek — U.S. News and World Report’s sadder former news magazine competitor — along with a glowing article about their accomplishments. It seemed suspicious when Nova Southeastern, Appalachian School of Law, and Western State College of Law at Argosy University all showed up in a section like that, so we did some digging and found this rate sheet (screenshots available here).

Moral of the story, for the low, low cost of $9,950 (for a national run) or $5,950 (for a run in the school’s home state and up to three other states of its choosing) Newsweek will tag any school as one of the best (we reached out to Newsweek to verify these rates but they did not respond). New York Law School and the University of Maryland School of Law also show up in this abomination, but at least they’re ranked by U.S. News. Seattle University and St. Thomas University School of Law appear in the accompanying article, but their profiles aren’t accessible in the margin. ...

Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink


And here's the evergreen question/comment: Where is the ABA in all of this? The Appalachian law school - whatever in hell that actually is - and the Nova law school are clearly passing off a paid advertisement as a legitimate article, presumably with the intention of luring prospective students to their respective diploma mills. That's arguably fraudulent and should be actionable by the ABA if it is not completely asleep at the switch. Don't these blights on legal academia ever come up for reaccreditation? And if so how in hell do they survive it? If this sort of behavior goes unpunished by the ABA then we really are hitting rock bottom.

Posted by: Carl Osterlee | Jun 7, 2016 5:27:47 PM

At least Blackstone College of Law and LaSalle Extension Universities, circa 50-60s Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines were somewhat HONEST. They were puffery ads and one knew it. The ads for those law schools appeared next to the bulldozer operator careers, flock guy, wall cleaner business, knife sharpener, lathe operator and mail order importer. Scammy, but al least you knew it. They made no pretense of being newsy and factual.

Posted by: Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King | Jun 7, 2016 9:14:40 PM