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

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Ranking Law Schools by "Service to Society"?

Washington Monthly has published its second annual College Rankings based on "service to society":

While other guides ask what colleges can do for students, we ask what colleges are doing for the country.... The first question we asked was, what does America need from its universities? From this starting point, we came up with three central criteria: Universities should be engines of social mobility, they should produce the academic minds and scientific research that advance knowledge and drive economic growth, and they should inculcate and encourage an ethic of service. We designed our evaluation system accordingly. [The methodology is explained in detail here.]

Here are the Top 10 National Universities (out of 245), along with the corresponding U.S. News rank


Other notable national universities (Washington Monthly Rank/U.S. News Rank):

  • Yale (12;3)
  • Duke (23;5)
  • Harvard (28;1)
  • Penn (30;4)
  • Dartmouth (35;9)
  • Columbia (36;9)
  • Princeton (43;1)
  • Cal-Tech (110;7)

Here are the Top 10 Liberal Arts Colleges (out of 203), along with the corresponding U.S. News rank:


Other notable liberal arts colleges (Washington Monthly Rank/U.S. News Rank):

  • Carleton (12;5)
  • Pomona (15;6)
  • Bowdoin (19;6)
  • Middlebury (20;8)
  • Davidson (57;19)

Russell Korobkin has argued that law school rankings should encourage the production of public goods that law school are uniquely competent to produce.  Harnessing the Positive Power of Rankings: A Response to Posner and Sunstein, 81 Ind. L.J. 35 (2006); In Praise of Law School Rankings: Solutions to Coordination and Collective Action Problems, 77 Tex. L. Rev. 403 (1998),  Although he concludes that the production of legal scholarship best meets this criteria, he also discusses the role that the public interest can serve in law school rankings:

The practice of public interest law is arguably a public good, and it is arguably within the special competence of law schools to either provide this good directly or to encourage its production by law school graduates. Consequently, either the number of public interest clients served by a law school's clinic, or its faculty, or the percentage of a school's graduates who pursue careers in public interest law might be appropriate for consideration in law school rankings.

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» Universities Ranked by Service to Society from Fresh Politics
TaxProf takes a look at Washington Monthly’s ranking of schools according to “service to society.” Complete list here. Methodology here. The U.S. News top 10 rarely cracks the top 10. Surprised? Generally, top schools sunk, and medium schools rose. ... [Read More]

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» Universities Ranked by Service to Society from Fresh Politics
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Tracked on Aug 8, 2006 1:00:11 PM

» Aggies save the world from MeMo
Since I have no pitbull in the fight, I love getting UT/A&M all cranked up. Check out this list of universities and colleges ranked by how much good they've done. (Now, you may question the criteria. But hey.) The... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 8, 2006 3:30:01 PM


We are Penn State!

Posted by: PennStater | Aug 8, 2006 9:48:13 AM

Good get. Thanks for the link.

Posted by: Taylor Buley | Aug 8, 2006 1:27:49 PM

MIT rules. Those lazy Ivy Leaguers only managed to get one school in the top ten.

James Nelson
MIT Course 8

Posted by: James Nelson | Aug 8, 2006 2:04:50 PM

That's really interesting and seems pretty true from what I hear through science magazines, etc..

Eric F
MIT Course 6

Posted by: Eric F | Aug 8, 2006 5:27:43 PM