TaxProf Blog

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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Caron Presents Law School Rankings: Past, Present, and Future Today at LSAC Annual Meeting

I am presenting Law School Rankings: Past, Present, and Future at the LSAC Annual Meeting and Education Conference today in Tucson, Arizona.  I am speaking on a panel on The Future of Law School Rankings.  Here is the description of the panel:

As consumers, prospective students want answers to questions about law school. Like it or not, an ever–growing number of applicants rely on rankings to answer those questions. This session will explore whether law school rankings in general remain relevant and the impact rankings have. How can admission professionals use substantive information gleaned from rankings to inform and recruit students, and what else can law school administrators do to improve the situation? Are candidates aware of the drawbacks and limitations of the U.S. News & World Report rankings? Are there other methodologies, resources, or ranking systems available that offer candidates better comparative data? A law professor and the author of a book comparing law schools will offer their thoughts on the future of rankings.

My co-panelist is Richard Montauk, Stanford Law grad, former Latham & Watkins lawyer, founder of the Degree of Difference educational consulting firm, and author of How to Get Into the Top Law Schools (part of his series of books How to Get Into the Top MBA Programs and How to Get Into the Top Colleges).

It has been fun getting to know some law school admissions folks at the conference, and the location -- the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa -- definitely trumps the Marriott locale of the AALS annual meeting!

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I wonder if this entire panel is not a bit disingenuous. Law schools are a business today, serving as high tuition cash cows for their parent universities and feeding from the average prospective student's mistaken belief that a 6 figure income is guaranteed for most lawyers. The goal of the rankings, at least with respect to the top tier, is to show student's where they can have a better shot at that apple. The rankings serve that objective quite well, actually. And as long as law school tuitions stay this high, that really is the most important part of the decision--where can one get a job that will pay the loans off. Law schools have created the problem through their greed. Thinking of the rankings in any other terms is just not honest.

Posted by: Disgruntled former t14'er | May 31, 2007 9:23:48 AM