Paul L. Caron

Thursday, June 16, 2011

U.S. News to Change Law School Rankings Methodology

U.S. News Logo Robert Morse, Director of Data Research for U.S. News & World Report, today announced that U.S. News May Change Its Law School Ranking Methodology:

There is a very strong likelihood that U.S. News will change the way it computes "at graduation" and "nine months after graduation" legal placement rates that will be used in the methodology for the upcoming 2013 edition of the Best Law Schools rankings, as a result of recent action taken by the ABA.

The ABA Council on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has taken a long-awaited first step by approving new standards to report law school placement data. These new standards should result in a significant improvement in both the quality and quantity of post-J.D. employment data. U.S. News had been among those urging the ABA to take action to improve the credibility of the important consumer information.

If more detailed information on types of legal jobs and full-time and part-time employment status was available from law schools for new J.D. graduates, U.S. News would collect it, publish it, and—where applicable—use these more detailed job type calculations in the law school ranking methodology. If the new ABA rules are implemented, U.S. News will use our own law school statistical surveys in fall 2011 to collect and eventually publish the entire new richer and more detailed set of employment and jobs data from each law school for 2010 J.D. graduates. When we gather this richer data set, we will be able to make a more exact determination of how our ranking methodology will change.

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It's all well and good with these new standards but what have they done to improve the job availability in the field after graduation. To my knowledge, there's plenty of law school graduates that wait tables all across the country because there aren't enough jobs for them.

I've personally wanted to quit law school altogether, but I've found motivation in people like Elizabeth K Lee, continued and finally graduated, purely out of passion for the job, but I really do hate this situation where I can't practice what I've learned.

Posted by: VersieC | Jul 4, 2011 2:27:12 AM

Per previous comment, NALP does make data public for individual schools. NALP has never and would never share its individual school grad employment data with USNEWS. NALP only publishes aggregate data for all law grads. The implications of the comment are that NALP would share with USNEWS, of we asked them. NALP, in my view, would never share data on individual schools with USNEWS. I would love to be proven wrong.

Posted by: Robert Morse, Director of Data Research, USNEWS | Jun 16, 2011 3:15:42 PM

Contrary to the US News claim above, detailed graduate employment information is available and has always been available as reported to NALP. US News has focused on two data points to the exclusion of many others.

Posted by: Mina Jones Jefferson, Esq., Assistant Dean for Professional Development, University of Cincinnati College of Law | Jun 16, 2011 11:18:05 AM