Paul L. Caron

Monday, April 1, 2013

Angie's Law School List

Angies ListThe AALS, ABA, and LSAC announced today that they have partnered with Angie's List to construct a new law school rankings based exclusively on student reviews -- Angie's Law School List.  Beginning in Fall 2013, LSAC will provide funding for Angie's List subscriptions to all law students, who will be asked to review all aspects of their law school experiences.  Angie's List will compile the reviews and create rankings of all 200 law schools. From a spokesperson:

"I realized the need for such a rankings system when I had to hire a plumber last month. Following the U.S. News law school rankings methodology, I tried to select a plumber based on educational qualifications, reputation among other plumbers, and expenditures on their businesses. Then it hit me:  I only cared about the reviews of plumbers submitted by their customers.  I consulted Angie's List and found a great plumber, and thought: why not do the same thing for law schools."

For more, see here.

Update #1:  The Volokh Conspiracy:  Watch Out U.S. News, Angie’s List to Rank Law Schools, by David Bernstein (George Mason):

I wonder how giving all law students free Angie’s List memberships will skew local reviews of other businesses. Nascent lawyers are known to be, shall we say, more combative than the average twenty-something. Meanwhile, Paul Campos complains that Angie’s List will only survey current students, excluding those who (a) either failed out after falling victim to the law school scam or dropped out after recognizing that their job prospects were nil; and (b) law students who are so discouraged by the debt they are taking on that they are too depressed to respond to surveys. Thus, he claims, the rankings will actually be skewed in favor of bad law schools who are responsible for (a) and (b). 

Update #2:  ABA Journal, Is Angie’s List Getting Into the Law School Ranking Business?

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But seriously, who needs Angie's List when you can do this on Yelp for FREE? What is stopping anyone (students, clients, professors, alumni, partners, senior associates, etc.) from ranking/rating schools on Yelp?

The April Fool's joke is that anyone pays attention to USNWR after all these years and everything that has been written about the value of USNWR rankings. Get people on Yelp and give stars and reviews like on Amazon and you have a much richer, more real feel review.

And over time the reviews will stack up so the #'s will trend towards an honest rought best number that you can get.

So it is no longer time to suffer fools. Get on Yelp and get this started.

Posted by: taxguy | Apr 2, 2013 11:34:33 PM

Anyone who even casually follows the debate over the supposed crisis in legal education should be forgiven for taking the Angie's List idea seriously at first blush. Good heavens. It's actually not that bad an idea if you reflect on it.

Posted by: Jake | Apr 1, 2013 5:19:36 PM

Well done. Very funny that some folks didn't realize it was a joke.

Posted by: David Yellen | Apr 1, 2013 12:30:54 PM

Professor Maule,

Do you ever teach your students about a thing called context? Because you just got duped by a pretty obvious April Fools' joke. Yikes.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Apr 1, 2013 10:21:29 AM

We're all aware this is an April Fools' prank, right?

Posted by: HTA | Apr 1, 2013 9:26:40 AM

April Fools, I suspect...

Posted by: Dean | Apr 1, 2013 9:23:57 AM

This item is dated April 1.

Posted by: Steven Sorell | Apr 1, 2013 8:37:31 AM

Angie's List?

Why not the Yellow Pages?

Posted by: Hoss | Apr 1, 2013 7:44:19 AM

I can hardly wait for the Big Deals! Imagine the tuition discounts!

Posted by: Ken Hirsh | Apr 1, 2013 6:21:54 AM

Student reviews? The customers aren't the students. The customers are the clients of the students. Why not ask clients about their lawyers? That's more likely to generate a realistic evaluation of an attorney's education than the misinformed "the work is too difficult, there's too much reading, etc etc" comments found on too many law student evaluations. I'm sure Angie's List wants to hear from customers after the plumber is finished with the work, not while the plumber is in the middle of the job and the place is a mess. It's too bad that after sensibly ditching things such as what faculty at other law schools think that Angie's List replaces it with inputs that are no less irrelevant. As I tell my students, it's all about the client.

Posted by: James Edward Maule | Apr 1, 2013 5:52:53 AM