Paul L. Caron
Dean


Thursday, June 6, 2019

Muller: Significant One-Year Drops In U.S. News Law School Peer Reputation

U.S. News Law (2019)Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Significant One-Year Peer USNWR Survey Score Drops, Their Apparent Causes, and Their Longevity:

  • Rutgers-Camden, 2002, 2.8 to 2.5 ...
  • Loyola Law School, 2009, 2.6 to 2.3 ...
  • Illinois, 2012, 3.5 to 3.1 ...
  • Villanova, 2012, 2.6 to 2.2 ...
  • St. Louis University, 2013, 2.4 to 2.0 ...
  • Albany, 2015, 2.0 to 1.7 ...
  • Vermont Law School, 2.2 to 1.9, 2019 ...

This post isn’t really to shame any particular school or approve of how the peer rankings have reacted to scandals. It’s simply to note that some strong reactions do exist.

It also highlights the stickiness of the rankings. The cohort of voters can change fairly frequently. Voters include the dean, the associate dean of academics, the chair of faculty appointments, and the most recently tenured faculty member. Those positions change with some frequency—the typical dean’s tenure is 3 years, new faculty hires mean a steady stream of tenure grants, different appointment chairs as service commitments rotate, and so on. Nevertheless, the peer score remains tough to move. Smaller controversies, a USNWR mistake, or apparent randomness appear to have little staying power. But bigger scandals have prevented scores from ever returning to where they were before the scandal—even if the school has faced appropriate sanction and all the people involved have moved on. Whether it’s inertia or long punitive (and vindictive?) memories, the peer scores can remain depressed.

For the U.S. News peer reputation numbers for the last 12 years (listed by year of publication as in Derek's post), see:

For more, see Robert L. Jones (Northern Illinois), U.S. News Law School Academic Reputation Scores, 1998-2019

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2019/06/-muller-significant-one-year-drops-in-us-news-law-school-peer-reputation.html

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