Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Daniel Solove (George Washington; Google Scholar), Slaying the US News Law School Rankings Dragon:
The battle against the US News Law School Rankings has finally begun. After decades of groaning and grumbling about how bad the rankings are, many top law schools have said they are withdrawing from the rankings, including 7 out of the top 10. I applaud this move, but I fear that law schools might break out the champagne too early. The battle might be won, but the war might ultimately be lost unless law schools do more than just withdraw.
Law schools aren’t really dropping out of the rankings; they are just pledging to refuse to submit certain data that US News wants. US News issued a statement declaring that it will continue ranking whether law schools cooperate or not. The dragon hasn’t been slain; it’s just not going to get some of the food it wants. ...
Reductive as rankings are, people crave rankings, and there is money in ranking for US News. Thus, don’t expect US News to fold. Rankers gonna rank. US News will just use whatever data it can get their hands on. ...
I fear that although the battle will be won, the war will be lost when we see the new US News rankings based on other data. To use a metaphor, the rebel is fine while rebelling, but often has no plan for governing if the rebellion turns out to be victorious. I fear that this is where law schools might end up. US News will quickly regroup and will be back with something new. Will the new US News rankings be better or worse? The cynic in me says worse.
The bottom line is that there is no way to fully vanquish rankings. If schools stop submitting data, US News will find other data, and the rankings might be better but could also be worse. There will be rankings, and there won’t be a void. I thus think the best options would be (1) to see if US News would willing to be more cooperative and develop a formula based on the input of figures in legal academia and the profession; or (2) for a group of law schools to take the lead and hire a firm to help them produce a better ranking (or set of rankings). Otherwise, come ranking time next year, the legal academy will find itself saddled with an even more shallow and damaging ranking system by US News.
TaxProf Blog coverage:
- Yale Law School Will No Longer Participate In 'Profoundly Flawed' U.S. News Rankings (Nov. 16, 2022)
- Harvard Joins Yale In No Longer Participating In The U.S. News Law School Rankings (Nov. 16, 2022)
- UC-Berkeley Is The Third Top 10 Law School To Refuse To Participate In The U.S. News Rankings (Nov. 17, 2022)
- With Stanford, Columbia And Georgetown, 6 Of The T14 Refuse To Participate In The U.S. News Law School Rankings (Nov. 19, 2022)
- The U.S. News Law School Rankings Are Like The Hotel California: You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave (Nov. 19, 2022)
- U.S. News Law School Rankings, ABA Optional LSAT, And Harvard Affirmative Action Supreme Court's Case (Nov. 21, 2022)
- Why Law Schools Outside The T14 (Like UCLA, Wash U, George Mason, Boston University, Pepperdine) May Refuse To Join The U.S. News Rankings Boycott (Nov. 21, 2022)
- Michigan Is Seventh T14 Law School To Refuse To Participate In The U.S. News Rankings (Nov. 21, 2022)
- Antitrust Implications Of The U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott (Nov. 21, 2022)
- With Duke And Northwestern, Nine Of T14 Refuse To Participate In U.S. News Law School Rankings (Nov. 22, 2022)
- Colin Diver: Are The U.S. News Rankings Finally Going To Die? (Nov. 22, 2022)
- UCLA Is Tenth Top 15 Law School To Refuse To Participate In U.S. News Rankings (Nov. 22, 2022)
- Dan Solove: Slaying The U.S. News Law School Rankings Dragon (Nov. 23, 2022)
- Bill Henderson: The Dollars And Math Behind Yale Law School's Withdrawal From U.S. News — 'Are Limits on Federal Student Loans The Best Way To End The Rankings Madness?' (Nov. 23, 2022)
- UC-Irvine Is First Non-Elite Law School To Join U.S. News Rankings Boycott (Nov. 24, 2022)
- Chicago And (Maybe) Cornell Are First Elite Law Schools To Refuse To Join U.S. News Rankings Boycott (Nov. 24, 2022)
- Is This The Beginning Of The End Of The U.S. News Rankings Dominance? (Nov. 25, 2022)
- Penn Evaluates Whether To Join Boycott Of U.S. News Rankings By Ten Of Top 15 Law Schools (Nov. 26, 2022)
- Law School Admissions Without LSATs, Race, And Rankings (Nov. 26, 2022)
- Here’s Why Top Law Schools May Be Pulling Out Of The U.S. News Rankings (Nov. 28, 2022)
- Yale Law School’s Revolt Of The Elites (Nov. 28, 2022)