Paul L. Caron

Monday, December 12, 2022

Simkovic On The U.S. News Rankings Boycott

US News (2023)Michael Simkovic (USC; Google Scholar):

Standardized Test Scores and Law School Rankings (Dec. 9, 2022):

My bet is that if the rankings emphasized standardized test scores less, most law schools would shift even more toward serving students from wealthier backgrounds, and would also increase their net prices and the shadow price of expected donations from students' families.  In other words, law schools—like the unreformed, less effective, and corrupt British Navy of old—would sell seats to the highest bidder. 

Idiosyncratically defined diversity will likely continue to serve as a rationalization for profit-maximizing practices.  Educators, public officials, and media organizations have been arguing for decades that diversity justifies departures from identity-neutral meritocratic standards.  Nevertheless, most of the population still considers universities' race, ethnicity, and legacy admissions policies unethical.  They prefer test scores, grades and community service.

David Bernstein (George Mason; Google Scholar), USC Lawprof Michael Simkovic Defends the LSAT:

FWIW, when I was at Yale Law, first semester was pass/fail, so there was no objective way for employers to determine how one was performing in law school. The result was a clear pattern: students with connections, who went to the most elite private colleges (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and the like), or otherwise appeared attractive on rather subjective grounds to employers got summer jobs at big firms. My friends who went to excellent-but-not-quite-Harvard undergrads like Berkeley, Trinity, or SUNY Binghamton, and who didn't have parents who were prominent lawyers, politicians, or the like did not. So agree or disagree overall with Simkovic, it does strike me that the absence of the objective indicator of grades un-leveled the playing field, and I think the same would happen in law school admissions.

U.S. News coverage:


U.S. News Response to Boycott

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