Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Muller Models And Projects Forthcoming U.S. News Law School Rankings

Derek Muller (Iowa; Google Scholar), Modeling and Projecting USNWR Law School Rankings Under New Methodologies:

First, the criteria. USNWR disclosed that it would no longer use privately-collected data and instead rely exclusively on publicly-available data, with the exception of its reputational survey data. (You can see what Dean Paul Caron has aggregated on the topic for more.) It’s not clear whether USNWR will rely on public data other than the ABA data. It’s also not clear whether it will introduce new metrics. It’s given some indications that it will reduce the weight of the reputational survey data, and it will increase the weight of output metrics. ...

Muller Models

I used last year’s peer and lawyer/judge scores, given how similar they tend to be over the years, but with one wrinkle. On the peer scores, I reduced any publicly “boycotting” schools’ peer score by 0.1. I assume that the refusal to submit peer reputational surveys from the home institution (or, perhaps, the refusal of USNWR to count those surveys) puts the school at a mild disadvantage on this metric. I do not know that it means 0.1 less for every school (and there are other variables every year, of course). I just made it an assumption for the models (which of course may well be wrong!). Last year, 69% of survey recipients responded, so among ~500 respondents, the loss of around 1% of respondents, even if quite favorable to the responding institution, would typically not alter the survey average. But as more respondents remove themselves (at least 14% have suggested publicly they will, with others perhaps privately doing so), each respondent’s importance increases. It’s not clear how USNWR will handle the reduced response rate. This adds just enough volatility, in my judgment, to justify the small downgrade. ...

One last step was to offer a potential high-low range among the rankings. For each of the five models, I gave each school a rank one step up and one step down, to suggest some degree of uncertainty in how USNWR calculates, for instance, the 10-month employment positions, or diploma privilege admission for bar passage, among other things. That gave me 15 potential rankings—a low, projected, and high among each of the five models. I took the lowest of the low and the highest of the high for a projected range. With high degrees of uncertainty, this range is an important caveat.

Below are my projections.


U.S. News coverage:


U.S. News Response to Boycott

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