The Legal Beat
What Would Law School Look Like In A World Without The U.S. News Rankings?
Posted on Tuesday March 12, 2019
In the absence of U.S. News, law schools will continue to compete hard–for students, for faculty, for accolades. The prestige race didn’t begin with U.S. News and it wouldn’t end with its demise. However, the fine-grained character of the competition, focusing on some matters which are only tangentially related to educational quality (such as expenditures-per-student) and others which are honestly beyond the law school’s control (such as reputational surveys) would change. Schools might compete on a more eclectic set of dimensions. Maybe, for example, diversity (in students and in faculty), public interest and/or technology focus in the program, and the quality of post-graduate jobs, would become more meaningful factors. None of this is picked up currently in the rankings. If U.S. News rankings vanished, other rankings would emerge to try to take its place. The good news is that there might be a range of rankers (think here of Business Schools) and that would give law schools more flexibility and, ultimately, our students more information. All to the good!
— Dan Rodriguez, former dean at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, waxing poetic about all of the “more meaningful factors” law schools could focus on if the U.S. News law school rankings ceased to exist, but at the same time, acknowledging the fact that lawyers are so obsessed with prestige that a new ranking would replace U.S. News.
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.