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by Vault Law Editors | April 24, 2009


On Wednesday, US News officially released its 2010 law school rankings (though many readers got a sneak peak earlier in the week). Despite the attempt of perennial critic Brian Leiter to launch a bloggers’ boycott (“The fact that this garbage appears in a major 'news' magazine doesn't change the fact that it is garbage.”), the blogosphere resounds with ranking rehash.

Above the Law is posting a series of open threads about closely-ranked schools; U.S. District Court Judge Louis Pollak has published an article on “Why Trying to Rank Law Schools Numerically Is a Non-productive Undertaking”; and “the absurdity of US News” is discussed from the perspective of a political scientist who has studied its methodology.

In addition to the view that any law school rankings are by their nature “ridiculous,” specific criticisms of the US News approach include undue emphasis on academic peer assessments, the extent to which the rankings depend on “manipulable data”, and the insufficient attention given to criteria that really matter—i.e.,“the perception of your potential future colleagues and employers.”

For critics in the latter camp, there is an alternative ranking that exclusively measures employability, as determined by law firm professionals directly involved in the assessment of law school graduates.

In any case, before you get too caught up in the griping and sniping, try to keep some perspective. While I’m hardly one to dismiss the value of rankings, consider the words of one commenter on the WSJ’s Law Blog: “The obsession with ‘prestige’ is why people hate lawyers. Don’t go somewhere you’ll be unhappy just for the sake of ‘prestige,’ because you’ll soon find that you hate lawyers too. Life is too short.”

- posted by vera


Filed Under: Law