White Light/White Links—US News Dumped Its Second Tier?

I didn't take Real Analysis in college, but in my universe there's an integer b'ween 1 and 3 called "2".

I think it’s a bug with the website.  See for yourself.

(1) Debra Cassens Weiss, “After a Blogger Questions ‘Rankings Malpractice,’ US News Makes a Secret Change,” The ABA Journal

More importantly (and this is old news I did not know from last May), US News will change its formula for automatically penalizing law schools that decline to report their “employed at graduation” data.  Before, some’d game the rankings by only reporting “employed at 9 months,” which US News would then dock by 30 percentage points to guess at their “employed at graduation.”  Law schools with an employment gap greater than 30% were better off not reporting “employed at graduation” data and benefitted accordingly.

Why is this important, especially when yours truly likes all things statistical yet wearies at US News’ law school rankings?  According to TaxProf, the number of ABA-accredited law schools declining to report their employment stats has doubled over the last half-decade to 74, just shy of 2 in 5.  Given that the labor market value of a juris doctor comprises the bulk of its benefit to the purchaser, law schools’ employment data and compensation matter vastly more than location, class size, and everything else that Angel at But I Did Everything Right! pointed out yesterday.  Even though Law School Transparency successfully lobbied US News to publish all the disaggregated employment data it collects from law schools, especially the crucial “Graduates whose employment status is unknown,” it won’t help if a growing number of law schools simply refuse to submit their data.  As the legal sector employment problem worsens, we can expect employment data nondisclosure to increase despite calls for transparency.

However, contrary to how I thought the rankings worked, it appears US News does qualitatively penalize schools for not supplying sufficient data.  What it means by “RNP,” or “Unranked,” I don’t understand.  Hopefully the changes in the nondisclosure penalty will reverse the trend in opacity.  I doubt it will.

(2) Holly Ragan, “Law School Student Debt Crisis,” in Lexis Hub for New Attorneys

Ragan discusses the law school tuition bubble.  Here, I learned of St. John’s University’s clever ploy of pooling scholarshipped students in the same courses and then forcing them to compete on a curve.

(3) “Columbia University Announces Three-Year JD/MBA Program,” in FindMba

Others have reported on this, but it’s important to note that the student opting for this three-year JD/MBA still pays the same tuition required for the four-year program.  The student saves a year, but what does the university get?  The same money for fewer instructors.


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