On the docket:
- Using data from both full-time and part-time programs to calculate a school's GPA and LSAT averages, rather than only the full-time data.
- Comparing a school's bar passage rate against only other ABA-accredited schools. The proposal has received some criticism, but I applaud the US News for taking a closer look at the law methodology.
Tweaking the average GPA/LSAT data and Bar passage info is a good idea and US News shouldn't stop there.
I think the US News should completely revamp how they weigh faculty resources.
Faculty resources currently account for 15% of the total ranking and
include expenditures per student, student/faculty ratio, and library resources (number of volumes). Weighing the number of physical volumes
seems silly because of a little thing called the Internet, and
specifically Westlaw/Lexis. I bet you that you can go through
law school without cracking a physical reporter volume. The ability to
navigate physical volumes is a neat
party trick skill, but it shouldn't impact school rankings.
The expenditures per student only take into account the amount spent, not where the dollars go. In theory, US News would reward School A for spending an absurd amount of money on a service that School B provides not only better, but cheaper. Kinda silly if you ask me.
I'm not sure how useful the ranking are to anyone other than college students unfamiliar with each law school and prestige whores obsessing about moving up or down one spot, but the US News rankings are still the biggest law school ranking authority. I'm glad to see that the US News is thinking about the methodology and asking for feedback, I just hope that they continue tweaking away to prevent schools gaming the system.