U.S. News and World Report’s law school rankings have come under fire from a prominent law professor and even a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.Washington University Law professor Brian Tamanaha wrote in his book “Failing Law Schools” that “the rankings have law schools by the throat.”
Clarence Thomas, meanwhile, has said law school rankings encourage discrimination against lawyers who go to lower-ranked schools.
But University of Chicago law professor Brian Leiter might be the biggest critic of U.S. News rankings.
Leiter told National Jurist magazine last week that U.S. News rankings have created “perverse incentives” for schools. That is, law schools sometimes make changes that improve their rankings but hurt students, according to Leiter.
One measure, for example, gives law schools points if they spend more money per student, Leiter says. From National Jurist:
By Leiter’s estimation, the only reason Yale Law School, instead of Harvard Law School, is No. 1 each year is because of the per capita expenditures. Yale has fewer law students than Harvard and so must spend more per student. But the increased cost does not mean a better education.
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