April 15, 2010
'Tis the Season
Posted by Usha Rodrigues

Spring is in the air down here in Athens, Georgia.  Azaleas are blooming, sundresses and shorts are out in full force...and U.S. News just releasedits annual law school rankings.  Glom readers have no doubt seen leaked versions circulating around for the past few days, but here are the official rankings.  Pace Brian Leiter, this event causes at least a minor hubbub in the halls of legal academe year after year. 

Any neophyte law profs out there, please keep in mind that whenever talk of U.S. News rankings surfaces at springtime cocktail parties/happy hours/receptions, a strict protocol must be observed.

Step 1: State: "Of course the rankings don't mean anything." (Pause and nod sagely).

Step 2a: IF your school has fallen in the rankings: repeat above, elaborating generally on poor methodology, including well-known instances of schools gaming the system by employing recent graduates as hall monitors, including every copy of the local bar association's newsletter in their count of total number of volumes in the law library, etc.  Repeat Step 1.

Step 2b: IF your school has risen in the rankings: observe that a higher rank will mean better quality students, more publicity and increased opportunities for development.  Smile at one another in congratulatory fashion.  Repeat Step 1.

Finally, while I leave hardcore rankings analysis to others, I'll observe one trend that virtually leaps off the page.

U Penn: 8à7

George Washington: 28à20

Illinois: 23 à21 

Georgia: 35à 28

New Mexico: 77à67

Need I say more?  The presence of a Glommer on an institution's faculty clearly correlates with an upward trajectory.  I leave it to you to determine causation. 

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