Diversity in US News Law School Rankings? Non-existent.


It’s not a secret that we are not the biggest fans of the US News Rankings here at MSS. Trent has had multiple postings on the subject of the rankings and there’s no real reason to delve back into it except to say that the rankings themselves may or may not be an insidious plot by a evil mastermind living in a volcano.

But US News then came out with this little gem of a blog post. It begins by talking about how important a factor the rankings have become in the world of law school admissions, and all that swell stuff.

Then, toward the back end of the post, they drop an interesting little nugget about their diversity index, essentially saying that their rankings do not adversely affect diversity at law schools.

Isn’t it pretty to think so?

But as we demonstrated, both the number and percentage of minorities in law school decreased from 1993 to 2008, and one of the largest influences on law school admissions is those pesky rankings.

So, while there may not be a perfect method for making diversity a part of the rankings index on the US News Rankings (and we certainly understand their issues with normalizing national rankings across a broad spectrum of regions), not having any methodology is allowing law schools to essentially ignore diversity altogether.

Maybe, and I’m just thinking out loud here, national rankings of law schools are a bad idea expressly because they inherently cannot take all of these nice things into account. Just spitballing, as it were.

We don’t cast judgment here at MSS, and we are more or less ambivalent, as a collective, on the idea of affirmative action. But it is wildly disingenuous of US News to absolve itself and its rankings of culpability in this respect.

That crap don’t play.

3 Responses

  1. John says:

    Call me crazy, but I think the quality of law school’s student body (as measured by LSAT scores and GPA) is infinitely more important than its percentage of black and Mexican students.

    Crazy, I know.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Can you please comment on the change in rankings for UC Davis and Hastings? I was admitted to both and am having a hard time deciding between the two.

  3. spags says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    First, congratulations on your acceptances! Second, your decision might have been more difficult last year when Davis was ranking 35th and Hastings was ranked 39th. However, Davis went up 7 spots to 28th while Hastings slid to 42nd so it seems fairly clear that Davis is the way to go from a rankings perspective.

    There are other factors, such as where the schools are located or other considerations ($ comes to mind) that might affect your decision but right now Davis should be the front runner.
    Good luck with your decision!

    P.S. Check back on our blog tomorrow when we analyze the new rankings in more detail.

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