Way back in February, the ABA (American Bar Association) decided it was going to investigate the US News rankings of law schools with the hope, it seems, of finding out if they are at all helpful for prospective law students and law schools in general.
The result, as reported earlier today by Law.com, appears to be a resounding “Eh.”
Essentially, the committee in charge of investigating the rankings decided that there are some negative aspects to the rankings, but that there’s nothing that can really be done about it from an administrative perspective. Which makes sense, when you think about it.
The only thing that really keeps the US News Rankings in a position of power is the belief held by prospective law school applicants and law school admissions departments that the rankings actually mean something. Without an all-encompassing change in ethos by either party, there’s really not much hope that the rankings will lose any of their hold on the law school world.
What’s especially interesting is that the committee in charge of the investigation said that they were not looking at the rankings from a position of reform. They weren’t looking at the rankings in order to offer suggestions on their improvement; instead, they were looking to provide analysis of what the rankings currently do.
And then they end the report by plugging the ABA journal as the number one source for law school admissions information.
So, to recap: ABA committee decides they can’t really do anything about an independently-produced magazine’s law school rankings, but they think the publication the ABA churns out is actually pretty good. Hurray for self-promotion!