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US News and World Report Ranking Flaws

“In my opinion, the U.S. News & World Report rankings are flawed in several ways,” said Noah, the co-founder of inGeniusPrep. He continued, “the major flaws are based on their complex formulas including many seemingly inconsequential metrics for gauging the worth of a law school.

While rankings based solely on prestige (measured by statistically sound opinion polls of practitioners, law professors, etc.) certainly have their own problems, this might even be better than their random amalgamation of unimportant metrics.”

The real problem lies in blind reliance on these rankings and in the way in which many law schools try to improve their standing as measured by certain metrics.

For instance, one law school has tried to offer research assistant positions or other administrative-type positions to law graduates who have been unable to find a job in order to juke the stats for a category such as "Graduates with legal jobs within 6 months of graduation."

These statistics are misleading and the behavior of some law schools here to increase their rankings position and thereby attract more applicants and more matriculants is problematic because it causes schools to misappropriate funding and other important resources that could otherwise be put to better use.

Moreover, students relying on rankings will often make a choice based on which schools are ranked higher. This means that the rankings, for some, serve as a proxy for more thorough investigation into what schools would best match one's interests, skills, and aspirations. This thought-provoking blogpost --  An Interdisciplinary Approach to Law School -- written by a Harvard Law School student who works as a law school admissions counselor at inGenius Prep raises some important considerations that students should consider when evaluating different law schools and their "fit" at a particular school.

According to David Mainiero, the head of the JD Division at inGenius Prep, “people often come to us asking to get them into a ‘top 10 school’ without regard anything but the prestige associated with these rankings…we try to advise students what schools might be good fits based on their interests, background, and aspirations.” These considerations are becoming increasingly more important as law has began to transcend the boundaries of several other disciplines.

In reality, the ranking formulas might be tweaked every so often to mix things up, so the rankings are constantly in flux.

U.S. News & World Report's rankings aren't the problem and they aren't doing anything wrong in publishing them. In fact, they can be very helpful if used properly. However, law schools jostling for position and prospective students relying on these rankings are troubling.

Christian is a Marketing Communications practitioner in Quezon City. He is an Igorot from Sagada, Mountain Province. To get in touch with him, please shoot an email to christianaligonow@gmail.com.


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