Magazine amends grad school rankings

The Law School moved up in U.S. News and World Report’s revised rankings of graduate and professional schools, but administrators said the rankings are still unreliable.
“Virtually every law school in the country has problems with what U.S. News and World Report does,” said Sharon Reich, an associate dean of the Law School. “I don’t think their methodology is very credible.”
The magazine shifted the Law School from 23rd to 20th after determining it had incorrectly analyzed some of the school’s data. Reich said the magazine erred when calculating the Law School’s ranking by reversing the number of law graduates who were unemployed and seeking work with those who were not seeking work.
The magazine ranked the top 175 law schools as part of its national graduate and professional schools ratings. Criteria for each school included faculty resources, professional reputation and employment success.
When the original rankings came out March 3, some University administrators said they felt the school rankings were unreliable.
Daniel Farber, an associate dean of the Law School, said the improved status was good for student recruitment. But he added that the new rankings, which were released three days later, don’t necessarily reflect a particular school’s merit.
Farber also said it is difficult to assign reliable rankings to schools based upon abstract figures such as those used by the magazine.
“The idea of putting a number on the worth of an institution involves a lot of arbitrariness,” he said. “It’s sort of like trying to rank all of your friends one to 25, based on figures. It might not mean all that much.”
— Tom Lopez