In re: US News Law School Rankings Out

images.jpgLove, hatem, or don’t even care about them, the newest edition of the US News & World Report Law School Rankings have come out (see OSU press release on Grad Schools). The big news around here in Columbus was the big jump from 39th in the nation, all the way up to 31st of our school. Comment boards on various law blogs have been full of comments about the lunacy of these new rankings, the massive swings, the conspiracy theories and the questions of how their schools could be so overlooked or mistreated. Lost through all of this often seems to be the fact that these rankings are based solely on data, including the votes of a set of professors and various enrollment data, test scores, donation amounts and number of library books. In no way of course do any of these really effect your education, but needless to say taken together they may give some indication of how good a school is.

So why did Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law go up so much this year then? Did we suddenly get smarter. Well actually, based on last years bar passage rates in Ohio you could probably say we aren’t as we did horrendous with the Ohio bar (it should be noted that the best and brightest will usually leave Ohio, whereas other Ohio schools this may be less so). So what is it then? Well one factor is that the data is old, it is a few years old as it must be gathered and crunched first before hitting the newsstands, so major changes in the schools is trickling in now, including at OSU massive gifts that improved certain areas of teaching tremendously. Of course once you get a bump in rankings it is likely that applications will improve and the rankings can become a self fulfilling prophecy. Also as Prof. Berman pointed out in his blog posting national exposure from athletics would seem not to hurt you, but alas Florida hasn’t received the bump you would expect.

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