Fair Warning to Law Schools... and an Invitation to 1Ls, 2Ls & 3Ls

Green Bag 2d, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 137-145, Winter 2008

George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 08-07

10 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2008 Last revised: 10 Dec 2012

See all articles by Ross E. Davies

Ross E. Davies

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School; The Green Bag

Date Written: February, 2008


Aspiring law students and professors should have more and better information about the relative quality of law schools. Unfortunately, the people in the best positions to provide that information - the AALS and ABA - have powerful reasons to avoid doing so. The void has been filled in part by the U.S. News rankings. We could go on about their defects and limitations, but we have done that before. U.S. News could improve its product, but why bother? Doing more and better work would be costly, and in the absence of a genuine competitive threat there is no reason to make the investment. Enter the Deadwood Report, in which the Green Bag will provide rough and admittedly partial but transparent measures of law school faculty quality by measuring teaching, scholarship, and (eventually) service. Law schools generally hold themselves out as institutions led by faculties whose members are committed to working in all three areas. Why? Because - according to the law schools and many leaders of the profession - the best teachers tend to be active scholars, and the best scholars tend to be active teachers, and all the best lawyers of every stripe engage in service for the public good. Evidence of the law schools' commitment to this view is reflected in the practically universal requirement of high achievement in all three areas for tenure. And so we should be able to say with some confidence that a good law school will have a faculty consisting of hard-working teacher-scholar-humanitarians. The Deadwood Report will simply test the accuracy of that picture. Our focus will be on the most dully objective of measures: whether the work is being done - whether each law school faculty member is teaching courses, publishing scholarly works, and performing pro bono service.

Keywords: U.S. News & World Report, Leiter, faculty, law schools, education, publishing, scholarship, teaching, service, Deadwood Report, ratings

JEL Classification: I2, I20, I21, I28, K00

Suggested Citation

Davies, Ross E., Fair Warning to Law Schools... and an Invitation to 1Ls, 2Ls & 3Ls (February, 2008). Green Bag 2d, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 137-145, Winter 2008, George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 08-07, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1096432 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1096432

Ross E. Davies (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

The Green Bag ( email )

6600 Barnaby St., NW
Washington, DC 20015
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.greenbag.org

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