Enduring Hierarchies in American Legal Education

137 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2013 Last revised: 27 Mar 2015

Olufunmilayo Arewa

University of California, Irvine School of Law

Andrew P. Morriss

Texas A&M School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

William D. Henderson

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

Although much attention has been paid to U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of U.S. law schools, the hierarchy it describes is a long-standing one rather than a recent innovation. In this Article, we show the presence of a consistent hierarchy of U.S. law schools from the 1930s to the present, provide a categorization of law schools for use in research on trends in legal education, and examine the impact of U.S. News’s introduction of a national, ordinal ranking on this established hierarchy. The Article examines the impact of such hierarchies for a range of decision-making in law school contexts, including the role of hierarchies in promotion, tenure, publication, and admissions, for employers in hiring, and for prospective law students in choosing a law school. This Article concludes with suggestions for ways the legal academy can move beyond existing hierarchies and at the same time address issues of pressing concern in the legal education sector. Finally, the Article provides a categorization of law schools across time that can serve as a basis for future empirical work on trends in legal education and scholarship.

Suggested Citation

Arewa, Olufunmilayo and Morriss, Andrew P. and Henderson, William D., Enduring Hierarchies in American Legal Education (2013). Indiana Law Journal, Vol.89, No.3, 2014, pp.941-1068.; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-141; Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 269; U of Alabama Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2343381. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2333771

Olufunmilayo Arewa (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

Andrew P. Morriss

Texas A&M School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce Street
Fort Worth, TX 76133
United States

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center ( email )

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

William D. Henderson

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-856-1788 (Phone)
812-855-0555 (Fax)

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