A Value-Added Ranking of Law Schools

29 University of Florida Journal of Law & Public Policy 285-308 (2019)

AccessLex Institute Research Paper No. 18-05

24 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2015 Last revised: 20 Feb 2020

See all articles by CJ Ryan

CJ Ryan

Indiana University Maurer School of Law; American Bar Foundation

Date Written: March 20, 2018


Before and since the first publication of the U.S. News & World Report (hereinafter “U.S. News”) rankings of law schools, legal education has been characterized by competition. As the first mover in the rankings of law schools, the U.S. News’ rankings have changed the landscape of legal education. Not only do law students to measure the worth of law schools based on these rankings, but law schools are reactive to the categories favored by these rankings’ methodology in order to bolster their position relative to their peers. This fixation on one ranking may foment the progress of legal education toward providing quantifiable value to current and prospective students.

This article proffers evidence of the relative time invariance of law school rankings in the U.S. News, assesses alternative rankings systems, and proposes a value-added ranking of law schools. The value-added rankings represent an outcomes-based movement, in standard deviations, from where a law school is predicted to be, based on its students’ credentials upon entry to law school, to the space it actually occupies, given those same students upon their graduation from law school. This value-added ranking, in essence, measures the effect of attending the law school. The law school value-added measures deviate significantly from existing rankings systems of law schools and suggest that traditional notions of a law school's value ought to be reassessed under this new framework.

Keywords: Legal Education, Higher Education, Rankings, Law Schools

JEL Classification: C01, I21, I23

Suggested Citation

Ryan, Christopher, A Value-Added Ranking of Law Schools (March 20, 2018). 29 University of Florida Journal of Law & Public Policy 285-308 (2019), AccessLex Institute Research Paper No. 18-05, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2623728 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2623728

Christopher Ryan (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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