Who Responds to U.S. News & World Report's Law School Rankings?

60 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2015

See all articles by Jeffrey Evans Stake

Jeffrey Evans Stake

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Michael Alexeev

Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Economics; Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration

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Date Written: September 2015

Abstract

U.S. News & World Report (USN&WR) publishes annual rankings of ABA‐approved law schools. The popularity of these rankings raises the question of whether they influence the behavior of law teachers, lawyers and judges, law school applicants, employers, or law school administrators. This study explores some indicia of USN&WR influence. Using data purchased from USN&WR, we attempt to determine whether USN&WR might have influenced (1) law faculty members who respond to the USN&WR survey of law school quality, (2) lawyers who respond to USN&WR surveys, (3) law school applicants choosing a school, (4) employers who hire law school graduates, and (5) administrators who set tuition. We find significant effects on the first three groups, particularly with respect to lower‐rank schools. That is, there may be “echo effects” of USN&WR rankings that are folded back into subsequent rankings and tend to stabilize them. We also find that rankings may exert some influence on tuition at law schools outside the top 40. We do not find evidence that employers hiring law graduates respond to changes in USN&WR rankings, either in median salaries paid or in employment percentages reported by law schools.

Suggested Citation

Stake, Jeffrey Evans and Alexeev, Michael V., Who Responds to U.S. News & World Report's Law School Rankings? (September 2015). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 12, Issue 3, pp. 421-480, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2648649 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jels.12078

Jeffrey Evans Stake (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-855-4444 (Phone)

Michael V. Alexeev

Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Economics ( email )

Wylie Hall 105
Bloomington, IN 47405-6620
United States

Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration ( email )

pr. Vernadskogo, 84
Moscow, 119571
Russia

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