Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The ABA Doing a Whole Lot of Nothing about Law School Rankings...

Let me start off by saying that I absolutely hate the ABA and everything it does and doesn't stand for.  What angers me more than its mere existence, are stories published by the ABA that almost fool me into believing that the ABA is concerned about lawyers--only to find out that they are hiding the ace.  The primary concern always comes back to BigLaw.  Sorry, I don't do card analogies--but you catch my drift.

Ran into this story put out by the ABA. Apparently, the ABA is thinking about... getting to the point where... they may want to study how Law Schools and Law Firms are ranked. It's called: ABA to Study How Law Firms & Schools Are Ranked.  Notice the strategic placing of "Law School" first.

Let me give you the background.  U.S. News & World Report [hereinafter USN&WR] has decided to rank Law Firms in the same manner that they have always ranked Law Schools.  Well, this isn't going to happen until the ABA takes a good long look at their methods.  The ABA was alerted to the fact that rankings could be detrimental, because of its affect on the Law School Community:

“[The U.S. News] rankings have a profound impact on the law schools. The deans hate it,” said past New York bar President Vincent Buzard to the NLJ. “It seemed to us that the ABA should look into the methodology of these rankings and ensure that they are reliable and aren’t based on inadequate data.”

(As a side note, the ADA does NOT allow USN&WR to rank Dental Schools.--I need the source, but I know that to be true from my dealings with the dental community.)

 Apparently, the debate about Resolution 10A was FIERCE. But they voted in favor of the resolution stating "that the American Bar Association examine efforts to publish a national, state, territorial and local ranking of law firms and law schools." And this resolution passed by a narrow margin. This resolution is filled with empty language, promises and inaction, it's almost a non-resolution.  However, contrary to my sixth sense which told me that the ABA is a lying, cheating, scumbag, I felt my heart rate go up at the idea that the resolution might have some bearing on the Law School Industrial Complex.  But then I read on to see that the ABA's primary concern was 'whether “law firms will be induced to change their methods of operations and drive up the cost of legal services to the public in the same way that the cost of legal education has been distorted” based on LAW FIRM rankings. 

So, this isn't about Law Schools at all.  Rather, it's about Law Firms.  But implicit in that statement is acknowledgement that Law Schools have fraudulently driven up the cost of legal education based on rankings.  I have to sort this out in my head. They know about the effects that rankings have on the cost of Law School tuition and they are concerned that Law Firm rankings might have the same effect on the cost of Big Law to Big Business?  Let's solve the problem by dealing with Rankings as it relates to both Law Schools and Law Firms. So, the ABA stands for "American Business Association"???????  Or, are the ABA cronies working as partners in firms that may not make the First Tier Law Firm cut?  Would they still be entitled to T14 law grads--when they start hiring again in a few years?  I frankly don't understand (a) why they are feigning concern about rankings and Law School tuition on this late date and (b) why they are so against ranking Big Law.  What's good for the goose is good for the gander in my opinion.

"In a report accompanying the resolution, the measure’s sponsor—the New York State Bar Association—said “we know, based upon the experience of the U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of law schools, that there will be significant issues regarding the validity of the rankings.”"

Never mind the fact that I don't agree that the rankings propel Law School tuition into the sky.  These guys really need to get off the LSD. Even fourth year toilets are outrageously expensive.  Rankings are based on fraudulent data and even the lowest of the law/low, (i.e. Tom M. Cooley School of Law or Charlotte School of Law) seem to be a good option for law students.  After all, not one law school comes out and says, "30% of our last graduating class found employment.  But of that, 15% are waiting tables, driving cabs, baby-sitting, homeless panhandling."  Fraud... Like this "rankings" section of the Tom M. Cooley where it ranks #12 in the Nation.  I can't even make heads or tails of that Ranking Chart.  Can you?  And don't be fooled by Charlotte's cheap tuition.   They list the tuition per semester.  Is that fraud? I think so. 
And when it gets to self-reporting and the USN&WR, it's even worse. 
So, although the ABA article was entitled: ABA to Study How Law Firms & Schools Are Ranked--It should have been entitled: "ABA PUTS GAVEL DOWN AT RANKING LAW FIRMS AFTER ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THE SYSTEM OF RANKING LAW SCHOOLS IS RAMPANT WITH FRAUD."

1 comment:

  1. Angel, here is the source that shows the ADA does not allow publications or organizations to rank its member schools. Go down to Dental School Rankings about 2/3 of the way down on the page:

    “Dental School Rankings

    Dental school applicants should be aware that there are proprietary publications available that purport to rank dental schools according to the quality of their programs. The American Dental Education Association and the American Dental Association advise applicants to view these rankings with caution. The basis for the rankings are questionable, and even those individuals most knowledgeable about dental education would admit to the difficulty of establishing criteria for, and achieving consensus on, such rankings.

    All U.S. dental schools are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, and all have their relative strengths. A dental school ideally suited to one applicant might not be appropriate for another. The American Dental Education Association and the American Dental Association recommend that applicants investigate on their own the relative merits of the dental schools they might wish to attend.”

    Schools do distort their info, and the ABA is well AWARE of this situation. Even this industry cheerleader implies this in her editorial on National Jurist. I know you may need a rag over your nose and mouth to get through it, but read her commentary:

    (At least some people tried to correct her attitude, in the comments section.)



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