Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Rankings from the ABA. Who Cares?

A fan of our blog sent along an email they received from the New York Bar Association. This is what - we'll call our fan, Unemployed, Esq - had to say:
I don't even know why I opened the below email since I usually delete anything from the NY Bar but I accidentally clicked this and was like WTF?!?!? Why do I care about the US News and World Report ranking law firms at the local, state, and national level. SERIOUSLY? This is the biggest concern right now? Why does this matter when nobody can even get a job? I stopped reading it after the second paragraph but I just had to share.

Thanks for sharing your outrage, Unemployed. I was about to write a rant for this but you pretty much said it all. The New York Bar Association clearly cares two shits about the thousands of laid off attorneys and unemployed law school graduates in their state. You said it, Unemployed. Who cares about rankings when we have an unemployment crisis to deal with?

Is this all the law school lemmings and the ABA really care about? Rankings at the local level?! Who needs that kind of information besides the law school lemmings who will brag about getting into the 2nd highest ranked law firm in Podunk? And what about pretending that they don't know why the law school rankings are flawed? As if the ABA and law schools are innocent of helping produce these rankings. This just looks like another opportunity for the ABA to work with USNWR and Best Lawyers to put out falsified information about employment statistics and earnings at law firms. The letter is posted below. Thoughts?

Office of the President

Dear Unemployed, Esq.:

I am writing to follow-up on an e-mail I sent you on February 17, 2010, to advise that the American Bar Association adopted a resolution sponsored by the New York State Bar Association directing the ABA to examine efforts to rank law firms and law schools. A number of people have said that they did not see the earlier e-mail so I am writing again. You can read the earlier e-mail by clicking on www.nysba.org/lawfirmlawschoolranking.

The resolution requiring the ABA to study law firm rankings arose out of the efforts by US News and World Report working with Best Lawyers to publish for the first time a ranking of law firms at the local, state and national level. The ranking would be like the current ranking done by US News for law schools with law firms being ranked as one, two and three on down in each community.

It continues to come to my attention that many of the law schools are concerned that there is a significant random error in law school rankings based upon a flawed methodology. Our concern is that if the same problems of validity, reliability and volatility in ranking law schools occur in the ranking of law firms, the reputations of law firms will be damaged in their community if they are unfairly ranked in relationship to others with the danger of present and future clients being misled.

The proposed rankings by US News and Best are based in part upon information to be provided by law firms at the request of US News including client lists, how partner compensation is calculated, how fees are calculated, the size of matters handled and other otherwise confidential or proprietary information.

Law firms can decide whether to provide information for ranking. We continue to urge caution in deciding whether to do so. There is a choice to be made. Law firms may choose not to submit information and advise their clients and the public that they are not participating in any ranking program until the completion of the ABA study. It is anticipated that the ABA will speak out and provide guidance on this issue based upon the Resolution referred to at the outset of this letter. The New York State Bar Association shall continue to encourage the ABA to do so expeditiously so that lawyers throughout the country can be guided by its findings. We anticipate that we will be joined by other State Bar Associations in this effort.

I take this opportunity to thank past State Bar President, A. Vincent Buzard, and other members of our Association who took part in our efforts to bring this before the American Bar Association and who continue to work with the ABA on this important matter.

Best regards,

Michael E. Getnick
President, New York State Bar Association

Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP


  1. Translation: "This might adversely affect law firms' profits per partner, and we certainly can't have that. US News & World Report must be stopped!"

  2. I remember reading this very email and thought it was a joke. It must be nice to have law firm rankings at the top of your concerns.



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