Tuesday, November 22, 2022

"Rankings" by defunct magazine finally being dumped

In the past few days, at least eight law schools have decided not to participate in the "rankings" put out by defunct magazine U.S. News and World Report (called by Old Guy You Ass News): Berkeley, Columbia, Georgetown, Harvard, Michigan, Northwestern, Stanford, Yale. Typical explanations focus on the flawed (or meaningless or irrelevant) methodology employed by You Ass News and the perennial manipulation of the idiotic "rankings" by law-school scamsters.

Those points are, of course, perfectly valid. And one might well wonder how a failed mass-market magazine became the sole authority on the quality of law schools. But Old Guy says that all of that is beside the point. The main reason to oppose these "rankings" is that law schools shouldn't be ranked at all. For years and years I have said that maybe thirteen law schools are worth considering, under certain circumstances. If I am right, there can be no point in distinguishing #14 (however identified) from #200, because no one should be going to either of those schools. And even the thirteen that possibly might be reasonable choices for certain people don't need to be ranked: Harvard and Yale form a little group at the pinnacle; then there are the other eleven. It is true that Stanford is not Duke or Georgetown, but nobody needs a numerical ranking to draw whatever distinctions exist within this small set of law schools.

The fatal flaw in the "rankings" is not the particular choice of criteria (although the criteria chosen by You Ass News are undeniably stupid) but the idea of "rankings" itself. Far more useful than any "ranking" would be an article—such as those published here—that said "Consider attending these 13 schools, but be careful" and "Don't attend any other school". Of course, there's no money to be made in that simple proclamation (which is why Old Guy will have to defer those plans to retire on the Côte d'Azur). Lemmings wouldn't heed it anyway: they would just go looking for some other publisher of "rankings" that would allow them to take pride in admission to the 37th or 56th or 83d or 121st best law school, as identified by some scam-profiteer.

Undaunted, You Ass News has announced that it will continue to assign these schools a "ranking", notwithstanding their refusal to genuflect at the temple of you-assiness. And something tells me that some of the institutions that had the temerity to defy godlike You Ass News will find themselves kicked down several notches next year. Maybe You Ass will take a leaf from Cooley's book and come out with a "ranking" that places Cooley in second position, ahead of all others but Harvard (or maybe Appalachian will displace the pride of Cambridge, Massachusetts). 

In other news, the scam-fostering American Bar Association is setting the stage for abolishing the requirement of standardized testing for admission to law school. Until recent years, everyone applying to an ABA-accredited law school (and also to most Canadian law schools, and even some in Australia and elsewhere) had to take the LSAT and divulge the score. Then a number of schools began to accept the GRE instead, on their own initiative. Now testing of any sort is about to become "optional". Of course, those who avail themselves of the option to skip testing will be overwhelmingly those who would score poorly. And where will these people apply? Realistically, to über-toilets. Although the measure is being passed off as a "progressive" way to promote "diversity" (perceived exclusively in racial terms, it seems), Old Guy predicts that it will serve mainly to let the über-toilets conceal some of their shittiness. If data on LSAT scores are reported at all, they will be skewed upwards by the simple expedient of encouraging the worst applicants to skip the LSAT. Once again, the ABA does a great service to the law-school scam.