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Law school rankings: The results are out, but do they really matter?

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Instead of focusing on the fundamental issues of how well colleges and universities educate their students and how well they prepare them to be successful after college,” Mr. Cary said in a report, “the magazine’s rankings are almost entirely a function of three factors: fame, wealth, and exclusivity.”

When it comes to law schools, law professor Brian Tamanaha writes in his book “Failing Law Schools” that the US News rankings are among the most powerful forces driving behavior at law schools today.

In a New York Times review of the book, Stanley Fish, a professor of humanities and law at Florida International University, writes that this behavior is, at times, deceptive.

“A law schools dean who knows that the rank of her school will in large part determine the faculty it can attract, the quality of the applicants, the support provided by her university and the job opportunities of graduates will be tempted to fiddle with the numbers by (among other things) reporting high salaries for graduates when the pool surveyed is a tiny fraction of those who have the school’s degree."

Additionally, the rankings have delineated a host of sad priorities for law schools, said New York Times reporter David Segal in an interview with the American Bar Association Journal.

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