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

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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.

"It doesn’t help that law schools are just completely obedient to the set of standards and jump through any hurdle that is erected by US News,” said Mr. Segal. “This is just a recipe for a bunch of self-interested decisions.”

The bottom line, said Robert Morse, editor of US News & World Report, in a note on the website, is that the rankings are done to provide one tool to help prospective law school students choose the best school for them.

“We at US News firmly believe the survey has significant value because it allows us to measure the ‘intangibles’ of a college that we can’t measure through statistical data,” Mr. Morse said. “The Best Law School rankings are not done to provide law school academics a benchmark to measure their school’s progress or to influence or be an instrument to direct educational policy decisions.”

Here are the top 20 law schools, according to the list:

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