Henderson on Law School Rankings

Josh Wright —  5 January 2007

Bill Henderson has a characteristically thoughtful post on the relationship between law school rankings and law student attrition at ELS Blog. Bill provides some evidence, based on research from a paper co-authored with Andy Morriss (Illinois), that 1L attrition increased significantly in response to the 1997 incorporation of bar passage into its placement methodology. Bill’s got some nice looking tables from the paper with his post, so you can head over there to take a look. Perhaps the most interesting finding (in addition to the variation in the change in attrition rates across tiers) is that “other attrition” has increased more than “academic attrition.” Henderson and Morriss’ take on this data?

Andy and I think it is the transfer student gaming strategy. In a nutshell, Elite school A or Tier 1 school B shrinks its 1L class, gets an LSAT boost, and makes up the revenue by admitting more transfer students, whose credentials are irrelevant for U.S. News purposes. **** Andy and I recommend that ALL outcome/placement data be released into the public domain: number of firms interviewing on campus; employment rates by practice setting; salaries by practice setting; MBE scores, controlling for entering credentials. This would at least force law schools to compete on value-added to students, rather than gaming. I wonder if the ABA reads this blog?

Anybody interested in law school rankings should check out the post.