If you ever were to doubt how much power is wielded in the law school world by Bob Morse and the other staffers at U.S. News & World Report, let the following article convince you otherwise, reports the WSJ Law blog.
According to a George Washington University newspaper, the GW Hatchet, the university’s law school “took significantly fewer evening students this year in an attempt to combat an eight-place drop in the U.S. News and World Report Rankings.”
According to the article:
Senior Associate Dean Greg Maggs told about a dozen law school alumni at “The State of Law School” address that the school’s fall from 20th to 28th was caused mainly by an unannounced change in the way U.S. News and World Report tracks part-time law student GPAs.
“U.S. News, for the first time, without giving us any notice, said they wanted to count full-time and part-time students mixed together,” Maggs said. “Both our GPA and our LSAT [scores] fell substantially from previous years.”
So what did GW do? Simply take its lumps and accept its place as the 28th-ranked law school? Hardly. The school decided to take fewer night students. “We’ve been able to address that in a very simple way,” Maggs said. “We’ve taken less evening students.” Click here, also for a story from our own Amir Efrati from last year on a change implemented by U.S. News to put a halt to attempts to game the rankings.
Must be frustrating to have to work under a system that you view as deeply flawed. But such is life for Maggs, it seems. In the Hatchet story, he took his own hatchet to the way the publication tallies its student-faculty ratio.
“It’s a very unfair system, where we have 2,000 students and 480 full-time and part-time faculty and yet we’re told our student-teacher ratio is 16 to one when really it’s five to one,” Maggs said. “We hired six new professors last year and a number of visiting professors. Those numbers will be higher.”
Still, you can rail against it, poke holes in its methodologies, but the one thing you can’t do is ignore the U.S. News rankings.
GW law school alum Carlos Lucero, who helped prompt the discussion about the fall in the rankings, said that the school’s national reputation is integral to job placement for graduates.