IndyLaw Net is an independent weblog written and managed by students and alumni of the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis, serving the IU Law-Indy community.

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Karl Born
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Sapere aude - dare to be wise
Friday, April 01, 2005
US News Speaks with ILN
Posted 3:55 PM by Joshua Claybourn
As part of IndyLaw Net's ongoing investigation into IU Law-Indy's plunge in US News & World Report's rankings, I spoke today with Bob Morse, Director of Data Research for the magazine. He provided ILN with an inside look at numbers for last year compared to this year. "These are not exact numbers for the ranking, but they are representative of why it (the drop) happened," he said.

Overall rank6395
Academic rank7361
Lawyer/judge rank66101
Student selectivity8499
Faculty resources2586
Placement rank108139

For a detailed explanation of how these factors are weighed, examine this analysis from Prof. Brian Leiter. There you will find that "placement rank" is a highly manipulable score that is entirely self-reported by schools. US News can varify neither the accuracy nor nature of employment from students at other law schools. Perhaps the most significant drop came in "faculty resources," another highly manipulable factor that is also entirely self-reported by schools. As Prof. Leiter notes, this factor hurts large schools since per capita measures penalize economies of scale. Moreover, like placement rank, schools are able to lie and mislead on their true per capita expenditures.

Asked about the dramatic change, Richard Folkers, director of media relations for US News & World Report, said "US News does not rank schools; our rankings are a journalistic enterprise. It is 75% statistical and 25% reputational." Pressed further on IU-Indy's change he said, "We do not make year to year comparisons, largely because the factors we consider will often change. The rankings attempt to provide a snapshot of a give moment."

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