Friday, March 28, 2008

US News Law School Rankings Decline at BigU
How the Star-Tribune Handles It

"Hamline law school gets a bump in rankings list"

This is hilarious. The Strib of the Red Telephone handles the U law school's decline in the US News rankings in a most amusing way. Puhleeze... Let's restrict Homerism to the sports page. The PP runs rings around the Strib as far as honest coverage of goings on at the U. And they have a Pulitzer to prove it.

By the way, the rating change for the law school is in fact trivial. But the U made such a big deal out of this ranking that in decline they ought to at least acknowledge it. Live by the sword, etc. Either rankings matter, ... or they don't. Which is it, Bob? Tom?

March 27, 2008

Hamline University law school dean Jon Garon acknowledges he doesn't agree with how U.S. News & World Report ranks law schools.

That said, he knows the role that rankings play both in the ability of graduates to get jobs and in students' school selection process.

Because of that, Garon is pleased that Hamline moved from the fourth tier of law schools nationally to the third tier in the rankings that were released today. Hamline's dispute resolution program also ranks fourth nationally.

"The overall validity of U.S. News is so poor that you have to take it with a huge grain of salt," Garon said. "But it's nice to not be in the fourth tier.

"If it didn't affect the lives of our students, I would be able to totally ignore it. But it does. ... At the end of the day, my job is to make our students as successful as possible and this helps me do it."

The rankings of Minnesota's other three law schools remained stable. The University of Minnesota dropped two spots from No. 20 to No. 22 among the nation's 185 fully accredited law schools. The University of St. Thomas remains in the third tier (schools ranking from 105 to 141) and the William Mitchell College of Law remains in the fourth tier (schools ranking from 142 to 185).

The Law School co-deans reaction:

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:

Some local newspapers reported this morning that the current U.S. News Rankings show us in a tie for 22nd place. Many law schools are closely ranked and a slight shortfall in any one of the technical categories can lead to a shift of one or two places, as happened this year. The U.S. News ranking is a combination of many factors (e.g., reputation among other legal educators and practitioners, LSAT scores of the entering class, what percentage of applicants we accept, how many books are in the library, etc.). We plan to address the particular factors that have caused a decline this year.

One key factor is our reputation among the leaders of other law schools. On that measure we remain in the Top 20. We expect to build on this academic reputation, and to address the technical factors that have caused a slight decline. We also believe that the arrival of a permanent dean - Dean Wippman - this summer will also help in bolstering our rankings.

Dean Wippman is committed to maintaining and improving the quality of the school. We look forward to working with him to address this question.

Fred Morrison and Guy Charles

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