Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Introducing the First Voter's Guide to U.S. News

It's the final days of the election for many law professors: that is, the U.S. News survey asking voters to assess the quality of each school's JD program is due on Thursday. The Race to the Top project, which Dave Fagundes and I started a few months ago, just put out our first Voters' Guide in time for the final voting from the academy, and in advance of the lawyers/judges survey next month. We emailed it yesterday to all the law professor voters, but if you didn't get it by chance, you can download it at our website here.

For another indicator of the quality of the JD program, look at the student satisfaction data extracted from The Princeton Review by Paul Caron over at TaxProf Blog -- the key is to compare peer institutions in order to give different ratings to competitors, and thereby promote competition on quality. If everyone in the top 20 gets the same score -- a "5," for example -- then they just end up competing on who can throw the most money at students with high LSAT scores. This is essentially the status quo.

Over the next few days, I'll say more on why people who care about things like justice and meritocracy should care about this U.S. News survey -- yes, there's a presidential election, a global economic crisis, a quite-possibly innocent man about to be executed here in Georgia, and a few other things -- but this isn't just navel-gazing. It matters.

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