A Cross-Case Analysis of Top-25 U.S. Law Schools in the U.S. News and World Report Rankings from 1998-2012

A Cross-Case Analysis of Top-25 U.S. Law Schools in the U.S. News and World Report Rankings from 1998-2012

Brooks Seay


Emory Law School

2012

Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 12-184

Abstract:
For law schools, U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings dominate discussion on how law schools compare to one another. In addition to focusing rivalry, U.S. News’ ranking criteria has a powerful influence over the management of U.S. legal education. Also, American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation standards require law schools to make expensive investments that reinforce uniformity and increase costs. As a consequence, the prevailing practices of elite, or top-25, law schools are largely undifferentiated and conformity is the norm. At the same time, elite law schools are aggressively seeking to improve their position in the existing hierarchy by displacing one or more higher ranked law schools. The upward spiraling effect of schools pursuing identical strategies has resulted in strategic convergence, eliminating any meaningful distinction between close competitors. However, law schools ranked in the top-25 by U.S. News have changed over time.

In this quantitative method study, I will focus on four institutions that have moved significantly in the U.S. News top-25 rankings. I will determine what key factors were at play in their movement since 1998 and why these changes have occurred. Finally, my research design contemplates studying two private schools and two public schools. In doing so, I will examine whether public and private schools are facing similar competitive challenges or whether distinctions appear in this cross-band comparison of law schools.

Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers

Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers
The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) at the University of Denver.
http://educatingtomorrowslawyers.du.edu/

The site includes examples of innovative courses and and a respurces page with strategic plans, teaching strategies, and surveys.

From the description and press release:

“Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers” provides a platform to encourage law schools in the U.S. to showcase innovative teaching to produce more practice-ready lawyers who can better meet the needs of an evolving profession.

Rebecca Love Kourlis is the Executive Director of IAALS and a former Colorado Supreme Court justice.

“Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers leverages the Carnegie Model of learning,” Kourlis says. “Our project provides support for shared learning, innovation, ongoing measurement and collective implementation. We are very excited to launch this project to encourage new ways to train law students and to measure innovation in the years to come.”

William M. Sullivan is the Director of “Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers.” He also is the lead author of the 2007 Carnegie Foundation report, Educating Lawyers.

“Our goal is to encourage law schools that are already committed to innovation to share what they know in a structured, collaborative place so that other law professors may discuss and develop new teaching techniques,” Sullivan says.

IAALS will manage this initiative, the first of its kind in the country. The initiative is partnering with a growing number of law schools (including Stanford Law School) in a consortium committed to innovative teaching The initiative is fully funded by IAALS, the consortium, and the University of Denver.

Martin J. Katz, Dean of the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver serves with Kourlis and Sullivan on the initiative’s Executive Committee.

“We want to help law schools integrate three sets of values or what the Carnegie Foundation calls ‘apprenticeships,'” Katz says. “They are knowledge, practice, and professionalism. We believe this initiative can change how law professors and deans, students, and ultimately the legal profession respond to our changing world.”

Global Legal Education and Comparative Visa Regulations

Global Legal Education and Comparative Visa Regulations

 Luca C.M. Melchionna, St. John’s School of Law, Columbia Univ. – Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America

available on SSRN: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1392944

Legal education is slowly but steadily becoming global. U.S. law schools are adapting to the need to educate jurists who can work on cross border issues. Within the next 100 years, U.S. law schools will face the challenges of educating an increasing number of international students, while dealing with diverse legal systems.

In the next 100 years, U.S. law schools will expand overseas with several branches (at least one in every country or group of countries with legal and economic relevancy) and will embrace corporate form and a business approach. Faculty and administrators should carefully plan today for the future placement (in terms of ranking) and development (in terms of scientific breakthrough) of their academia if they seriously consider obtaining global presence, recognition and intellectual credibility. Those who do not have plans to globalize today will struggle tomorrow locally.

Only those law schools that are investing today in a solid globalization of their curricula and hiring faculty with diverse skills will be the primary actors in the field of global legal education in the 22nd Century.

This article has three main objectives:
(a) To define the issues currently influencing the movement global movement in legal education and their effect on its future development.
(b) To analyze the visa (or entry) regulations of the countries where U..S. students currently have the privilege of travelling for study or research purposes.
(c) To analyze the host regulations that U.S. universities have to face when they plan to offer educational services in a foreign jurisdiction through a physical presence in that jurisdiction.

An analysis and comparison of the entry regulations of 16 jurisdictions will be offered, with special attention to the French, Italian, E.U. and U..S. visa situations. The paper will analyze how E.U. regulations are not completely and uniformly followed by some member states and how U.S. regulations could be improved for at least short term study programs. The legal and economic consequences of these regulations will be addressed as well.

Article on Legal Education in Brazil

The latest issue of the Revista Jurídica Universidad de Puerto Rico has an article on reform of the legal education system in Brazil.

Legal Research in Brazil: Traps and Alternatives to Legal Formalism                                                                                               Caio Mario da Silva Pereira Neto and Paulo Todescan Lessa Mattos                                                                                          Revista Jurídica Universidad de Puerto Rico. Vol.77  No.2 (2008).

“We persistently talk of a crisis inlegal teaching in Brazil and otherLatin Ameican countries in spite of a the recent wave of innovative experiences in many institutions of the region. The diagnosis of this crisis is not new… it is possible to highlight at least two central aspects of the diagnosis: (1) an apparent incompatability between legal practices that are perceived as traditional … and the need for legal actors to be in constant transformation because of internationalization; and(2) the ostensible inefectiveness of the teaching methods employed , which are based exclusively on lectures where professors articulate abstract dogmatic concepts …”

Data on Chinese Legal System and Law Schools

Steve Roses and Chang Wang of  Thomson Reuters recently offered a Webinar on the Chinese Legal System and their WestlawChina database. As part of their presentation, they reported the following information about China:

1986 = 989,409 civil cases

2007 = 5,333,546 civil cases

 

40,000 laws and regulations issued since 1978.

 

Over 800 international arbitral awards each year.

 

143,000 attorneys in 2008 (up from 40,000 in 1993)

 

Lawyers per population

China  1:8.500

U.S. 1:300

 

Over 630 law schools and law departments with 244,121 law students.

 

12% pass rate for the Chinese bar exam.

 

Unfortunately, they did not provide sources for the information, but it does paint an interesting picture of the legal system and legal education in China. Many thanks to Steve and Chang for sharing their expertise and data.

 

 

China-EU School of Law

The new China-EU School of Law (CESL) in Beijing was created by a consortium of Chinese and EU institutions, lead by the University of Hamburg and the China University of Political Science and Law.  This offers students another opportunity for cross-cultural and international legal education.

Description from the CESL Web site:

By employing comparative approaches of legal studies and bringing international experience of legal education into China, CESL carries its mission to cultivate a new generation of legal professionals who are proficient in both Chinese and international law.
CESL offers (1) the program of Chinese Juris Master and LL. M. of EU Law (Master Programs); (2) the Professional Training Program for lawyers, judges and prosecutors and (3) Research and Consultancy Program, i.e. joint training for Ph.D. students.

China-EU School of Law

http://www.cesl.edu.cn/eng/index.asp

Hat tip to Knut Pissler of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law.

New book: How to be a Law Professor Guide: From Getting that First Job to Retirement

An new book from Vandeplas Publishing offering lifelong advice for someone interested in becoming a law professor. Might also be useful for library science students without JDs thinking of careers in academic law librarianship.

How to be a Law Professor Guide: From Getting that First Job to Retirement

Ronald W. Eades

Vandeplas Publishing

978-1-60042-051-1

 

Description from the publisher:

The “How to be a Law Professor Guide” is intended to provide an overview of the law teaching profession. Many lawyers think about going into law teaching, but do not know how to get that first job. This book will offer advice on finding that first position. In addition, getting that first job is only the beginning. Getting through the early years and earning “tenure” is harder than it looks. There is much needed useful information on gaining that job security of tenure. Once tenure is obtained, however, the job of law teaching does not stop. Law teaching is a rewarding, lifelong career. This book offers suggestions on how to continue enjoying that career. As with all good things, they must come to a close. The book offers some tips on moving into retirement. A prospective member of the law teaching profession should read this book before getting started. A new law teacher should read the book several times during those pre-tenure years. A tenured law professor may want to read the book to keep the career exciting.

Classroom cooperation among foreign law schools

Legal Education Digest (v.16 #2 pp. 46-49), published a condensed version of the following article by Daniel Bradlow and Jay Finkelstein: “Training Law Students to be International Transactional Lawyers – Using an Extended Simulation to Educate Law Students About Business Transactions.”  This article describes an international business transactions course jointly taught by Amercian University Washington Colleg eof Law and Dundee University’s Centre for Energy, Mineral, and Petroleum Law and Policy.  One class represents the buyer, a  U.S. drug company and the other class represents the seller, a state-owned agricultural cooperative in an African country. 

Full text available via SSRN: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1084071

Article Abstact:

The article describes an innovative approach to educating law students about the legal issues and the role of lawyers in negotiating international business transactions. It is based on our experiences in developing and teaching a course that is built around a semester-long simulation exercise and taught in counterpart classes at two law schools. The students in these classes represent the opposing parties and negotiate a cross-border business transaction involving a joint venture agreement, a licensing agreement and a long-term supply contract. The students, who attend either the American University Washington College of Law or the Centre for Energy Mineral and Petroleum Law and Policy at the Dundee University in Scotland, utilize written communications, video-conferencing and teleconferencing in their negotiations. In the paper we discuss the value the course adds to the education of our students, the challenges and pleasures of teaching the course, the response of students to the innovative approach to teaching, and ways in which the course could be adapted and enriched.

 

 

Global and trasnational law schools

The National Law Journal recently wrote about a new Chinese law school applying for ABA accreditation. http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202421959463.  The Peking University of Transnational Law (Shenzhen campus)  will offer a three year course of study mainly in American law taught in English.  Additional information about the school, in English and Chinese, is available at: http://www.stl.szpku.edu.cn/info/

Asia is home to other experiments in global legal education : Handong Global University International Law School (Korea) http://lawschool.handong.edu/english/default.asp  and O.P. Jindal Global University Law School (Haryana, India) http://www.jgls.org/    It appears these schools will teach local students, but employ faculty and staff from various countries.  The promotional literature for the Jindal Law School also states that they plan to raise $12 million for the library.  Here’s hoping that these transnational law schools presage an era of global law library collaborations.

 

 

 

Law school documentary: “The Trials of Law School”

You are thinking of attending law school?  Consider watching the documentary film, “The Trials of Law School” to supplement the film and televison adaptations of “The Paper Chase.”

“Trials of Law School”

Director: Porter Heath Morgan 

Zone IV Productions, 2006

http://www.thetrialsoflawschool.com/ 

Synopsis (from the film Web site) The Trials of Law School provides a captivating and real, in depth look at eight students, with different backgrounds and expectations, through their first year of law school as they encounter a new language, a new way of thinking, and a new way of life.

A heart-felt look at the lives of eight students, the film captures both the stress and emotion, both inside the classroom and out, as they try to juggle family and relationships with school commitments. These students, including a single mother looking for a fresh start, a husband and father of four, and a military wife trying to raise six children, compete with competitive and highly successful peers for grades and jobs that will determine their future.

Their journey is contrasted with insight from over 25 acclaimed law professors and legal scholars from around the country.

In an equation set up for disappointment and failure, some succeed and some don’t, and others learn to redefine success. Who will make it, who won’t?