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Why Trying to Rank Law Schools Numerically is a Non-productive Undertaking: An Article on the U.S. News & World Report 2009 List of "The Top 100 Schools"


The editors of the Law Review proposed that my contribution to this first issue address some aspect of legal education. I have done so in a fashion that the editors could not have anticipated and which—had I consulted them when I was turning over in my mind what subject to write about—they might have urged me to abandon in favor of some broader and deeper topic. But I did not consult the editors. I had no broad and deep issues of legal education in mind. But I realized that there was a narrow and rather shallow question that has rankled for years, and that I wanted to write a few paragraphs about. The question is whether the annual ranking of American law schools by U.S. News & World Report is a useful endeavor or a counter-productive one. I am convinced that it is the latter—that it is an incubus, bad for the health of legal education.