Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Programs/Ranking Scam, Self Esteem, and Helping Your School

Did you ever wonder how important those rankings of specialty programs in law are. You know what I mean -- tax, IP, environmental law, international law, and on and on. This occurred to me, and I am sure others, some time ago. Let's say you've got 4 people on your faculty who teach Immigration Law. They actually are not very distinguished but then they create and LLM in Immigration Law. I am not sure how many of these programs exist but let's say 5, so now they are 6th. BOOM, U.S. News and World Reports announces that the program is the 6th best Immigration Law program in the US.  You know what comes next -- It is plastered all over the Law School web site, brochures are printed, and massive quantities of law porn hit faculty mail boxes across the country.

There is a slightly different way to think about it. Suppose your school has a program in Immigration Law that is ranked second in the nation. (Just in case, it is important to know that I have no knowledge about immigration law programs.) You look around at the actual professors in the program and maybe they are not so hot. In fact, it dawns on you that 50 other schools could take their existing immigration law faculty and form a program and yours would instantly drop to 52nd. What should you do. OK, I am going to get a little fancy here and bring in the Coase Theorem. You pay them not to start a program!

That is disappointing and costly but there is good news here too. Everyone actually should not get stoned but should start a specialty program instead. In fact, I think I may hang a sign outside my door that says: "Institute for Study of Law School Craziness." I am the director so I get time off and I will enlist 12 people as Associate Directors so they can put that after their signatures on all their correspondence. I'll also probably move to the mountains near a nice trout stream and "work at home" because as director I actually do not have to do much teaching.

You can do this too. Help the ranking of you school by forming up a program. It's good for your school and for self esteem. It does not matter if the actual people teaching are 20th best in the country. The program will be in the top 5 and then the teachers will likely believe they too are in the top 5. After all they are sooooo special. Or at least they are now.

So, how important are those rankings? If you think they tell you much of anything about the actual instruction that goes on I need to talk to you about some precious metals I would like to sell.


Anonymous said...

Yep so law schools teach worthless scholarshit and only really survive because of limitless student loans. The law profs deep down know they are worthless, hence why they are so obsessed with perceived status.

Peter Hill said...

Spot on with this write-up, I truly feel this web site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the information!