U.S. News & World Report is catching it from all sides in the legal community. They are being slammed for trying to rank law firms and accused of contributing to the decrease in minority law students. At its midyear meeting, the ABA passed a resolution to “study” these so called “rankings.”
This recent study in the Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice will not help them.
Deans and admissions officers told the researchers that the pressure to maintain or improve their U.S. News rankings can mean fewer slots for diverse students, who tend to score lower on the LSAT and have lower grade point averages. “Selectivity” — LSAT scores, undergraduate grades and schools’ degree of exclusivity in accepting applicants — accounts for one quarter of each school’s ranking.
Law firms have jumped on the bandwagon and are blaming the study for their decreasing diversity numbers as well:
The apparent negative relationship between the U.S. News rankings and diversity is bad news for major law firms, which face their own struggles with hiring and retaining minority attorneys. The latest Diversity Scorecard by NLJ affiliate The American Lawyer showed that the percentage of minority attorneys at large U.S. firms dropped slightly during the past year to 13.4%. Law firm leaders routinely cite the relatively small number of minority law school graduates as a hurdle to improving their own diversity.
Reporting from The National Law Journal.