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Methodology affects law-school rankings

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An annual report ranking graduate schools puts two law schools in Indiana at a tie for 23rd, while one dropped nearly 20 spots to 87 and was ranked at 21 in the first-ever ranking of part-time programs. A fourth was ranked as a Tier 4 school, where schools are listed alphabetically.

U.S. News & World Report's annual report of graduate schools used data from fall 2008 and early 2009 and is officially available today. The overall scores used for rankings are based on a weighted average of 12 measures, including median LSAT scores, acceptance rates, employment rates for graduates, bar passage rate, and student-faculty ratio. Law schools must be accredited and fully approved by the American Bar Association and draw the majority of its students from the U.S. in order to be listed.

The University of Notre Dame Law School and Indiana University Maurer School of Law - Bloomington were tied at 23rd.

Last year, Notre Dame was ranked at 22, up from 28 in the rankings released in 2007. In rankings released in both 2008 and 2007, Indiana University Maurer School of Law - Bloomington was ranked at 36. This is the first year the Bloomington law school ranked in the top 25.

Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis ranked at 87, down from 68 in the rankings released in 2008, but similar to 85 in rankings released in 2007.

Gary R. Roberts, dean of the IU School of Law - Indianapolis, blamed a change in the methodology for the school's difference of almost 20 spots from last year.

"In fact, by any objective measure our law school is the same, if not stronger, than it was last year," Roberts said in a statement.

Unlike previous years, this year's ranking system included "class admissions data for both full-time and part-time entering students for the median LSAT scores, median undergraduate grade-point averages, and the acceptance rate in calculating the school's overall ranking," according to the publication's Web site.

Previous law school rankings only included the above data for full-time entering students. Since 1990, part-time J.D. students' data had been included for all other statistical variables.

The Indianapolis law school also ranked eighth in a top 10 list for best legal writing programs, and 10th in a top 10 list for teaching health-care law. It was the only one in Indiana to rank in these or other top 10 lists that included clinical training, dispute resolution, environmental law, intellectual property law, international law, tax law, and trial advocacy.

Also, in this year's first ever rankings of 87 part-time law school programs at ABA accredited law schools, Indianapolis' only law school ranked at 21, tied with Catholic University of America (Columbus) in Washington, D.C., and DePaul University in Chicago, which was also one of six law schools that tied the Indianapolis law school in the overall rankings.

Valparaiso University School of Law has consistently been ranked as a Tier 4 school; the school's part-time program ranked at 52, tied with seven other schools.

Nationwide, some law schools have denounced the magazine's ranking system, saying it puts too much emphasis on LSAT scores and GPAs, adding that prospective students should look beyond these rankings to determine which school is their best match. Other studies and law school rankings do exist; at this time the U.S. News and World Report rankings are the most well-known.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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