The longstanding attacks on legal scholarship all seem to assume a particular relationship between theory and practice, one that I believe is flawed. Recently, I responded to one such critique. There are others, with Justice Roberts and many other judges and practitioners claiming that legal scholarship isn’t worth their attention and isn’t useful to the practice of law.
A reader of my post about the N.Y. Times critique of legal education writes, in regard to the value of legal scholarship:
Much has already been written about David Segal’s article in the N.Y. Times, What They Don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering. I join the strong critiques of this piece in condemning it as a lousy piece of journalism — more of a one-sided hack job, riddled with errors. It belongs on the op-ed page of a trashy paper.
Over at WSJ Blog, Ashby Jones contacted Robert Morse to get his reaction to my post about how raters should fill out the US News law school rankings forms:
We caught up with Bob Morse, the director of data services for U.S. News, who said in his estimation, the 1-5 options generally speaking matched up with the level of knowledge held by the raters. “We’ve felt that the level of judgment isn’t granular enough to provide a wider scale.”
He also said that because the survey reports the results of the reputation question out to the tenths place, “we’re actually publishing it on a scale of 50; the results average out to be more granular.”
Every year, US News compiles its law school rankings by relying heavily on reputation ratings by law professors (mainly deans and associate deans) and practitioners and judges. They are asked to assign a score (from 1 to 5) for the roughly 200 law schools on the form. A 5 is the highest score and a 1 is the lowest. While many factors that go into the US News ranking have been criticized, the reputation ratings by and large are considered one of the best components in the ranking system. But should it be?
Let’s assume a knowledgeable dean filling out the form in good faith. How is he or she to go about filling out the form?