I thought I'd look a little at the differences between Brian Leiter's recent on-line survey of faculty quality and the U.S. News rankings. First an observation about the changes in the top fifty schools. There are five schools that appear in Leiter’s 2014 top 50 faculties that are not in the current U.S.News top 50 schools. They are (and the numbers following the schools are U.S. News rank school and average rank):
University of California, Hastings 55.5 54
Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva Univ 65.5 64
University of San Diego 79.5 79
American University 75 72
Brooklyn Law School 84.5 83
There are also five schools in the current U.S.News top 50 schools that are not in Leiter’s 2014 top 50 faculties. (And the number following each school is its U.S. News rank):
Wake Forest 33
I also looked at the correlations between Leiter's ranks, U.S. News data on peer assessment and overall rank, and Doyle's Washington and Lee Law Review rankings. The following table reports the correlations between those variables.
|Rank Leiter||Peer Rank||USN Rank||Journals, 2006-2013|
|USN Rank avg||.84||-.86||--||-.67|
For all correlations, N = 49 and p < .0001
I guess one of the things that really stands out for me is the high correlation between Leiter's ranking and the U.S. News peer assessment scores (.94). As long I as I'm talking about rankings, I want to say that last summer I posted a paper on ranking law schools using entering student data on LSATs, student employment data, and law review citations (which I use as a proxy for academic reputation). It's available on ssrn.
Update: I've been surprised at the amount of commentary on this post -- I guess it shows that people care about rankings, or something. Anyway, I think people might be interested in the differences between the Leiter rank and the U.S. News peer rank for individual. Here's a table that lists the schools in order of their Leiter rank and compares them to their US News rank. A negative difference indicates that the school does better on Leiter than U.S. News; a positive indicates that a school's U.S. News peer assessment rank is better than its Leiter rank. I noticed that my own school (UNC) does substantially less well on the Leiter rank than on the U.S. News peer assessment rank. Actually, I think UNC has the fourth-largest diffence between Leiter rank and U.S. News peer assessment rank (after Washington and Lee, which does much better on U.S. News than Leiter, the University of Illinois, which does much better on Leiter than U.S. News, and the University of Florida, which does much worse on Leiter than on U.S. News). I guess I should have voted. What's the slogan? "If you don't vote you don't count," or some such.
At the risk of sounding too self-promotional, this paper uses citations as a replacement for U.S. News peer assessment, which -- as some people point out in the comments -- rely on raters to have some knowledge about a bunch of schools.