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New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:59 pm
by jenesaislaw
Today, Law School Transparency announces an alternative to the U.S. News law school rankings: The LST Score Reports.

LST has developed the Score Reports in an effort to produce a tool to help prospective students make application and enrollment decisions, keeping in mind that each person has a different risk tolerance, financial situation, and set of career aspirations.

The Score Reports are user-friendly tools for sorting law school employment outcomes, projected costs, and admissions stats. There is a Score Report for every state (includes only schools that place graduates there), every school (called a profile), and job types. They measure job outcomes, use a regional scope, and use real terms about the outcomes to allow prospective students to make an educated decision about not just which school to attend, but whether any school happens to meet their needs.

The Score Reports are not rankings, although they do serve as an alternative to conventional law school rankings. But unlike rankings, the Score Reports do not reduce complex data to a single metric. Instead, the Score Reports focus on observable relationships to specific legal markets and job types. Only a small handful of schools have a truly national reach in job placement. The rest have a regional, in-state, or even just local reach. A decision tool should not obfuscate this reality; it should embrace it.

You can view the Score Reports, and read more about them, by following these links:

The Score Reports: http://www.lstscorereports.com
Guide to Using the Score Reports: http://www.lstscorereports.com/?r=guides&show=12
The Value of the U.S. News rankings: http://www.lstscorereports.com/?r=guides&show=13
Methodology, Published in the Journal of Legal Metrics: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2106814

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:03 pm
by jenesaislaw
Thanks to the TLSers who beta tested and offered very valuable feedback.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:09 pm
by rad lulz
Looks great y'all.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:12 pm
by Rahviveh
The work you guys do is absolutely fantastic.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:33 pm
by usfvictor
Great work.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:07 am
by jenesaislaw
Thanks everybody. Lots of people using it so far -- happy to see that.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:35 am
by AlanShore
This is EXCELLENT. Thank you so much!

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:39 am
by AlanShore
Hey Jene, for "receiving discounts", are you including only scholarships and financial aid (that you don't have to pay back), anything else?

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:51 am
by jenesaislaw
AlanShore wrote:Hey Jene, for "receiving discounts", are you including only scholarships and financial aid (that you don't have to pay back), anything else?


This includes any scholarship, merit-based or need-based, from the law school or university. It does not include savings, family contributions, or outside contributions/scholarships/grants. Working on getting the median discount data in. Just finally got it last night at about midnight.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:43 pm
by epiphinous7
Really amazing. Thanks so much!

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:33 am
by jenesaislaw
Yup! Happy you all are liking it.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:25 am
by bhan87
It should be mandatory for every law school applicant to look through this site before applying.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:03 am
by buddyblack
jenesaislaw wrote:The Score Reports are not rankings, although they do serve as an alternative to conventional law school rankings. But unlike rankings, the Score Reports do not reduce complex data to a single metric. Instead, the Score Reports focus on observable relationships to specific legal markets and job types. Only a small handful of schools have a truly national reach in job placement. The rest have a regional, in-state, or even just local reach. A decision tool should not obfuscate this reality; it should embrace it.


To that end, in the future will it be possible to sort by region of the country? Or by a metropolitan area/locality? Right now I've only been able to sort by state (though that might be because i'm tired and dumb). I imagine the data might be hard to come by but it'd be useful.

Also, like everyone has else said, this is great! Thanks for the doing good work.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:18 am
by FeelTheHeat
rad lulz wrote:Looks great y'all.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:31 am
by jenesaislaw
buddyblack wrote:To that end, in the future will it be possible to sort by region of the country? Or by a metropolitan area/locality? Right now I've only been able to sort by state (though that might be because i'm tired and dumb). I imagine the data might be hard to come by but it'd be useful.

Also, like everyone has else said, this is great! Thanks for the doing good work.


We actually have sufficient data to do the regional sorts, and the programming and design are actually in place. Unfortunately, it proved to be a terrible feature that did not produce reasonable sorts. In the end we decided if a person was genuinely interested in placement in any states in a region, they could just look at the state reports and see the overlap. This was better than putting schools in reports they really don't belong on, or leaving schools off that do belong.

I purposefully did not get into the details of why it didn't work because I'd like you (or anybody else) to suggest how they would go about creating regional reports. The state reports have one simple rule: place 5% of all graduates into the state. (In the future, we'll probably do this over 3 years, but don't have the data to do that right now.) What rule(s) would you use for regions?

As for metro areas/localities, yes, I would love to do that, but we do not have the data to do that. I think we're a few years away from being able to do it, even though the schools and ABA have all of the data we'd need to get it done already. It's time for the ABA and schools to put their money where their mouth is on lessening the impact of the U.S. News rankings.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:10 pm
by Granfalloon12
Thank you very much for these statistics -- while it's disheartening to see the dismal employment statistics of some of the schools I'm looking at (American is a pretty bad investment, apparently) I'm definitely glad to have these statistics and be able to compare and contrast schools with more information at hand.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:48 pm
by jenesaislaw
You're welcome.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:56 pm
by helix23
This is awesome.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:28 pm
by jenesaislaw
Does anybody want to talk to a reporter about the Score Reports?

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:56 pm
by AlanShore
jenesaislaw wrote:Does anybody want to talk to a reporter about the Score Reports?

I'm interested. 0L.

Re: New Alternative to U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:16 pm
by jenesaislaw
Sadly I think it's too late. Will keep you in mind if anybody else asks.