Friday, March 16, 2012


The National Law Journal has a story about one of the four law schools here in Minnesota.  When US New issued its best law school rankings, I quit looking after number 19 as that is where our Alma Mater was ranked.  More astute readers of the rankings noticed that some changes occurred in how the other Minnesota Law Schools are ranked.  Specifically, unlike previous years where the William Mitchell College of Law was the next highest ranked Minnesota law school, this year the University of St. Thomas came in at No. 119 ahead of both William Mitchell at No. 127 and Hamline University which was listed as “Rank not published.”  However it turns out there was a flaw in the ranking.

According to the National law Journal story I linked to above, aadministrators for the University of St. Thomas say that they "accidentally" reported to U.S. News that 80.6 percent of the class of 2010 had found employment at graduation.  However the actual percentage of students who found employment was 32.9 percent.  The 86.5% figure is students who found employment nine months after graduation.  According to my math, and as a history major it very well may be wrong, That is an over reportaing of 245 percent.  St. Thomas says it is " deeply sorry to have failed to catch this discrepancy in our reported data."  The school says it takes "data accuracy very seriously."

The reason this is an issue is that the graduation rate at employment counts for 4% of the US New rankings.  The other reason these things are an issue is that, as Above the Law has been reporting, law schools are getting sued over deceptive use of post-graduation employment statistics.

It is not clear whether US New will revise the rankings or whether the revision would  result in a change to St. Thomas's ranking.  People with a more highly developed sense of irony than me will simply find it amusing that a law school that markets itself as being morally superior to other law schools finds itself in this predicament.

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