AUSTIN, Texas — National surveys of law professors, lawyers, and judges by U.S. News & World Report have ranked The University of Texas School of Law 13th (reputation among lawyers and judges) and 14th (reputation among academics) nationally in the magazine's recently released rankings of graduate schools. This marks an improvement from 15th in each category last year.
"It's gratifying to see improvement in these rankings, notwithstanding their well-known methodological flaws," noted Interim Dean Steven Goode. "It helps to bring them more in line with other measures of academic excellence in legal education."
In a recent study, Professor Jeffrey Stake of Indiana University demonstrated that "academic reputation" scores in U.S. News gravitate towards the typical overall U.S. News rank of a law school, which has been 15th for UT for many years now. (The overall ranking incorporates non-reputational factors like total expenditures and median LSAT scores.) By contrast, recent studies of the academic quality of law faculties by objective measures by the Institute for Scientific Information have ranked UT Law as high as 2nd and no lower than 5th.
U.S. News surveys of lawyers and judges also disproportionately survey practitioners in the Northeast and California. "It's testimony to the national reputation of the law school and the excellence of our graduates who practice throughout the U.S. that we should rank so highly in these surveys," noted Dean Goode.
UT Law's overall ranking in this year's U.S. News was 16th, reflecting the incorporation of expenditures data going back to 2004, when state budget cuts forced significant reductions in outlays. "Our financial picture has improved substantially since 2004," remarked Dean Goode. "With our increased expenditures and our improved reputation among professors and practitioners, I expect our U.S. News rankings to improve steadily in the years ahead."
Study by Professor Jeffrey Stake of Indiana University: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=700862