Bob Morse’s Stunning Complacency

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is the Murray Shusterman Professor of Transactional and Business Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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4 Responses

  1. law teacher says:

    i assume that he won’t feel threatened by market corrections unless that includes law schools publishing full and candid statistical information to applicants and students. Which is not likely. So his magazine will continue to be the best source of information.

  2. Dave Hoffman says:

    Law Teacher — it’s a overgeneralization. Name one piece of information that USNews provides that isn’t replicated by the LSAC data (or bettered by employment data like Henderson et al. provide, or scholarly output data provided by Leiter)? It isn’t, for example, expenditures? Hard to imagine how — USNews doesn’t actually provide the raw (or should I say, manipulated raw) information! Is it reputation among judges/lawyers, created by a survey with a notoriously low response rate?
    Seriously, I’m all for data transparency — and a mark against USNews is that it isn’t transparent but pretends to be. But saying that the magazine is the “best source of information” about law school inputs and outputs is simply false. It may be the most convenient source – by virtue of salience – but that’s no good argument at all.

  3. Joe Miller says:

    Dave,
    You make a number of great points here.
    What the status quo makes me wonder, in antitrust-ish mode, is this – What are the barriers to entry for a competing magazine? For some other publication? For a group of, e.g., law professors spread across a range of institutions? And what are the prospective returns to each? (I guess this can also be thought of as one of the barriers, in reverse). Relatedly, how good must a rankings system be, at or soon after it enters, for it to get traction? US News can be disciplined by prospective competitors only if there’s likely to be one or more of them under a realistic set of assumptions, no?. It appears Morse / US News doesn’t think there will be.
    Wish there were one!

  4. pre-tenure prof says:

    An interesting twist from my perspective (a pre-tenure, tenure-track prof) is the weight given to the rankings in terms of law review placements. Many tenure committees look closely at the USNWR rank of the school in determining (i) quality of scholarship and (ii) whether a piece will even count towards tenure. Further, individuals are often judged based on the number of top-20 or top-50 placements, without a meaningful examination of the actual work itself. If the academy is serious about its stated goals and beliefs regarding the relative weight of the USNWR rankings, we should take a look in the mirror to closely examine how we are making a bad situation worse.