Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2006


A joke frequently told by and about economists begins with a group of colleagues searching one night under a lamppost for a key in a gutter. A bystander asks the group where they have lost the key. The economists explain that although they had lost the key in a gutter some distance away, they were looking under the lamppost because the light was better there. The three articles in this panel remind me of this story, albeit in a non-conventional way. By exploring issues regarding the broader context in which rankings exist, the three articles encourage us to look not at rankings themselves but at the world around them. In that way, the articles provide new and important insights about rankings and the market for legal education. Using the three articles as a foundation, I argue that the underlying problem with the existing rankings regime is the assumption that law schools compete in a single, unified market, and that it is thus appropriate to impose a national ranking on all the schools. I propose that a segmented rankings system, one that is more consistent with the way the market for legal education actually functions, will better serve the relevant constituencies. In Part I, I briefly summarize the key insights of the three articles. Part II describes my proposal.



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