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38 Harbinger 1 (2014)

handle is hein.journals/harbg38 and id is 1 raw text is: DIVERSITY AND DISGRACE - HOW THE U.S. NEWS LAW
Tony Varona'
U.S. News and World Report recently released its law school rankings'
and, as happens every year, readers have focused almost exclusively on the
many extreme fluctuations in ranks. Why did Schools A, B and C suddenly
jump 20 spots? Did the learning experience at Schools X Yand Z really erode
so dramatically as to justify their 25-spot freefall? What will this big drop (or
climb) mean for student and faculty recruitment, and alumni employment
rates, at these schools?
Instead, or in addition, we should be asking more probing questions,
like: Does the U.S. News measuring stick itself measure up? Is it measuring
the right things? And what effects have the U.S. News rankings had on legal
education and society itself?
If we were to carry a miner's canary2 into the depths of the U.S. News
ranking methodology,3 we quickly would have a dead bird on our hands. Why?
Let us look at just one flaw that, standing alone, discredits the U.S.
News rankings altogether.
Experts in diversity point to how composites and alloys of diverse
elements produce building materials that are much stronger and more robust
than their individual parts.4 They reference how reproductive diversity is
Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs at the American
University Washington College of Law. The author thanks colleagues Professors Mary Clark,
Angela Davis, Robert Dinerstein, Claudio Grossman, BJ Kaufman, Elliott Milstein, Andrew
Popper, Jamin Raskin, Darren Rosenblum, Ann Shalleck, and Ari Ezra Waldman, the
students in his fall 2013 Contracts class, and John Gill, for very helpful feedback on earlier
drafts of this essay. Tami Martin, Esq., provided excellent research assistance. Many thanks
also go to Geoffrey Wertime, Scott Bulua and Jonah Peppiatt for brilliant editing.
1 Travis Mitchell, Best Law Schools 2015, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REP., March 10, 2014,
2 See Lani Guinier & Gerald Torres, The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power,
Transforming Democracy (The Nathan I. Huggins Lectures) (2003) (applying the canary in
the coal mine metaphor to the function and status of race in the United States).
3 Sam Flanigan and Robert Morse, Methodology: 2015 Best Law Schools Rankings, U.S.
NEWS & WORLD REP., March 10, 2014, http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-
4 Frederick A. Miller & Judith H. Katz, The Path from Exclusive Club to Inclusive
Organization:  A     Developmental    Process   8    (2007),   available   at
http://outandequal.org/documents/KJ_PathFromExclusive_AR_Flat_010509.pdf. See also
Jeffrey F. Milem, Mitchell J. Chang, & Anthony Lising Antonio, Making Diversity Work on
Campus:     A      Research-Based    Perspective    6     (2005),    available


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