Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Is this what Iowa feels like?

I'm getting inundated -- just hammered -- with information from law schools all over the country.  Such-and-such Law had a Supreme Court Justice out to speak.  So-and-so U. hired 10 newly minted JD-PhDs.  Another College of Law has great experiential learning opportunities.  At least that is what I glean from the headlines as I place one document after another into the recycle bin.

It is coming in the mailbox and by e-mail.  To be clear, glossy brochures are nothing new -- I've been getting them for years, as has everybody else -- but this is an order of magnitude larger and more persistent.  Spam e-mail is something I have not enjoyed in the past.  (I am not enjoying it now, either, to be clear.)  My colleagues have been relatively sheltered.

Why?  I got my thumbs up for tenure last year, and as such may be tasked with filling out the US News ballot.  I suppose some hope I might be swayed.

Thankfully not having received any outreach from my co-bloggers' institutions, let me state my position:  as a rational economic actor, there is one way, and only one way, that I am voting if I receive a ballot.  That's not because I am naive as to some legitimate arguments for a law school pecking order but because I am personally benefitted by an improvement in my institution's standing (and the inverse is also true).  I have cast about for an algorithm that teaches that I should be thoughtful in my voting, but having found none, my approach is decided.

Of course, there is a larger lesson to draw from this.  Surely everybody else is as smart as I and a rational actor also.  What does that say about the "peer reputation" metric in the U.S. News rankings?

1 comment:

  1. Oh how I miss US News related law porn! I was the most recently tenured member of our faculty for three years, so I got used to all the attention. They drop you like a smelly fish as soon as you roll off the ballot. . . :-)