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?