Last week we got an e-mail from the administration which read (in part) "I am pleased to report that the University of Minnesota has
retained its rank at number 19 [in the U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings]." While I think it's great the Law School has a drive to be a top notch institution of legal education, I don't think that's what is really going on here.
First, if the Law School really is concerned with quality of legal education, I don't think we should be satisfied with our current ranking1... I think we should strive for more, even if most schools don't really change much in their rankings2. Second, I fear that this Law School, like so many other schools, want their U.S News ranking to be high solely to make recruiting easier (both of students and faculty), which eventually means more money for the University. If the law school was really solely interested in the quality of its education, it would use a more reliable benchmark to measure its success3.
P.S. In no way no I mean to imply that this, or any law school, is not concerned with providing a quality education (except maybe Iowa... just kidding), but this fetish with the U.S. News Rankings shows that there must be something else going on in their minds.
1Even #2 Harvard probably wants to do better just to unseat top-seeded Yale.
2Except for Minnesota, which has been entrenched at # 19 for roughly four thousand and twenty years.
3 As I am sure you are aware, the reliability of the U.S. News Rankings are dubious at best... at least that's the story of us schools who aren't in the top 10, and we're sticking to it.