Andy is an economist as well as a lawyer and generally writes about property rights and the environment, employment law, public choice and the law, and the legal history of the American west. But he also does empirical research on the law and on the topic he’ll be guest-blogging here about, legal education.
In “Student Quality as Measured by LSAT Scores: Migration Patterns in the US News Rankings Era” (coauthored with William Henderson of Indiana University), an empirical analysis of changes in median LSATs from 1992 to 2004, Andy and Bill take a close look at the winners and losers in what has been called “the LSAT arms race.” US News rankings are widely reviled in the law school community, but are nonetheless avidly watched by students and faculty alike. This paper finds that much of the change in one of the key components, entering class LSAT scores, is beyond the control of individual schools. Quite a bit of the change in median LSAT scores is related to trends in the legal job market, strategic behavior by schools, and whether or not the schools are part of the top tier of law schools.
Andy and Bill have six key findings and Andy will blog about one a day for the next six days, as well as raise some questions about the future of the market for legal education. The paper was discussed, by the way, in an article in the July 31 New York Times.