N.D. Law Dean Disputes No. 2 Rank on US News List of Clerk Feeder Schools
Posted Sep 4, 2009 11:23 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Updated: A surprising new ranking suggested that aspiring lawyers yearning to clerk for a judge may want to consider law school at the University of North Dakota or the University of Wyoming.
Both were among the top five on a U.S. News & World Report list of law schools with the highest percentages of graduates who go on to clerk for federal Article III judges. But the North Dakota figures are wrong, according to the school's law dean Kathryn Rand.
“I don’t know exactly what happened with the misinformation being reported in the U.S. News survey,” Rand told the ABA Journal. “I understand that we weren’t the only school that had misinformation reported.” Rand said she learned of other errors when she called U.S. News.
But other schools on the U.S. News clerkship list, the first ever published by the magazine, were more surprising. The University of North Dakota was ranked No. 2, the University of Wyoming No. 5, and the University of St. Thomas at No. 6. All are tier 3 law schools on U.S. News’ overall list.
Rand did not disclose what other schools' rankings were suspect. But Robert Morse, director of data research for U.S. News, told the ABA Journal that Western New England School of Law, ranked 15th, has also contacted him to report an error. He invites other schools identifying mistakes to contact him, and says the results will be corrected.
Western New England associate dean for external affairs Bill Childs later wrote on Western New England College School of Law Blawg: "We discovered that we made an entirely inadvertent error, reporting our overall clerkship employment rate (i.e., the percentage of our employed recent graduates who were working in any judicial clerkship) as being the same as our federal Article III clerkship rate."
The schools reported the clerkship figures in response to a U.S. News questionnaire, according to Morse.
U.S. News listed these top five judicial clerk feeder schools, based on the reported percentage of 2007 graduates employed in judicial clerkships:
1) Yale University (41.4% in all clerkships, 37% in federal clerkships)
2) University of North Dakota (28% in all judicial clerkships, 25% in federal clerkships)
3) Stanford University (24% in all judicial clerkships, 23% in federal clerkships)
4) Harvard University (20.6% in all judicial clerkships, 18.2% in federal clerkships)
5) University of Wyoming (19% in all judicial clerkships, 16.7% in federal clerkships)
Rand told the ABA Journal that North Dakota did not place any students in Article III judgeships in 2007. The 28 percent figure is correct, however, “and not an anomaly at all," she said.
Hat tip to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, where Rand posted a comment saying the figures were wrong.
Last updated at 4:09 p.m. to include quote from Childs.