Back in the Saddle Again
The good news is that the U of M law school is back to the select 20 in the latest US News rankings.
The bad news is that it may not really mean much.
For those willing to go all the way, if you'll forgive my terminology, here are some ideas:
1. The 90% transfer student law school. Yes, admit a class of 10 with LSATs of 178 and GPAs of 4.0 (or even higher -- report 5.0 for the students who took advance placement college courses assuming they exist and, if they do not, just assume they do.) The rest of the students are transfers.
2. Get those acceptance percentages down. Potential applicants are selling cheap if they will settle for itune downloads. What about a $100 J.Crew gift certificate for applying? Cold cash is also perfectly acceptable. If each school will do this many good things happen. 1) My unemployed children can make a living by being professional applicants, 2) I will open an Expresso-like business and take a small percentage for submitting an application for my clients to every single law school in the country. There are any talented potential professional applicants in nursing homes, pre schools, and prison. I am pretty sure this is Pareto superior. The clients are happy, I am happy, and Law Schools will all have huge applicant pools and low acceptance percentages.
3. Pay the graduates of other schools not to work. Once you have hired every one of your own out-of-work graduates you hit 100% and that is as far as you can go. If you are serious about becoming a better law school (Opps, higher ranked school) pay the graduates of schools close to yours in the rankings to stay home. Yes, we are talking about a possible bidding war for law school graduates to do anything but work. (It's like a new occupation for which you are qualified only if you have a law degree.) Right now these unemployed grads think they have no leverage at all. Life to them, . . . well, sucks. In fact, they have tremendous leverage any time they threaten to become gainfully employed. They can auction off their right to take a job. This sounds more than faintly Coasian. After all, the law school placing the highest value on having the graduates of other law schools stay home wins and, winning by paying is efficient.
4. Be proactive about lowering the student-faculty ratio. Are there any maintenance workers, landscapers, or secretaries at your schools? Were you getting ready to say "yes." WRONG! They are now part of the faculty and, most likely, deservedly so. (I don't know, visiting-adjunct-lecturer sounds good). And those potential applicants at nursing homes, pre schools and prisons also make excellent faculty for distance learning. Your faculty swells and your ratio falls.
When you think about it, law schools are just scratching the surface of ways to improve.
To celebrate the U law school's return to the top 20: