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Polsby on Changes in Law School Rankings

 As U.S. News & World Report contemplates a change to its law school ranking system by combining day and evening program statistics, law school deans, including Mason Law Dean Daniel Polsby, caution that the action could have an unintended negative effect on law school evening programs.

Currently U.S. News calculates its rankings using the LSAT and GPA for full-time students only. A spokesman for the publication cited a concern that schools were admitting students with lower test scores and grades to evening programs to avoid having to report their statistics as a factor in considering the change in reporting methods.

Polsby says evening programs typically accept students who further enrich the law program by bringing life experience with them to class. "At every law school I know with a part-time program you are talking about [students who are] older, racial or ethnic minorities, people with jobs and families, people with interesting life experience that kids who are just past adolescence can't be expected to have," he said. "Their college records are many years in their past and a less impressive measure of the law student he or she will be. Shutting them out will damage the profession."

Change Ahead for Law School Rankings? The National Law Journal, July 7, 2008. By Peter Page.

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