The ABA’s Special Committee on the U.S. News and World Report Rankings issued its findings last month. The committee, which included University of Maryland School of Law Dean Phoebe Haddon, stated the following:
We believe that, for better or worse, U.S. News rankings will continue for the foreseeable future to dominate public perceptions of how law schools compare, and that there is relatively little that leaders in legal education can do to change that in the short term.
A 2009 law school graduate named “Ethan Haines” (more on the quotation marks in a bit) disagrees. Haines is the founder of unemployedjd.com and says he represents fellow graduates and law school students “who have been disillusioned by law school employment statistics, commercial school rankings, and antiquated career counseling programs.”
If the law schools can’t break free of the ranking system, he argues, then it’s the students who need to start pushing them in that direction. Haines is making his point by going on a hunger strike that started Aug. 5 and will continue until 10 law schools “that stand to gain the most from the rankings structure” agree to greater transparency and better career counseling.
Haines’ story has garnered some media attention (he conveniently provides a list of outlets on his site) and told the Huffington Post he plans to fast as long as his body can handle it. But he also has refused to say if “Ethan Haines” is his real name or where he went to law school.
In the meantime, you can support Haines and buy a t-shirt from his website, proceeds of which will go to an unidentified non-profit that provides career counseling for law students and graduates.
I don’t remember Gandhi selling merchandise during his hunger strike. Then again, he probably didn’t have to worry about paying off student loans.