Grantee Research

Measuring Institutional Efficiencies in Producing Student Outputs for Legal Education

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



US News and World Report, law school rankings, institutional efficiency, stochastic frontier analysis


Legal education relies heavily on the American Bar Association and U.S. News and World Report to monitor law schools and hold them accountable as an accreditor and to the public. However, the metrics favored by these organizations were found to produce poor measures of institutional efficiency using frontier analyses to examine the educational production-function. Once controlling for institutional focus, efficiency scores improved, but still fell short of expectations. This finding suggests that the metrics favored by the ABA and USNWR are not accurately capturing institutional performance and should be revisited to more precisely understand academic, financial, and employment operations. Future research should build upon this finding by deconstructing the current reporting and ranking structures in order to develop a stronger tool for holding institutions accountable to their mission through improved access, affordability, and transparency.