When U.S. News rankings aren't news, but just 15 months late

On June 12, 2014, U.S. News & World Report released a "news" story. It boasts, "U.S. News has just published two exclusive clerkship lists of law schools using data from our 2015 Best Law Schools rankings for the 2012 J.D. graduating class."

You may have to read that sentence a few times to realize the problems.

First, the clerkship data for the Class of 2012 has been publicly available since March 29, 2013: almost 15 months ago, when the American Bar Association released its school-by-school data. (Many schools had already individually posted their own results by then.)

Second, that's data for the Class of 2012, which graduated 25 months ago. Data for the Class of 2013 is available from the ABA here. (I have a "microranking" that averages three years' worth of federal clerkship data for each school, from 2011 to 2013, available here.)

Third, the USNWR data may be "exclusive" because it's from their data... but, as the data is also publicly available from the ABA, it's hard to determine what value USNWR adds.

It's unfortunate that outlets like Above the Law pick up 15-month-old stories like they are "news." But maybe the fact that it's called U.S. News & World Report does, in fact, prove that the power of suggestion is quite powerful.