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What Will Law Schools Use Their New Metrics Company For?

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on December 22, 2015 11:59 AM

The Access Group, a nonprofit representing 200-some law schools, has scooped up Lawyer Metrics, the group announced last week. Lawyer Metrics is a youngish company started by two professors in 2011.

The metrics company is best known for helping firms hire and retain legal talent, but how will the law schools put it to work? We have a few guesses.

First, a Bit of Background

Here's some quick and dirty background on Lawyer Metrics and the Access Group. Lawyer Metrics was founded half a decade ago by Indian University law professor William Henderson and Penn. State political science and law prof. Christopher Zorn. The Access Group is a large nonprofit made up of ABA-accredited law schools. The Access Group helps law schools in research and policy, financial aid, and admissions. Lawyer Metrics is primarily known for working with firms -- though they've also worked with non-firms.

But, Henderson told the ABA Journal, they've always wanted to be part of a nonprofit. Now they are.

How Will Schools Put Metrics to Use?

The Access Group's announcement is short on details, but we've got a few ideas of how the magic of statistical analysis could be used by law schools:

  • Admissions and aid. The first are the most boring and the most likely. Access Group already works extensively to study barriers to higher education and to help law schools distribute scholarships and financial aid. Lawyer Metrics' experience with firm recruitment and retention seems like an obvious fit.
  • Making sure law students can repay their loans, by helping them get and stay employed. Sounds like a great match to us. Statistically speaking, how can we keep everyone from defaulting on their loans?
  • Building diversity in the legal profession. Professor Henderson is currently already working on ways law firms can address the lack of diversity in the law -- which is one of America's least diverse professions. Those lessons could be equally applicable to law schools.
  • Predictive grading. Why go through the rigmarole of final exams when you can just use statistical probability to see how students will perform anyway? We kid. Sort of.

Editor's Note, December 24th, 2015: This post has been corrected to indicate that Lawyer Metrics was founded in 2011, not 2005, and that Christopher Zorn is a professor of political science and law, not statistics. 

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