A New Kind of Law School Ranking:
In a forthcoming issue of The Green Bag, Editor-in-Chief Ross E. Davies announces that the Bag will introduce a new kind of law school ranking: The Deadwood Report. Davies explains:
  Law schools generally hold themselves out as institutions led by faculties whose members are committed to teaching, scholarship, and service. This does not mean that law schools employ some faculty to teach, some other faculty to engage in scholarship, and some other faculty to engage in service. Rather, faculty members contribute in all three areas. . . .
  The Deadwood Report will simply test the accuracy of that picture. Our focus will be on the most dully objective of measures: whether the work is being done -- whether each law school faculty member is teaching courses, publishing scholarly works, and performing pro bono service. . . .
  Bearing in mind that we will inevitably have to work out kinks as we go along, we plan to proceed roughly as follows:

  Step 1: We will download a law school's web pages containing (a) its list of "faculty"; (b) its current and recent course schedules and catalogs; and (c) its individual faculty profile pages containing vitas or lists of publications.
  Step 2: We will compile our data. We are interested in providing information about the current state of a school's faculty, so our focus will be on recent scholarship and recent teaching (and, in due course, recent service). A school whose faculty is heavy with people who used to be active might do well in a citation or reputation study, but it will do poorly in the Deadwood Report. After all, should today's students be enrolling in schools where the faculty used to be engaged, or in schools where the faculty is engaged now?
  Step 3: We will analyze. We are still working on the finer points of our sorting and weighing of various kinds of teaching and scholarship, but we are committed to a few basic ideas, including the following: First, we are interested in well-rounded, active faculty members, and so we will give more weight to the moderately active teacher-writer than to the hyper-writer who neglects teaching or the hyperteacher who neglects writing. A specialist in neglecting both won't be worth much. Second, we are interested in wellrounded, active faculties, and so we will seek to avoid perpetuating illusions of faculty strength that can result when one or two or a few members of a faculty publish and teach a great deal, while the rest do relatively little or nothing. . . .
  Step 4: We will send each school's dean our school-specific preliminary results, and invite him or her to send us a reasonably quick response identifying any inaccuracies in our work or on the school's website.
  Step 5: We will correct our errors. Then we will re-visit each law school's website and incorporate any corrections we find there.
  Step 6: We will publish our results.
  Step 7: We will do it all over again for the next school year.
  Inside Higher Ed has an interesting story on the proposal, together with reaction to it from the likes of Brian Leiter, Carl Monk, and David Van Zandt.

  I don't know if the rankings will be useful, but I would wager that the existence of "The Deadwood Report" causes law schools around the country to make sure that their websites have this information readily available and fully up to date. And if that's right, the Deadwood Report will be a success.