NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION APPLAUDS ABA
RESOLUTION TO EXAMINE RANKINGS OF LAW FIRMS AND LAW SCHOOLS
The New York State Bar Association applauded the American Bar
Association (ABA) for adopting a resolution to “examine any
efforts to publish national, state, territorial and local rankings of
law firms and law schools.” The measure was approved by the ABA
House of Delegates at its mid-year meeting in Orlando, Florida.
In a report submitted to the ABA, the New York State Bar wrote that
the ABA has an obligation to carefully review all issues related to
attempts to rank law firms and urged further study of the issue.
“If the rankings are not valid,” the report stated,
“lower ranking law firms and lawyers will be unfairly
New York State Bar Association President Michael E. Getnick, (Getnick
Livingston Atkinson & Priore of Utica and of counsel to Getnick
& Getnick of New York City) said, “Our efforts were prompted
by the plan of U.S. News & World Reports, in partnership with Best
Lawyers, to publish a ranking of the best law firms in the
country. But there are large numbers of these
‘rankings’ in a wide array of publications, and readers are
generally unaware of methodology, criteria and reliability of the
data. The ranking of law firms can have a profound impact if the
ranking is unreliable and invalid.
“An objective review of these studies by a respected body like
the ABA will provide the opportunity for much needed guidance to the
profession. The New York State Bar Association looks forward to working
with the ABA as it develops protocols for examining law firm and law
school rankings,” he added.
The State Bar report points to a study by Louis H. Pollack in the
Drexel Law Review 52 at 54 (2009) that found the U.S. News & World
Report 2009 List of the Top 100 Schools to be “flawed;” and
another study in the SMU Law Review 493 at 509 (2007) that found the
results “unreliable” and subject to “significant
To allow members of the profession to make informed decisions,
Getnick also advised New York lawyers and law firms to exercise caution
in deciding whether to provide information for the purpose of ranking
law firms pending completion of the ABA’s review.
Getnick thanked New York State Bar Association
past-president A. Vincent Buzard (Harris Beach PLLC, Rochester) for his
leadership on this issue.
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Founded in 1876, the 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is
the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the
largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. The State
Bar’s programs and activities have continuously served the public
and improved the justice system for more than 130 years. For more
information, visit us at our Web site at www.nysba.org.
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 SECURE FX: (518) 463-5993