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Established in 1930, Duke University School of Law is one of the nation’s most esteemed law schools. November 01, 2010 \ This is the 17th installment of our 224 part series, Better Know A Dean.
Dean Hoye started his professional career in admissions at the University of California before joining USC School of Law where he served as Associate Dean and Dean of Admissions. Okay, here's your first question: Roy Williams is the University of North Carolina’s Men's Basketball Coach -- would you call him a great college basketball coach, or the greatest college basketball coach? Well, I guess the best way for me to answer that question is to say that while we are talking on the telephone right now, I’m gazing upon a picture of Coach K that I have hanging in my office . At least to the extent that they purport to equate the quality of the educational experience of a law school to a specific number, that is.
While no rankings system is perfect, we have created the AdmissionsDean Selectivity Ranking which tries to capture how selective a school is when choosing its students. Not unlike an unweighted presidential election poll of polls, to arrive at our Poll of Polls score we simply average the rankings from any available ranking system including USNEWS, Leiter, and AdmissionsDean Selectivity. Today we posted our interview with Bill Hoye, Associate Dean for Admissions, Financial Aid and Student Affairs at Duke University School of Law -- The Fightin' Blue Devils!

Many have critiqued their methodologies and you can find those critiques elsewhere on the internet. AdmissionsDean displays Professor Leiter's annual ranking of the 40 Top Law Schools by Student (Numerical) Quality. Our selectivity score is calculated by assigning weights to two almost universal admissions data points: the 75th percentile LSAT score and the 75th percentile UGPA of a law school's matriculating students. For example, some newer schools may not have three years of USNEWS rankings to calculate a 3-year average. To the extent they are are useful, however, we have tried to make them even more so by analyzing 3 years worth of them and also averaging them, so you could see trends in the USNEWS rankings as well as possible outlier years. Again, we provide 3 years worth of these rankings and also average them to make them even more informative. There is much discussion among admissions officers and academics alike on whether the 75% LSAT score is more effective than the median or 25% LSAT score at a particular school. Alternatively, some schools may fail to report a 75% LSAT or GPA score to the ABA and that would prohibit us from calculating that school's AdmissionsDean Selectivity score.
When our 3-year average results in a fraction, results are rounded to the nearest whole number.

We think the 75% LSAT score advocates have the better arguments, because the top of the class better reflects the the ability of a law school to attract the most competitive law students possible. In addition, each law school has a different policy with respect to diversity and non-traditional candidates, who often disproportionately fall below the median LSAT score.
Clearly, earning a 3.5 GPA from School X is not the same thing as earning that grade at School Y, but GPA rankings do not take into account the distinction. Nevertheless, law school admissions offices almost universally factor applicants' GPA into their admissions decisions, and attempt to normalize GPAs through various methodologies.
With this caveat in mind, we have adopted the 75% GPA ranking as part of our AD Selectivity ranking.
Although each law school assigns different weight to LSAT and GPA scores, in our experience in talking with admissions officers, law schools in the aggregate roughly assign 65% weight to LSAT scores and 35% to GPA scores, so we will adopt this split. It's not perfect, but it gives a rough approximation of a law school's selectivity using objective metrics.

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