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Thursday, January 27, 2011

This Blog Post About Law Schools Is Filler

Posted By on 01.27.11 at 06:04 PM

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  • brunosan/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
Law school has nothing to do with sitting under trees, relaxing and smiling. Almost no one smiles in law school, because they're miserable and tired and anxious about their GPA or finding a job or getting denied bar admission for carrying too much student loan debt. Nevertheless, many law schools pretty up their web pages with filler photographs of smiling, tree-laxing people, instead of pix of sad-looking people with 40 pounds of textbooks on their backs and highlighter streaks on their clothes.

Now come librarians Jason Eiseman and Roger Skalbeck (of Yale and Georgetown respectively), who ranked 200 accredited American law schools' websites and actually docked schools three points for featuring bullshit pictures of happy students and trees. These guys think law school websites excel when they feature easily locatable contact information, updated news and RSS feeds—you know, stuff that will help current and prospective students actually learn about the schools, and what they're up to. "Eiseman and Skalbeck note that 34 law schools had no physical address on the home page, and 55 had no telephone number," reports the American Bar Association on its blog. "Sixty-five pictured students under, near or around trees."

In a YAY moment for Illinois, the U. of I. law school ranks first in website quality, and the University of Chicago's comes in third. U. of C.'s website is appropriately earnest, but in glancing at U of I's site, I have to wonder what the librarians were thinking: it features big pictures of smiling people. These photos are almost as misleading as the sitting-under-trees photos, for the reasons stated above.

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