After exclusion from law schools, US News & World Report changes ranking system

Author: Yuvi January 3, 2023 After exclusion from law schools, US News & World Report changes ranking system

Under pressure to boycott top law schools, U.S. News & World Report told law school deans on Monday that it would be making several changes to the next edition of its influential ratings.

In a letter to US law school deans published on its site, US News said its next list would give more credit to schools whose graduates go on to earn advanced degrees, or to work in public-service jobs. School-funded fellowships that pay a lower salary. , The magazine, which has published the ratings for decades, is responding to criticism that its rankings are higher than higher-paying private sector jobs.

The magazine said the 2023-24 rankings, due to be published this spring, will also rely less on a survey of schools’ reputations submitted by academics, lawyers and judges.

A spokeswoman for US News said the list will no longer consider indicators of student debt or schools’ spending per pupil. Critics have stated that the magazine’s previous metric for measuring student debt encouraged schools to favor wealthier students with financial need, and that the use of spending per student figures favors wealthier institutions.

“We realize that legal education is neither monolithic nor static and that the rankings, being so widely accepted, may not capture the individual nuances of each school,” said Robert Morse, chief data strategist at US News and senior vice president of data and information strategy Stephanie Salmon wrote in the letter.

US News will continue to rank the schools that have declined to participate using publicly available data. But it will publish more detailed profiles of schools that responded, a potential incentive for lower-ranked institutions eager to attract the attention of students.

The American News list, published annually since 1987, is as impressive as it is sclerotic. Broadly the same 14 law schools have held the top spot for 30 years, only slightly changing and making headlines when they do. Its criteria for ranking are monitored almost as closely.

However, in recent months, most of those top 14 schools have announced that they will no longer participate. Among those leaving are Yale, which has topped the list for decades, and Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, Georgetown, Columbia and Berkeley.

Karen Peart, a spokeswoman for Yale University, said in a statement that the decision to withdraw the law school was made based on “what is best for the institution.” She declined to comment on whether the changes announced today will affect the school’s future participation in the ranking process. A spokeswoman for Harvard Law School declined to comment.

The moves announced today reflect the power of the top schools in the law-school ecosystem, with potential students and top firms using the rankings to make their decisions about school choice and recruiting.

The growing backlash against the rankings reflects concerns among school leaders about the ethics, fairness and purpose of legal education and the institutions that provide it. School officials have said that rankings that emphasize test scores and salary deter students from pursuing careers in public service. Critics say the ranking criteria also discourage schools from serving working-class students who require need-based aid to attend.

The magazine’s ranking is “seriously flawed”, according to Yale Law dean Heather K. Gerken wrote a letter in November announcing the school’s withdrawal from participation. “We have reached a point where the ranking process is undermining the core commitments of the legal profession,” Ms Gerken said.

John Manning, dean of Harvard Law, wrote in a letter the same day that the “American news process” does not advance the best ideals of legal education or the profession we serve, and it contradicts Harvard Law School’s deepest commitments. .

Top law schools and others have criticized the list for years, and the changes announced Monday don’t address all of the concerns they’ve aired in the past. In its letter, the magazine said it would need “additional time and collaboration” to address the role of loan forgiveness, need-based aid, diversity and other issues in its rankings and that it would “work with academic and industry leaders.” will continue to do” to develop metrics with agreed definitions.

Author: Yuvi

My name is Yuvi, I work as Sub Editor at

3 January, 2023, 5:32 am

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