As more top law schools boycott rankings, others say they can’t afford to leave
Columbia and New York University, he said, place large numbers of law school graduates in white-shoe law firms, although institutions such as Howard University School of Law do the same.
Similarly, “elite employment outcomes are very closely tied to the school you attended,” Professor Muller said.
Some deans of law schools below T14 said that no matter how much they agreed with the criticism, the drop from the ranking could be more painful for them than for Yale, which has been consistently No. 1 since US News started the ranking. Started law school in 1987. (There was a hiatus until 1990, but it has continued since then.)
Angela Onwuchi-Willig, dean of Boston University (No. 17), said that despite some apprehensions about the ranking, her administration was not currently planning to withdraw. She said that lower-ranked schools, applicants, and employers receive some benefit from the “free marketing” of the rankings.
“Yeah, a school like Boston University, that doesn’t have the heritage and history of Harvard University, is going to make more gains,” she said.
Ken Randall, dean of George Mason University’s law school (tied for No. 30), said he agreed that the ranking was flawed and had some negative consequences. However, “it gives guidance to the students,” he said. “Most students don’t go into the top 10, and there are about 200 law schools.”
He noted that George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School moved up 11 places last year. This was done by improving metrics that matter to US News, such as admitting students with higher LSAT scores, making them graduate with less debt and improving the pass rate on the bar exam, he said.