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More law schools reject U.S. News list, but publication pledges to keep ranking ‘regardless of whether schools agree’

More law schools reject U.S. News list, but publication pledges to keep ranking ‘regardless of whether schools agree’

Higher Ed Dive

Rick Seltzer
November 18, 2022
Dive Brief:
  • Columbia Law School and Georgetown Law said Friday they will not take part in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Schools rankings, becoming the fourth and fifth institutions to reject the list in just three days over objections to its methodology.
  • Columbia Law and Georgetown Law announced their decisions a day after Berkeley Law’s dean said that school will not take part in the rankings this year because they are inconsistent with the public institution’s mission and values. Berkeley Law’s dean also suggested law schools must object to the pressures the ratings place on legal education.
  • Yale and Harvard universities’ law schools started the stampede Wednesday, saying they are dropping out because the rankings discourage support for low-income students and public-interest careers. U.S. News responded by pledging Thursday to keep ranking all of the nearly 200 accredited law schools in the country, “regardless of whether schools agree to submit their data.”
Dive Insight:
As of Friday evening, more than a third of the top 15 law schools in U.S. News’ latest rankings disavowed the list. Yale has perennially been the top-ranked law school. Harvard and Columbia are tied for the fourth spot in this year’s list, while Berkeley Law is ninth. Georgetown is No. 14.
Many colleges tout their placement on U.S. News’ lists, with leaders arguing the rankings command an audience with families and students who are deciding where to apply for college. At the same time, administrators often privately gripe that the lists’ scoring oversimplifies the value of education and pressures some institutions to behave irresponsibly to try to game the system.
In 2018, U.S. News removed Temple University’s online MBA from its rankings because of data issues. An investigation determined the institution reported false data about standardized test scores, GPAs and admissions offers. Temple ousted its business dean and paid millions in settlements and fines stemming from the scandal. This year, a federal judge sentenced the former dean, Moshe Porat, to one year and two months in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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