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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Winners And Losers In The 2018 U.S. News Law School Rankings ... Should It Matter?

2018 U.S. News LawFollowing up on this morning's post, 2018 U.S. News Law School Peer Reputation Rankings (And Overall Rankings):  National Law Journal, U.S. News Law School Rankings Are Good News for Northwestern, Bummer for Berkeley:

After flirting with the top 10 on the U.S. News & World Report’s annual law school rankings for most of the past decade, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law has finally broken through.

Northwestern tied with Duke Law School for the No. 10 spot, one of several notable changes among the top schools on this year’s list, which was released Tuesday. Those changes did not include Yale Law School, which retained its position at No. 1.

Stanford Law School elbowed out Harvard Law School to claim the No. 2 spot—the two schools had tied for second the past four years. Harvard last held the No. 3 spot in 2013.

Duke moved back into the top 10 after falling briefly to No. 11 last year. The gains achieved by Duke and Northwestern came at the expense of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, a longtime fixture in the bottom half of the top 10, which fell from No. 8 last year to No. 12 this year. ...

Among other changes high on the list, the University of Texas School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center flipped, leaving Texas at No. 14 and Georgetown at No. 15. That seemingly small change has somewhat larger implications since it pushes Georgetown out of the so-called T14 schools, an informal designation of the top 14 schools that is widely used in legal circles.

Rutgers Law School saw the largest increase this year, rocketing up 30 spots to snag the No. 62 position. Washington and Lee University School of Law saw an impressive 12-spot increase, and moved into the top 30 at No. 28. The school fell 17 spots on the 2015 list and had hovered around No. 40 until now. ... Notre Dame moved into the top 20 by picking up two spots. Texas A&M’s acquisition four years ago of the former Texas Wesleyan School of Law continues to pay off in the rankings arena. The Texas A&M University School of Law climbed 19 spots this year to land at No. 92. That comes on the heels of 38-spot improvement the previous year.

The University of Maine School of Law saw the largest decline this year. It dropped 28 spots to No. 139, due in part to a lower peer assessment score, lower LSAT scores and a drop in graduate employment. Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and Washburn University School of Law had the next-largest decline, at 21 spots each. Cleveland-Marshall and Washburn fell from No. 106 to No. 127. The University of New Hampshire School of Law fell 18 spots to land at No. 100.

Of course, small movements in the U.S. News overall ranking are especially dubious:

Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink


As my daughter weighs her admission options she is looking for some insight into the volatility in the recent rankings between 50 or 100.

Posted by: Maryann Brennan | Mar 19, 2017 1:18:17 PM