There are always a number of complaints that the information supplied to U.S. News is not “verifiable.” However, much of the information that is used for the U.S. News rankings comes right from data that schools submit to the ABA on an annual basis. Presumably, deans have integrity and submit honest numbers there—and much of that information is then reprinted in the ABA-LSAC Law School guide, including:
- Median LSAT and GPA
- Acceptance rate
- Employment at 9 months
- Bar passage
Information on student-faculty ratio and faculty resources is not public in the LSAC Guide, but is reported to the ABA—and the ABA “takeoffs” using that information are sent to every dean.
The only school-provided information used by U.S. News that is not also sent to the ABA is employment at graduation, which is where schools have different definitions of what “employment” means. And this counts for 4% of the overall ranking.
U.S. News has used median LSAT and GPA as its measurement for many years. Some schools would tinker with that number, for instance by not including “special situation admits” as part of the calculation. In an effort to provide greater accountability, the ABA began to require that schools submit their median LSAT and GPA as part of their ABA submission.
One can quibble with the rankings or the weightings that U.S. News gives to the various components, but, with the one exception noted above, law schools should be providing U.S. News with the same information they provide the accrediting body.