Paul L. Caron

Friday, March 16, 2018

Pepperdine’s Place In The 2019 U.S. News Rankings

As most of you know, on Tuesday morning U.S. News released to law schools an embargoed confidential electronic version of the 2019 edition of its annual rankings to be published online on Tuesday, March 20.  At Pepperdine, we immediately analyzed the data U.S. News used in calculating our ranking.  To our horror, we learned that we had made an inadvertent data entry error in reporting our median LSAT for the class that began in Fall, 2017.

We immediately contacted U.S. News Tuesday morning to inform them of the error and requested that they update the rankings with the correct median LSAT.  On Tuesday afternoon, anonymous source(s) leaked the embargoed rankings which were posted on several blogs, showing Pepperdine’s ranking as 59 (up from 72 last year).

Unfortunately, U.S. News has denied our request and instead issued a revised embargoed electronic version of the rankings that replaced the original.  In the new version, Pepperdine is removed from the rankings.  Instead, Pepperdine is listed as “unranked due to a data reporting error by the school.” 

We contacted three law school rankings experts — Bill Henderson (Indiana), Andy Morriss (Texas A&M), and Mike Spivey (Spivey Consulting) — who all confirmed our analysis that Pepperdine would have ranked 62nd or 64th had U.S. News recomputed the rankings with our correct LSAT median.

It is, of course, deeply disappointing to be unranked for a year. But the reality is that we made great progress in the rankings this year, and should continue our ascent next year. 

For a fuller description of the rankings snafu, see here.


Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink


The moral of the story is don't make a mistake. You will be punished, regardless. You don't want a spate of law schools making so-called mistakes, waiting for the preliminary rankings to come out, and then deciding whether to pay the price this year or next year(s).

Posted by: Anon | Mar 24, 2018 8:07:06 PM

Evidence of the adage: No good deed goes unpunished.

Posted by: Old Ruster | Mar 19, 2018 12:24:39 PM

USN's action is tacitly advising schools against self-reporting errors - regardless of whether the errors help or harm the school's ranking - before the rankings are released.

Posted by: Michael L. Wyland | Mar 17, 2018 2:51:39 PM

Why not just boycott these lame rankings altogether?

Posted by: Enrique | Mar 17, 2018 1:19:52 AM

Pepperdine's USN predicament is not to be wished upon any school, and surely was not sought by that fine school, nor its distinguished, widely respected dean. However, I believe it is likely that circumstances will in the end call more attention than otherwise would have been paid to Pepperdine's high standing and that it would have moved up in the rankings if it had been ranked this year. Further, Pepperdine's reputation should be justifiably enhanced due to its initiative in attempting to correct an inadvertent error that was to its own advantage. Admirable.

Posted by: Nick Allard | Mar 16, 2018 12:36:25 PM