John Manning (Dean, Harvard), Decision to Withdraw from the U.S. News & World Report Process:
I write today to share with you that Harvard Law School will no longer participate in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, effective this year. (Yale Law School announced a similar decision earlier today). We at HLS have made this decision because it has become impossible to reconcile our principles and commitments with the methodology and incentives the U.S. News rankings reflect. This decision was not made lightly and only after considerable deliberation over the past several months.
Done well, such rankings could convey accurate, relevant information about universities, colleges, and graduate and professional schools that may help students and families make informed choices about which schools best meet their needs. However, rankings can also emphasize characteristics that potentially mislead those who rely on them and can create perverse incentives that influence schools’ decisions in ways that undercut student choice and harm the interests of potential students.
Over several years now, a number of schools — including Harvard Law School — have brought to the attention of U.S. News, either directly or through the U.S. News Law Deans Advisory Board, the concerns that have motivated us to end our participation in the U.S. News process. In particular, we have raised concerns about aspects of the U.S. News ranking methodology (also highlighted by our colleagues at Yale) that work against law schools’ commitments to enhancing the socioeconomic diversity of our classes; to allocating financial aid to students based on need; and, through loan repayment and public interest fellowships, to supporting graduates interested in careers serving the public interest.
First, the debt metric adopted by U.S. News two years ago risks confusing more than it informs because a school may lower debt at graduation through generous financial aid, but it may also achieve the same effect by admitting more students who have the resources to avoid borrowing. The debt metric gives prospective students no way to tell which is which. And to the extent the debt metric creates an incentive for schools to admit better resourced students who don’t need to borrow, it risks harming those it is trying to help.
Second, by heavily weighting students’ test scores and college grades, the U.S. News rankings have over the years created incentives for law schools to direct more financial aid toward applicants based on their LSAT scores and college GPAs without regard to their financial need. Though HLS and YLS have each resisted the pull toward so-called merit aid, it has become increasingly prevalent, absorbing scarce resources that could be allocated more directly on the basis of need.
Third, the U.S. News methodology undermines the efforts of many law schools to support public interest careers for their graduates. We share, and have expressed to U.S. News, the concern that their debt metric ignores school-funded loan forgiveness programs in calculating student debt. Such loan forgiveness programs assist students who pursue lower paying jobs, typically in the public interest sector. We have joined other schools in also sharing with U.S. News our concern about the magazine’s decision to discount, in the employment ranking, professional positions held by those who receive public interest fellowships funded by their home schools. These jobs not only provide lawyers to organizations for critical needs, they also often launch a graduate’s career in the public sector.
For these and other reasons, we will no longer participate in the U.S. News process. It does not advance the best ideals of legal education or the profession we serve, and it contradicts the deeply held commitments of Harvard Law School.
New York Times, Yale and Harvard Law Schools Withdraw From the U.S. News Rankings:
In perhaps the biggest challenge yet to the school rankings industry, both Yale and Harvard announced Wednesday that they were withdrawing from the influential U.S. News & World Report rankings of the nation’s best law schools.
Colleges and universities have been critical of the U.S. News ranking system for decades, saying that it was unreliable and skewed educational priorities, but they had rarely taken action to thwart it, and every year almost always submitted their data for judgment on their various undergraduate and graduate programs.
Now both Yale and Harvard law schools have announced that they will no longer cooperate. In two separate letters posted on their websites, the law school deans excoriated U.S. News for using a methodology that they said devalued the efforts of schools like their own to recruit poor and working-class students, provide financial aid based on need and encourage students to go into low-paid public service law after graduation. ...
U.S. News reacted somewhat blandly to Yale, saying it stood by its “mission” to “ensure that law schools are held accountable for the education they will provide.”
Asked whether U.S. News would continue to rank Yale, Eric Gertler, chief executive of U.S. News, said that the organization was reviewing options.
After Harvard’s announcement, the tone became more conciliatory. “We agree that test scores don’t tell the full story of an applicant, and law schools make their own decisions on the applicant pool based on the mission of the school,” U.S. News said in an email.
But the statement said the American Bar Association still requires standardized tests for almost all law schools. “The rankings are a start, not an answer,” U.S. News said. “Our mission is, and has always been, to provide data on schools for prospective students and their families.” ...
[M]any of the other top 10 law schools appeared on Wednesday to be holding their fire.
The University of Pennsylvania law school applauded Yale and Harvard “for their leadership” and said that it was “evaluating this issue,” but it did not immediately offer to join in.
Columbia and the University of Chicago declined to comment. New York University officials said they were aware of the action by Harvard and Yale, but “we haven’t made any determination on the matter yet.”
Harvard Crimson, Harvard Law School Abandons of U.S. News Rankings:
Harvard Law School will stop participating in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings, the school announced Wednesday.
The school’s announcement came just hours after Yale Law School also said it would stop participating in the rankings, which have come under increased scrutiny in recent months amid questions about the methodology used by U.S. News.
Harvard Law School Dean John F. Manning ’82 wrote in an email to HLS affiliates that it has “become impossible to reconcile our principles and commitments with the methodology and incentives the U.S. News rankings reflect.”
Brian Leiter (Chicago), Kudos to Dean Gerken For Withdrawing Yale Law School From the USNews.com Ranking Charade (UPDATE: HLS Also Dropping Out):
Harvard Law School is also declining to cooperate with USNews.com. I'll post a link to a public announcement as soon as one is available.
Josh Blackman (South Texas), Judge Ho Boycotts Yale. Yale Boycotts U.S. News Rankings.:
Harvard Law School is also boycotting the rankings. Stanford and the other Ivies will probably follow. U.S. News may soon implode like FTX.
U.S. News coverage:
- Yale Law School Will No Longer Participate In 'Profoundly Flawed' U.S. News Rankings (Nov. 16, 2022)
- Harvard Joins Yale In No Longer Participating In The U.S. News Law School Rankings (Nov. 16, 2022)
- UC-Berkeley Is The Third Top 10 Law School To Refuse To Participate In The U.S. News Rankings (Nov. 17, 2022)
- With Stanford, Columbia And Georgetown, 6 Of The T14 Refuse To Participate In The U.S. News Law School Rankings (Nov. 19, 2022)
- The U.S. News Law School Rankings Are Like The Hotel California: You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave (Nov. 19, 2022)
- U.S. News Law School Rankings, ABA Optional LSAT, And Harvard Affirmative Action Supreme Court's Case (Nov. 21, 2022)
- Why Law Schools Outside The T14 (Like UCLA, Wash U, George Mason, Boston University, Pepperdine) May Refuse To Join The U.S. News Rankings Boycott (Nov. 21, 2022)
- Michigan Is Seventh T14 Law School To Refuse To Participate In The U.S. News Rankings (Nov. 21, 2022)
- Antitrust Implications Of The U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott (Nov. 21, 2022)
- With Duke And Northwestern, Nine Of T14 Refuse To Participate In U.S. News Law School Rankings (Nov. 22, 2022)
- Colin Diver: Are The U.S. News Rankings Finally Going To Die? (Nov. 22, 2022)
- UCLA Is Tenth Top 15 Law School To Refuse To Participate In U.S. News Rankings (Nov. 22, 2022)
- Dan Solove: Slaying The U.S. News Law School Rankings Dragon (Nov. 23, 2022)
- Bill Henderson: The Dollars And Math Behind Yale Law School's Withdrawal From U.S. News — 'Are Limits on Federal Student Loans The Best Way To End The Rankings Madness?' (Nov. 23, 2022)
- UC-Irvine Is First Non-Elite Law School To Join U.S. News Rankings Boycott (Nov. 24, 2022)
- Chicago And (Maybe) Cornell Are First Elite Law Schools To Refuse To Join U.S. News Rankings Boycott (Nov. 24, 2022)
- Is This The Beginning Of The End Of The U.S. News Rankings Dominance? (Nov. 25, 2022)
- Penn Evaluates Whether To Join Boycott Of U.S. News Rankings By Ten Of Top 15 Law Schools (Nov. 26, 2022)
- Law School Admissions Without LSATs, Race, And Rankings (Nov. 26, 2022)
- Here’s Why Top Law Schools May Be Pulling Out Of The U.S. News Rankings (Nov. 28, 2022)
- Yale Law School’s Revolt Of The Elites (Nov. 28, 2022)
- UC-Davis Is 12th Law School (5th In California) To Boycott U.S. News Rankings (Nov. 29, 2022)
- More Commentary On The U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott (Part 1) (Nov. 30, 2022)
- Wash U Joins Chicago And Cornell In Refusing To Boycott U.S. News Law School Rankings (Dec. 1, 2022)
- More Commentary On The U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott (Part 2) (Dec. 2, 2022)
- With Penn And University Of Washington, 14 Law Schools Are Not Participating In U.S. News Rankings; Georgia Is 4th School To Resist Boycott (Dec. 3, 2022)
- George Mason Is 5th Law School To Reject Boycott Of U.S. News Rankings (Dec. 5, 2022)
- The Impact Of The U.S. News Rankings Boycott On Individual Law Schools (Dec. 5, 2022)
- NYU Is 15th Law School (And 12th Of Top 15) To Boycott U.S. News Rankings (Dec. 5, 2022)
- More Commentary On The U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott (Part 3) (Dec. 6, 2022)
- U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott Is A Big Nothing Burger (Dec. 8, 2022)
- A Law School Rankings Revolution? Hardly. (Dec. 9, 2022)
- The U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott Is A Chance To Rethink Legal Education (Dec. 10, 2022)
- Virginia Is 16th Law School (And 13th Of Top 15) To Boycott U.S. News Rankings (Dec. 10, 2022)
- Simkovic On The U.S. News Rankings Boycott (Dec. 12, 2022)
- Deans Of Lower Ranked Law Schools Join Boycott And Criticize U.S. News Rankings (Dec. 13, 2022)
- Dean Of Georgia Law School (1 Of 5 Schools Publicly Not Joining Boycott Of U.S. News Rankings) Has Questions For The 17 Boycotting Schools (Dec. 15, 2022)
- New Hampshire Is 18th Law School To Boycott U.S. News Rankings (Dec. 16, 2022)
- CLEA Statement On U.S. News Rankings For Clinical Programs (Dec. 17, 2022)
- More Commentary On The U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott (Part 4) (Dec. 20, 2022)
- With Southwestern, 10% Of ABA-Accredited Law Schools Are Boycotting The U.S. News Rankings (Dec. 20, 2022)
- Cal-Western Is 20th Law School To Boycott U.S. News Rankings (Dec. 24, 2022)
- Morrison: AALS Should Provide A Law School Guide To Supplant The U.S. News Rankings (Dec. 27, 2022)
- Muller: What Is The Endgame For Law Schools Boycotting The U.S. News Rankings? (Dec. 28, 2022)
- With UC-SF, St. John's, And Idaho: 23 Schools Are Now Boycotting The U.S. News Law School Rankings (Jan. 7, 2023)
- U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott Scorecard (Jan. 9, 2023)
- Fordham Is 24th Law School To Boycott U.S. News Rankings (Jan. 14, 2023)
- Roger Williams Is 25th Law School To Boycott U.S. News Rankings (Jan. 18, 2023)
- Law School Rankings Revolt Spreads To Medical Schools: #1 Harvard Will Not Send Data To U.S. News (Jan. 18, 2023)
- With Maryland, USF, And South Texas, 28 Schools Are Now Boycotting The U.S. News Law School Rankings (Jan. 19, 2023)
- U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott Scorecard (Updated) (Jan 23, 2023)
- Will The U.S. News Law School Rankings Arms Race Resume In Three Years? (Jan. 23, 2023)
- The Clash And The U.S. News Law School Rankings: Should I Stay Or Should I Go? (Jan. 25, 2023)
- With Gonzaga, Quinnipiac, Rutgers, And Seattle, 36 Law Schools Are Boycotting The U.S. News Rankings (Jan. 26, 2023)
- With Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Tulane, And Creighton, 40 Law Schools Are Boycotting The U.S. News Rankings (Jan. 28, 2023)
- WSJ: Rebellion Over U.S. News Rankings Seems Likely To Fail (Jan. 30, 2023)
- Two Perspectives On The Growing U.S. News Rankings Boycott (Feb. 2, 2023)
- In Defense Of The U.S. News Law School Rankings (Feb. 4, 2023)
- Will The Boycott Actually Strengthen The U.S. News Rankings? (Feb. 9, 2023)
- With Connecticut And Pittsburgh, 42 Law Schools Are Boycotting The U.S. News Rankings (Feb. 10, 2022)
U.S. News Response to Boycott