Paul L. Caron

Saturday, November 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

Robert Morse (Chief Data Strategist, U.S. News), U.S. News Best Law Schools Rankings Will Continue to Inform Prospective Students:

US News (2023)U.S. News & World Report will continue to rank all fully accredited law schools, regardless of whether schools agree to submit their data.

A few law schools recently announced that they will no longer participate in the data collection process for the U.S. News Best Law Schools rankings. We respect each institution’s decision to choose whether or not to submit their data to U.S. News.

However, U.S. News has a responsibility to prospective students to provide comparative information that allows them to assess these institutions. U.S. News will therefore continue to rank the nearly 200 accredited law schools in the United States.

The U.S. News Best Law Schools rankings are designed for students seeking to make the best decision for their legal education. We will continue to pursue our journalistic mission of ensuring that students can rely on the best and most accurate information, using the rankings as one factor in their law school search.

Wall Street Journal, Georgetown, Columbia Join Schools Withdrawing From U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings:

“We believe that that’s a vote against accountability, it’s a vote against transparency, it’s a vote against equity, it’s a vote against students,” Eric Gertler, executive chairman and CEO of U.S. News & World Report, said of schools pulling out of the rankings.

In an interview Friday, shortly before Columbia announced its plan to withdraw, he said U.S. News will continue to compile its rankings with or without the schools’ cooperation. Much of the information it uses comes from publicly available sources; a share of the score is also based on peer reviews by lawyers and school administrators.

Mr. Gertler said the rankings help U.S. News fulfill its journalistic mission to inform prospective students about their options. ...

Mr. Gertler from U.S. News said the rankings have evolved over time based on input from deans and would continue to adapt as the legal-education landscape changes.

He said the schools pulling out of the rankings were just upset that U.S. News didn’t always use the data points that cast them in the best light, and had lodged complaints since the rankings started.

“Every institution, singularly, wants to be measured on the metrics that they want, and they want the rankings designed specifically for them,” Mr. Gertler said. “We provide one set of comparable metrics so that students can evaluate their options, make their decision based on a commonality of data.”

Brian Leiter (Chicago), Some Realism About Withdrawing From is not going to go gently into the good night it richly deserves, even if dozens and dozens of schools withdraw over the next week.  40% of the ranking consists in reputational surveys, that controls, and even if the response rate drops, they will use what they can get. ...  Most of the other data in the ranking stew is available to the public via the ABA. ... [G]iven that the law school rankings are, along with the college rankings, their most influential product, my guess is they will do what it takes to keep it going (especially because of the risk that the boycott might spread to the colleges). ...

One worry I have is that the objections so far (by Yale, Harvard, and Berkeley) will be taken as an invitation by simply to jigger the formula a bit.  In that regard, the objections voiced so far seem to me mistaken:  the problem is that the entire formula is indefensible and meaningless. ... Objecting to this-or-that recent tweak to the formula is missing the forest for the twigs on the trees.

Reuters, US News Will Still Rank Law Schools as Georgetown and Columbia Join Boycott

U.S. News coverage:


U.S. News Response to Boycott

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