Paul L. Caron

Thursday, December 8, 2022

U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott Is A Big Nothing Burger

Bloomberg Law:  Law School Boycott of U.S. News Ranking Is a Big Nothing Burger, by Vivia Chen:

Bloomberg Law (2021)What’s getting more shade than Donald Trump in the aftermath of the midterm elections? The U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the nation’s law schools.

Since Yale Law School first announced its boycott of that publication’s ranking of law schools a few weeks ago, it seems that any law school with a claim to being a “top” school has noisily withdrawn from cooperating with the yearly lineup.

Question is, does all this hoopla and protest really matter to schools, prospective students, or the legal market? ...

Elite law schools opting out of the U.S. News ranking won’t change a damn thing. If anything, it highlights the big class divide among law schools. Tony schools can afford to turn their noses up at the game because they know their position in the hierarchy is secured.

Fact is there’s very little movement in the T14, especially among those schools in the top seven or so. Further down the food chain, the situation is much more volatile. Last year, for instance, the University of Wisconsin dropped from 29th to 43rd place, while George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School climbed to 30th place from 41st.

So let the pedestrian schools duke it out for their place in their various divisions—those vying for the top 15 to 25 spots, followed by those in the 26 to 50 group, and the next two quadrants, up to the 100th rank.

As for schools beyond the 100th place (U.S. News ranks up to 192 law schools)? Well, that’s an entirely different neighborhood, far removed from the vista of the T14 or Big Law.

What all this means is that the vast majority of law schools have little choice but to participate in the rankings rat race—and that will keep the machine humming. ...

Love them or hate them, rankings carry weight. According to a 2021 Bloomberg Law survey, 50% of respondents stated that ranking was a factor in deciding which law school to attend.

U.S. News coverage:


U.S. News Response to Boycott

Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink