Paul L. Caron

Thursday, January 19, 2023

With Maryland, USF, And South Texas, 28 Schools Are Now Boycotting The U.S. News Law School Rankings

Updated U.S. News Law School Rankings Boycott Scorecard

Maryland Carey Law Remains Focused on True Excellence:

Maryland (2016)After a great deal of thoughtful discussion with a wide variety of stakeholders, Maryland Carey Law has made the decision not to provide U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) with proprietary data about the institution in connection with USNWR’s Best Law Schools rankings, scheduled to be published this spring. As one of the oldest and most innovative law schools in the country, Maryland Carey Law has long provided students with the highest quality legal education -- one that trains them to become talented, ethical lawyers who care about justice. We will continue to do this work in the months and years to come.

We applaud USNWR’s willingness to reevaluate its flawed rankings methodology. In light of the company’s decision to rank all law schools on publicly available data only, Maryland Carey Law does not see the need to voluntarily provide additional institutional data for USNWR to sell. We look forward to working in good faith with USNWR in the years to come to arrive at a rankings methodology that more accurately reflects the wide range of values embraced by individual law schools, including fulfilling the aspirations and needs of the diverse range of students we all attract and educate. In the meantime, Maryland Carey Law will remain focused upon the excellence of its faculty, staff, and students, and upon its valued partnerships with the university, the city, the state, and beyond.

USF Law Will No Longer Provide Data to U.S. News:

USF (2021)After careful consideration and in consultation with university leadership, members of our alumni, faculty, student, and staff community, we have decided to not participate in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of law schools.

In recent weeks, law schools from across the country have announced that they are exiting the U.S. News rankings process. Here at USF Law, we share many of the same concerns they have voiced. For many years, we have specifically expressed dissatisfaction with the rankings’ disregard for the importance of diversifying the bar and the bench as well as U.S. News’ inability to capture the value of the mission-driven education that we provide here. In addition, U.S. News’ methodology ignores significant regional and state-level variations that meaningfully impact schools like USF Law. More perniciously, U.S. News’ methodology pressures law schools to overemphasize standardized tests at the expense of holistic assessments of prospective students.

The time and resources we spend supplying data to U.S. News for rankings purposes are better used serving students. With the ABA-required detailed reports that schools post, and with the advent of robust law school websites, prospective law students have more comprehensive sources of information than the reductive single ranking provided by U.S. News. While U.S. News announced some modifications to their methodology in early January, our perspective remains unaffected by these changes.

We are proud of our 110-year-old tradition of educating excellent, ethical, and skilled lawyers who graduate ready to serve many different communities. Long after graduation, our alumni remain engaged with our school and our students. Time and again, alumni tell us that the reason they return to USF to mentor and support future generations of USF lawyers is because of the enriched and inspiring experiences they had as USF law students. Whether it is providing indigent defense, working as in-house counsel at a technology company, or serving on the bench, the work of our outstanding alumni and their appreciation for their alma mater measure the quality of a USF Law education in ways that the U.S. News ranking does not.

South Texas College of Law Houston Will Not Participate in the U.S. News Law School Rankings Survey in 2023:

South Texas LogoSouth Texas College of Law Houston will not respond to the U.S. News law school rankings survey in 2023.

For decades, experts across the spectrum of legal education have decried the U.S. News law school rankings as purporting to employ a numeric ranking for information that simply cannot be quantified.

Business and legal leaders in Houston founded South Texas College of Law 100 years ago this year with a simple mission: to afford working professionals an opportunity to obtain a law degree. A century later, South Texas remains true to that mission, providing a welcoming and supportive environment for a diverse student body, preparing exceptional attorneys to lead and serve their communities with distinction.

Those important hallmarks – diversityopportunityexcellence, and service – make South Texas an ideal community in which to study law. An engaged and expert faculty provides a challenging, exceptional legal education, ensuring that South Texas students master not just the rule of law, but also the practical application of that law. A caring and hard-working staff fosters a community of engagement and support for law students. A diverse and dedicated student body reflects the population of the most diverse city in the nation, nurtures respectful dialogue, and fosters a more inclusive legal community. A loyal and committed alumni network of 16,000 graduates offers extraordinary experiences and mentorship to law students and graduates. And a vibrant and growing Houston legal and business community creates an enviable array of extra-curricular and career opportunities unavailable in many jurisdictions.

None of these important characteristics are reflected in the U.S. News rankings; indeed, U.S. News simply has no mechanism to quantify and rank-order these vital qualities. Thus, the U.S. News rankings create a false sense of precision on the purported relative merits of law schools – while nonetheless omitting the crucial, non-quantifiable characteristics at the heart of each law school’s mission and purpose.

U.S. News has acknowledged these concerns. In response to them, through two open letters to law school deans, U.S. News has promised that it will make significant changes in the calculations on which the rankings are based, both this year and in the years to come. Importantly, however, U.S. News has not disclosed what those changes are – and will not do so until after the rankings are released. In essence, U.S. News is asking that law schools trust it with their data . . . and then hope for the best.

South Texas College of Law Houston, rather, will wait for U.S. News to reveal its new rankings approach to ascertain whether U.S. News has made the changes that experts across the spectrum have identified as so important to a fair and appropriate methodology. Thereafter, South Texas will determine whether to submit information for the rankings in future years.

Law360, South Texas Law School Latest To Shun US News Rankings

  U.S. News Rank
Boycott (28)
Yale 1
Stanford 2
Columbia 4
Harvard 4
Penn 6
Virginia 8
UC-Berkeley 9
Michigan 10
Duke 11
Northwestern 13
Georgetown 14
Fordham 37
UC-Davis 37
UC-Irvine 37
Maryland 47
U Wash 49
UC-San Francisco 51
St. John’s 84
New Hampshire 105
Idaho 142
Cal-Western 147-192
Campbell 147-192
Roger Williams 147-192
U. San Francisco 147-192
South Texas 147-192
Southwestern 147-192
No Boycott (5)
Chicago 3
Cornell 12
Wash U 16
Georgia 29
George Mason 30

U.S. News coverage:


U.S. News Response to Boycott

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