Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

U.S. News Releases Preview Of 2024 Law School Rankings: Top 14 And New Methodology


Robert Morse (Chief Data Strategist U.S. News), Focusing on Outcomes for Students: A Preview of the 2023-2024 U.S. News Best Law School Rankings:

2024 Rank

2023 Rank


1 2 Stanford
1 1 Yale
3 3 Chicago
4 4 Harvard
4 6 Penn
6 11 Duke
6 7 NYU
8 4 Columbia
8 8 Virginia
10 10 Michigan
10 13 Northwestern
10 9 UC-Berkeley
13 12 Cornell
14 15 UCLA

As education costs continue to soar, students and their families are increasingly focused on the student experience, career opportunities and tangible outcomes that a law school education can offer. To meet this demand, the 2023-2024 U.S. News Best Law Schools methodology prioritizes measures that identify clear and transparent outcomes for prospective students. These changes reflect the insights and input of more than 100 law school deans as well as other experts in the legal field across the country. As always, U.S. News rankings, data, and journalism provide students with the information they need to make the most informed decisions.

The 2023-2024 Best Law Schools methodology includes:

  • A significant increase in the weight of the bar passage rate, and the inclusion of “Ultimate Bar Passage,” a two-year measurement of a graduating class's bar exam success
  • A significant increase in weight of employment 10 months after graduation
  • Full credit for all full-time, long-term fellowships -- includes those that are school funded -- where bar passage is required or where the JD degree is an advantage
  • Maximum credit for those enrolled in graduate studies in the ABA employment outcomes grid
  • A significant reduction in overall weights of reputation surveys
    • Peer assessment and industry assessment are given equal weight to ensure opinions of academics were not weighted higher than opinions of practicing lawyers and judges
  • A reduction in median LSAT/GRE and median GPA scores

Earlier this year, some law schools chose not to provide their institution’s statistical data to U.S. News. In an effort to provide students with a level playing field for comparison, U.S. News ranked law schools using metrics that are mandatory for disclosure by the American Bar Association. This means that certain factors such as expenditures, at-graduation employment rate and JD graduate indebtedness are no longer included in the formula.

Wall Street Journal, Yale Law Still No. 1 on U.S. News & World Report’s Rankings Despite Leading Revolt:

Yale Law School held on to the top spot in this year’s U.S. News & World Report law school rankings, despite leading a revolt last fall against the well-known list. ...

Yale Law Dean Heather Gerken called the rankings “profoundly flawed” in November, saying they provided perverse incentives for schools to award financial aid based on test scores rather than on financial need and discouraged schools from having graduates pursue public-interest jobs. At the time, she said, “Its approach not only fails to advance the legal profession, but stands squarely in the way of progress.”

Columbia Law School, which had been ranked at No. 4 last year, slid to the No. 8 spot, while Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law rose to No. 10 from No. 13 and Duke jumped to No. 6 from No. 11. The University of California, Los Angeles, moved up one spot to break into the top 14, while Georgetown University Law Center, whose dean has been a particularly vocal critic of the rankings, fell out of that top-tier grouping. ...

Ms. Gerken said Tuesday that Yale Law never paid attention to the rankings, and what she’s learned about them over the past year “has only cemented our decision to walk away.” 

New York Times, U.S. News Releases New Rankings for Top Law and Medical Schools, Despite a Boycott:

After more than a dozen elite schools decided not to participate, the publication tweaked its methodology. And the ratings looked … not that different.

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