Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

What Is Behind The Delay In Releasing The U.S. News Law School Rankings?

US News (2023)Update:

Following up on last week's posts:, US News Delays Release of Law School Rankings Amid Questions About Discrepancies:

Adding to the recent tumult U.S. News & World Report has experienced over its annual law school rankings, the publication has now delayed the release of its much-anticipated 2023-24 “Best Law Schools” list by a week.

U.S. News sent an email to media late Friday evening announcing that the rankings would now be released April 25 instead of April 18, blaming the delay on what it said was “an unprecedented number of inquiries” from law schools.

Law schools were notified Friday afternoon about the changes, according Michelle Day, a spokesperson for U.S. News. ...

Paul L. Caron, Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and professor of law at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, speculated that the cause of the delay may pertain to bar passage data.

“In my March 15 post, Preview Of The 2024 U.S. News Law School Rankings: First-Time Bar Passage, I noted apparent miscalculations or discrepancies/inconsistencies in the data of eleven law schools on the ABA bar passage spreadsheet of all 196 law schools and noted the ABA’s warning at the top of the spreadsheet,” Caron wrote in an April 14 blog post.

“I wonder if U.S. News relied on the ABA bar passage spreadsheet without checking the ABA site for corrected data for updated bar passage information for each of the 196 law schools,” Caron wrote. ...

Some law schools have told that there were discrepancies in employment outcomes that U.S. News included in last week’s embargoed data. ... [A] Yale Law School spokesperson told on Monday, “If this is the employment metric they are using for Yale Law School, it is entirely incorrect and flatly inconsistent with the changes in methodology outlined on their website.” ... If U.S. News gives full credit for Law School Funded and grads in grad school, Yale’s employment outcome would be 96.8%, not 79.8%, according to the embargoed data released to law schools last week. 

U.S. News could not have used the 79.8% figure because that would have ranked Yale 136th in the jobs metric (before adjustment by U.S. News), which is given a significantly increased weighting this year and thus would have prevented Yale from being tied for #1 in the overall ranking. Instead, U.S. News must have used the 96.8% figure because that would have ranked Yale 12th in jobs and enabled them to be tied for #1 in the overall ranking.

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