U.S. News & World Report, facing backlash, revamps its law school rankings

  • More than 20 law faculties announced that they will not participate in the rating
  • The new rankings rely more heavily on data from the American Bar Association

(Reuters) – U.S. News & World Report said on Monday it would change its law school rankings amid a growing outcry among schools that say the closely watched list hinders their diversity and affordability.

The next edition of the rankings, usually released in March, will rely on publicly available data collected by the American Bar Association and reputational research conducted by academics, judges and lawyers, meaning all schools will be ranked on the same factors. whether they participate or not, according to a letter sent to law deans by US News on Monday. According to the publication, it will place more weight on schools’ placement and pass rates, while reducing the weight of reputational studies.

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“Based on [discussions with more than 100 law deans]Based on our own research and review process for recurring ratings, we are making a number of changes to this year’s ratings that reflect that information and allow us to publish the best data available,” the letter said.

At least 21 law schools have said they will not submit internal data to the rankings, after the leader of Yale Law School launched a boycott in November. The drop from the rankings has sparked a flurry of interest among the nation’s elite law schools, with all but two of the top 14 dropping out. Legal academics have long complained that US News’ ranking methodology encourages schools to raise tuition and give more financial aid to applicants with high test scores and undergraduate grades rather than those most in need.

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Law school admissions consultant Mike Spivey said Monday that he expects a number of additional law schools to withdraw from the rankings based on ABA data.

“The main thing is that it will all be open,” he said. “There’s no reason for the schools to stay.”

A U.S. News spokeswoman said Monday that the upcoming rankings do not include per-student spending, average student debt at graduation or employment at graduation, metrics the ABA does not collect or publish, but which U.S. News solicits from schools. .

“For the ranking portion, there will be some changes in how we weight certain data points, including a reduced emphasis on peer evaluation surveys of academics, lawyers and judges, and an increased weighting of outcome measures,” the letter to deans said.

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Reputation surveys previously accounted for 40% of a school’s ranking, while passing and employability accounted for 26%. U.S. News said Monday it will not disclose how each factor is weighted until the new rankings are released.

Read more:

Yale and Harvard Law Schools to reject influential US News rankings

Why ranked law students might stick with US News

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Karen Sloan

Thomson Reuters

Karen Sloan reports on law firms, law schools and the business of law. Contact her at [email protected]

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