Yale and Harvard Law Schools Drop US News Rankings. Do others follow?

Yale Law School – Long ranked #1 US News and World Report — is leaving the magazine’s rankings, he announced Wednesday. Hours after the announcement that was first reported beside Wall Street Journal, Harvard Law School said it would do the same.

US news stands at the forefront of legal education and the advancement of the profession,” said Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken. “This has made it more difficult for law schools to admit and support low-income students and undermines efforts to serve a generation. Now is the time to take a step.”

More specifically, Gerken criticized US news for relying heavily on student test scores in its law school rankings, which can prevent schools from admitting promising students who can’t pay to prepare for the exams, and for giving lower grades to programs where many students take school-funded scholarships that Yale uses. to support students pursuing careers in the public interest, he said wrote in a statement.

The magazine rejected Gerken’s comments. “We are committed to our journalistic mission of ensuring that students can rely on the best and most accurate information to make decisions about their education,” said Madeline Smanik. US news spokesperson, wrote in a statement. For example, he wrote, the magazine gives less credit to school-funded scholarships because it “focuses on determining whether a school helps its students land positions in the open labor market.”

Several researchers studying the rankings said Chronicle that Yale’s decision is a big deal. Yale has come first US newsIn the list of law schools since 1994, Smanik confirmed.

“When a school has been ranked so well over the years to say they’re going to resist the rankings and not participate, that’s a very public statement about the limitations of the rankings,” said Michael Sauder, a sociology professor at the university. of Iowa, who has studied, among other things more than 100 were interviewed law school administrators and faculty about their views US news ranking.

As early as a decade ago, administrators described Sauder as struggling to balance equity and ranking goals. “I don’t think Yale is unique in recognizing this problem,” he said. “If they move it first, other schools can feel comfortable doing the same.”

Chronicle contacted the deans of the top 10 law schools. Only one, the University of Pennsylvania’s Carey School of Law, responded with a comment: “Penn Carey Law commends Yale Law and Harvard Law for their leadership in raising key issues for all law schools, stepping back from the law school. US News and World Report ranking,” the spokesperson wrote. “We are evaluating this matter and evaluating our decision-making process.”

But even the departures of Yale and Harvard — which will be in 2022-23. No. 4 in the 2018 Law School Rankings — is a shakeup in a ranking that has dominated consumer attention for colleges for decades.

“It’s definitely not good news US news, as its legitimacy as a rating agency is based on its ability to create a believable status hierarchy,” Jelena Brankovic, a sociologist at Bielefeld University in Germany, who works on the rankings, wrote in her message. If some of the biggest names in American higher education are missing from the law school list, “the credibility and usefulness of the list in the eyes of students may be called into question,” he wrote.

The development comes as part of a broader review of the magazine’s college rankings. Over the past year, observers have questioned the accuracy of Columbia’s data and Rutgers universities and University of Southern California have sent to various US news lists.

It remains to be seen whether Yale and Harvard will appear on next year’s list. Historically, colleges have declined to participate US newsin the undergraduate program rankings, analysts have calculated a ranking for these institutions anyway. In this case a US news a spokesperson wrote: “We are looking at options.”

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