Yale and Harvard law schools dump U.S. News school rankings that many grad students obsess over


Yale Law School and Harvard Law School are pulling out of the US News & World Report law school rankings they are saying are flawed.

Yale, which has taken the highest spot within the rankings every yr, determined the standards were “profoundly flawed,” Dean Heather Gerken said Wednesday. The varsity will now not take part in listings that “disincentivize programs that support public interest careers, champion need-based aid, and welcome working-class students into the occupation,” she said.

The rankings devalue programs that encourage low-paying public interest jobs and reward schools that give scholarships for top LSAT scores moderately than specializing in a student’s financial needs, Gerken said. And while Yale awards many more public interest fellowships per student than any of its peers, she said, US News  “appears to discount these invaluable opportunities to such an extent that these graduates are effectively classified as unemployed.” 

That “backward approach discourages law schools throughout the country from supporting students who dream of a service profession,” Gerken said in a post on the college’s website. The rankings also discourage graduates from pursuing advanced degrees, she said. 

US News & World Report LP said Yale’s decision won’t change its goals for the rankings, that are a prestigious measure for the nation’s best law schools. 

“The US News Best Law Schools rankings are for college students searching for the perfect decision for his or her law education,” said Eric Gertler, executive chairman and chief executive officer.

“We’ll proceed to satisfy our journalistic mission of ensuring that students can depend on the perfect and most accurate information in making that call,” Gertler said in a press release. “As a part of our mission, we must proceed to be sure that law schools are held accountable for the education they are going to provide to those students and that mission doesn’t change with this recent announcement.”

Harvard joined Yale in announcing it would withdraw from the rankings. 

“It has develop into unattainable to reconcile our principles and commitments with the methodology and incentives the US News rankings reflect,” Dean John F. Manning said in a statement on the Harvard Law School website. “This decision was not made calmly and only after considerable deliberation over the past several months.”

The “debt metric” adopted by US News two years ago “risks confusing greater than it informs because a faculty may lower debt at graduation through generous financial aid, but it surely can also achieve the identical effect by admitting more students who’ve the resources to avoid borrowing,” Manning said. The varsity also said the methodology focuses an excessive amount of on students test scores and college grades and undermines Harvard’s effort support public interest careers for his or her graduates.


At Stanford law school, currently ranked No. 2, “we’ve got long been concerned in regards to the US News law school rankings methodology,” spokeswoman Stephanie Ashe said. The varsity will probably be giving “careful thought” to Yale’s objections, Ashe said.

University of Chicago Law School, ranked No. 3 by US News, and Columbia Law School, No. 4, declined to comment.

Yale isn’t the primary to criticize the US News rankings. Earlier within the yr, a member of Columbia’s undergraduate faculty, Professor Michael Thaddeus, questioned the accuracy of knowledge submitted by the university to US News. The varsity later admitted the info had been inaccurate, and Columbia dropped from No. 2 to No. 18 within the rankings.

“The law deans have been having these conversations with US News and things haven’t modified,” Gerken said in an interview. “That is strictly why that is the moment to take a step back. It’s also a moment when institutions across the country are reflecting on the role of upper education on the planet and what our values are.” 

Gerken said that she doesn’t know whether or not US News will include Yale in the subsequent rating, but that it “wouldn’t have an unlimited amount of our data.”

Ted Ruger, dean of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, said he “applauds Yale Law for its leadership in raising key questions for all law schools by withdrawing from the US News & World Report rankings. While useful in some ways, the rankings don’t provide a transparent or complete perspective into institutional priorities for educating future lawyers. We’re evaluating this issue and assessing a process for our own decision-making.” 

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