Law Schools’ U.S. News Ratings Boycotts Haven’t Gone as Planned

The rankings' formal release is now delayed

Georgetown University
Georgetown University is home to one of the law schools involved.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Last year, a number of prominent colleges and universities pushed back against the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings of law schools. As The Washington Post reported at the time, among the issues was the methodology used to rank different law schools, with some universities citing a conflict between their values and the metrics used to achieve a high ranking on the list. Some notable medical schools also got in on the action.

Now, the first rankings since the boycotts have been released, and — as the saying goes — things have taken a turn. The New York Times reported on the new controversy that’s arisen from the previous one, which included frustration from law schools that both took part in the boycott and didn’t take part in the boycott.

At issue here, the Times notes, is that little seems to have changed even after the boycott and a pledge from U.S. News that their methodology has changed. One area where things have shifted is the data on employment after graduation, with Yale Law School’s numbers lower than they were under the previous metrics (and below what Yale would have liked). Not everything has changed, though — Yale Law remains at the top of the rankings.

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The reception of the new crop of rankings has led U.S. News & World Report to postpone the formal release of the rankings. “The level of interest in our rankings, including from those schools that declined to participate in our survey, has been beyond anything we have experienced in the past,” the magazine said in a statement. “As a result of these inquiries, the 2023-2024 Best Medical Schools and 2023-2024 Best Law Schools rankings and supporting documents will be released when this work has been completed.” All of which suggests that this debate isn’t quite over.

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