Overhauled US News & World Report rankings leave top law schools largely unchanged

  • The publication offered a preview of its top 14
  • Most of those schools boycotted the rankings this year

(Reuters) – Yale Law School is still the best in the country according to U.S. News & World Report, despite a boycott among top law schools of its popular rankings and an overhaul of its methodology.

This year, Yale now has some company at the top—it’s tied with Stanford Law School at the No. 1 spot.

In a surprise move, U.S. News on Tuesday released the top 14 schools on its latest law and medical school rankings. The big reveal comes one week ahead of the planned release of the full rankings, which cover all 199 American Bar Association-accredited law schools.

A U.S. News spokeswoman did not immediately respond on Tuesday to requests for comment about why it released the top schools early.

Nearly a quarter of law schools this year declined to provide U.S. News with any internal data for its rankings, including 12 of the top 14 schools, which said the publication’s methodology hurt student diversity and affordability. In response to the boycott, U.S. News overhauled the methodology of the law schools ranking to rely largely on ABA data, place more weight on bar passage and employment, and reduce the emphasis on Law School Admission Test scores.

The law schools in the top 14 remain largely unchanged from last year, though the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law pushed Georgetown University Law Center out of the No. 14 spot, as it did two years ago.

But there were some significant shifts within the top 14. Duke Law School moved up five spots to tie with New York University School of Law at No. 6. Columbia Law School fell four spots to No. 8, tying with the University of Virginia School of Law. Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law gained three spots to land in a three-way tie at No. 10 with the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and University of Michigan Law School.

The University of Chicago Law School retained its No. 3 spot while Harvard Law School held steady at No. 4. Cornell Law School fell one spot to No. 13.

U.S. News has disclosed the broad methodology changes it made in the wake of the boycott but has yet to specify the weights assigned to each metric within the new methodology.

“It’s impossible to say why Columbia dropped like they did, because we don’t know how they allocated the weights,” said law school admissions consultant Mike Spivey.

Read more:

Yale and Harvard law schools to shun influential U.S. News rankings

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

U.S. News Rankings come under fire at Yale, Harvard conference

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