Harvard and Yale Law Exit US News Ranking

Harvard Law and Yale Law will no longer provide data to US News & World Report for the publication’s annual law school ranking.

Loyal readers of Ivy Coach’s admissions blog know that there are a few guiding principles that have governed the admissions process for decades at our nation’s elite universities. One such principle? Where Harvard goes, the rest tend to follow. So when Harvard Law School and Yale Law School, the latter being the top ranked law school in this year’s US News & World Report ranking, jointly announced that they would no longer be participating in the annual ranking of our nation’s law schools, you can bet that the folks at US News had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. After all, US News publishes the most important of the university rankings — for both undergraduate and graduate students — and the magazine’s bottom line depends on these rankings.

As Leah Asmelash reports for CNN in a piece entitled “Yale and Harvard law schools part ways with U.S. News & World Report rankings,” “On Wednesday, deans at both law schools announced they would no longer be participating in the annual list, criticizing the publication’s methodology and arguing that the list actively perpetuates disparities in law schools…Eric Gertler, the executive chairman and CEO of U.S. News, defended the rankings in a statement to CNN, calling the lists part of its ‘journalistic mission’ and a way to hold law schools accountable…Still, [Dean of Yale Law School Heather] Gerken argued that the magazine actively discourages law schools from providing aid by placing heavy emphasis on LSAT and GRE scores, as well as GPAs. That emphasis pressures schools to turn down promising students who may not have been able to afford test preparation courses, and pushes schools to use financial aid on high-scoring students, rather than the students that need it the most, she said. The rankings also penalize colleges for supporting students seeking public interest careers, or pursuing PhD and master’s degrees, Gerken said.”

Ivy Coach salutes Harvard Law School and Yale Law School for blazing a trail in defiance of US News. While we appreciate US News‘ argument that the publication holds law schools accountable as part of their “journalistic mission,” we also appreciate the argument of the Yale Law School dean since it’s vital to our nation’s system of jurisprudence that a diverse group of young people attend the top law schools each year and pursue all sorts of careers, particularly those that serve the public interest. It will certainly be interesting to see if other law schools soon follow Harvard and Yale’s lead. And it will be interesting to see how US News responds to the moves. Stay tuned!


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  • Altman says:

    Interestingly, Harvard and Yale Colleges have not followed suit. Are they testing reactions of the magazine and the general public first? I wonder of this is more about not wanting to report data like Columbia rather than caring about those underserved. We all know these schools are far more self-serving than sacrificial.

  • Dan M. says:

    Maybe I’m wrong but why would US News care? They are the ones ranking schools. If HY don’t ‘participate’ how does that prevent US News from ranking them? Readers imagine the mag is harvesting its info from somewhere but don’t know/don’t care. And I am sure the mag will just use govt. data reported by colleges to determine a ranking. Do restaurants participate in rankings? Nope. But guess what? They still get a rating! HY might not like their future ranking, but they will get one anyway- just like Columbia. They might just re-enter the rankings after a hiatus. US News aint gonna kill their Golden Goose based on a few snooty tooty administrators.

  • Jamarcus Smart says:

    I agree 100% with Dan M. It appears Harvard is still upset about falling to #4 in the law school rankings! 😂😂😂

  • US NEWS says:

    Late Thursday evening, U.S. News and World Report issued a statement saying that they will continue to rank all fully accredited law schools, even if they do not agree to submit data.

    “We respect each institution’s decision to choose whether or not to submit their data to U.S. News,” the publication wrote in its statement. “However, U.S. News has a responsibility to prospective students to provide comparative information that allows them to assess these institutions. U.S. News will therefore continue to rank the nearly 200 accredited law schools in the United States.”

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