The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law has followed the lead of Harvard Law School and Yale Law School by announcing that they will no longer be reporting data to US News & World Report for the publication’s annual ranking of law schools. As we have said time and again on the pages of this admissions blog — just as we did yesterday — where Harvard goes, the rest tend to follow. It’s thus little surprise to us that another top law school has made the bold decision to no longer report data to the kingpin of the law school rankings.
As Melissa Korn reports for The Wall Street Journal in a piece entitled “UC Berkeley Joins Yale, Harvard in Withdrawing From U.S. News Law-School Ranking,” “‘Although rankings are inevitable and inevitably have some arbitrary features, there are aspects of the U.S. News rankings that are profoundly inconsistent with our values and public mission,’ Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky said in a note to the school community. Berkeley’s law school came in at No. 9 in the latest U.S. News ranking. Specifically, Mr. Chemerinsky said, the rankings penalize schools that help students pursue careers in public-service law, motivate schools to enroll more high-income students who don’t need to borrow to earn their degrees, discount graduates who are pursuing advanced degrees, and reward schools that spend more on a per-student basis, when ‘there is no evidence that this correlates to the quality of the education received.’ Mr. Chemerinsky said he has complained to U.S. News about his concerns for years, ‘to no avail.'”
So what will US News do if so many of the top law schools are refusing to release their data? Well, they’re going to rank these schools anyway! Shocking, we know. Hey, is it surprising that a publication whose bottom line depends on these rankings is going to keep publishing rankings whether or not the schools being ranked make it easy for them or not? As Robert Morse writes for US News in a piece entitled “U.S. News Best Law Schools Rankings Will Continue to Inform Prospective Students,” “U.S. News & World Report will continue to rank all fully accredited law schools, regardless of whether schools agree to submit their data. A few law schools recently announced that they will no longer participate in the data collection process for the U.S. News Best Law Schools rankings. We respect each institution’s decision to choose whether or not to submit their data to U.S. News. 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.”
At Ivy Coach, we’ve got a crystal ball — and it’s historically quite accurate. Our crystal ball hereby projects that the law schools that choose not to submit data to US News this coming year will slip in the forthcoming rankings. Stay tuned!
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