UCLA law school joins exodus from US news rankings as movement grows

  • Law school is the first outside of the top 14 to stop participating in the influential rankings
  • Chicago, NYU, Virginia, Penn and Cornell are the only “T-14” law schools that have yet to break with US News

(Reuters) – The University of California at the Los Angeles School of Law on Tuesday became the first law school outside of the so-called T-14 top US law schools to break US News & World Report’s annual ranking.

Without “significant and meaningful changes” to the ranking methodology, interim law dean Russell Korobkin said in a letter on UCLA Law’s website that it would not participate this year — a move that could prompt lower-ranked schools to follow suit follow.

“I think more dominoes are definitely going to fall,” said admissions advisor Anna Ivey, a former dean of admissions at the University of Chicago Law School.

UCLA is now ranked 15th by US News, but moved up to 14th for a year in 2021.

As of Wednesday, nine of the T-14s — which relate to law schools, which consistently rank among the top 14 in US news — have said they will no longer provide internal data used in the rankings, citing their unwanted influence on school decision-making. Yale led the exodus, followed by law schools at Harvard, Berkeley, Georgetown, Columbia, Stanford, Michigan, Duke, and Northwestern Universities.

As of Tuesday, the law schools at the University of Chicago, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Virginia and Cornell University were the only remaining T-14 schools that had not publicly parted ways with the rankings. Representatives from each of these schools either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment on their plans.

US News had no immediate comment on the UCLA law ending its participation. It has said it will continue to rank all law schools accredited by the American Bar Association, though it hasn’t made clear how it will consider proprietary data schools don’t want to share. This data includes spending per student and average graduate debt.

School rankings are also based on reputation surveys completed by legal scholars and practicing attorneys, publicly available data prepared by the American Bar Association on admission test results for incoming law school students, and base grades, passing rates, and employment status of University graduates.

The deans of the boycotting law schools said the ranking penalizes schools whose graduates are pursuing public-interest jobs or advanced degrees, while rewarding those that spend more on students and raise tuition.

Lawyers have also argued that the rankings overemphasize LSAT scores and grade point averages for students, prompting schools to offer merit-based grants rather than need-based support.

“The rankings perversely reward schools for spending more and passing the cost on to their students, without regard to the value of the spending — a trait that also structurally disadvantages public schools, which tend to spend less and charge less than private schools .” wrote UCLA’s Korobkin.

Continue reading:

Law schools face the “biggest jolt” in decades with the LSAT rule change and US news exodus

Law schools at Yale and Harvard shun influential US news rankings

US News will continue to evaluate law schools as Georgetown and Columbia join the boycott

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Karen Sloan

Thomson Reuters

Karen Sloan reports on law firms, law schools and legal businesses. You can reach her at [email protected]

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