Yale and Harvard law schools part ways with U.S. News rankings


Yale Law School and Harvard Law School are two of the top law schools in the United States, and have been featured on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Schools lists for decades. Now, schools are withdrawing.

Each year, US News publishes a list of the nation’s best colleges, including a list of the best law schools, using data submitted by each university School. Students and employers then use this list to judge the college or university’s merits.

But on Wednesday, the deans of both law schools announced their Will no longer participate in the annual list, criticizing the publication’s methodology and arguing that the list actively perpetuates the law school gap.

“While I sincerely believe that US News operates with good intentions, it faces the near-impossible task of ranking 192 law schools by a small set of common metrics that provide no insight into these differences. an accurate description of the institution,” wrote Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken. “Rather than advancing the legal profession, its approach directly impedes progress.”

Those sentiments were echoed by John Manning, dean of Harvard Law School, who said the way U.S. News chose its rankings “undermines the efforts of many law schools to support graduates doing public service.”

“We shared and expressed concern to U.S. News that their debt metrics ignore school-funded loan forgiveness programs when calculating student debt. This loan forgiveness program helps students who work in low-wage jobs, often in the public interest sector ,” Manning said in a statement posted on the school’s website.

U.S. News executive chairman and chief executive Eric Gertler defended the rankings in a statement to CNN, saying the list was part of its “journalistic mission” and to hold law schools accountable. a method.

“The U.S. News Best Law Schools rankings are for students seeking the best decisions about their legal education. We will continue our journalistic mission to ensure students can rely on the best and most accurate information when making decisions,” Gertler said. “As part of our mission, we must continue to ensure that law schools are accountable for the education they will provide to these students, and that mission does not change with this recent announcement.”

Still, Gerken argues that the journal is actively discouraging law schools from offering aid by placing a high value on LSAT and GRE scores, as well as GPA. That emphasis forces schools to reject promising students who might not be able to afford test prep classes, and pushes schools to direct financial aid to high-achieving students rather than those most in need, she said.

The ranking also penalizes universities that support students seeking public interest careers or pursuing doctoral and master’s degrees, Gerken said.

“Unfortunately, the ranking system has made it increasingly difficult for law schools to provide strong support for students who serve their communities, enroll students from low-income families, and provide financial aid to those most in need,” Gerken wrote.

Manning agrees that focusing on the merits of prospective students has influenced the way schools distribute financial aid.

“While both HLS and YLS have resisted so-called performance aid, it is becoming more common, absorbing scarce resources that can be allocated more directly as needed,” Manning said.

Given the two statuses of Yale and Harvard Among the most popular law schools in the country, their The move is significant. For years, policymakers and those working in higher education have dismissed the rankings, though they are still referenced by prospective students and their families.Still, Yale and Harvard’s move May herald a larger shift in university rankings.

While the decisions have been praised, some have questioned whether if other schools follow suit, it will only make it harder for ordinary people to choose to attend which universities to apply to.

In his statement, Gerken said the school would instead provide prospective students with data “in an open, transparent and useful form” to help them make decisions.

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