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What to Make of Law Schools Withdrawing From the U.S. News Ranking

Fri, January 27, 2023 11:44 AM | Sarah Hayden (Administrator)

Written by: Matt Spencer

Institutions such as Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, NYU, UC Berkeley, and Stanford have all announced that they will withdraw from the U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings. The report has served as a ranking system for the country’s top law schools, acting as the purveyor of which institutions were prestigious and which were not.

For consideration, administrators are asked to answer questions regarding grades and test scores for incoming applicants, as well as expected salaries once graduated. Opponents of the publication argue that schools could be tempted to only accept students with perfect grades, and later push them to accept only high paying jobs, as opposed to public service or interest jobs that benefit society. In years past, some schools have changed their practices or policies so as to improve their ranking, even if it undermines the school’s academic quality or diversity.

In a recent study, it was discovered that a 25.9% poverty rate exists for law students with two U.S.-born non-Hispanic Black parents, versus a 7.5% poverty rate for white law students. While privilege clearly translates into advantages for admissions testing and academic performance, it very rarely guarantees professional potential. If administrators are incentivized to only accept students with the best grades, versus possibly those with good grades and serious financial need, an unhealthy system of prestige is perpetuated, and those with potential are very often left out.

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