The Stanford Law School has joined the law programs at other top schools in pulling out of U.S. News & World Report’s rankings, saying they don’t emphasize diversity.
Stanford is the current No. 2 school in the ratings. No. 1-rated Yale dropped out earlier in the week along with UC-Berkeley, Harvard, Yale, Georgetown and Columbia.
Deans of the law schools told the Associated Press that the U.S. News ranking system is biased against programs meant to increase socioeconomic diversity, support lower-income students and encourage the pursuit of public service.
“We know that well-formulated rankings, along with other publicly available data, can provide a valuable service to prospective students,” Stanford Law Dean Jenny Martinez wrote in an email to the school’s community. “In the spirit of providing useful information to prospective students and improving the ability of law schools to do their best for students, we have been one of a number of law schools who have approached U.S. News over time with concrete suggestions to improve its ranking methodology, to no avail.
One of the things the survey measures are the jobs law school grads land. If they wind up doing a public interest fellowship funded by the school, the school loses points in the survey.
“In a world where interdisciplinary expertise is increasingly important, it also treats students pursuing another advanced degree, such as an MBA or Ph.D., as unemployed,” Martinez said.
“By joining with the other schools that have chosen to withdraw from participation in the U.S. News rankings this year, we hope to increase the chances that the methodology is seriously overhauled, not only to reduce perverse incentives but to provide clearer and more relevant information that prospective students would find genuinely useful in making decisions about which law schools best match their interests and needs,” Martinez said.
U.S. News executive chairman and CEO Eric Gertler said the magazine will continue with the rankings regardless of whether they submit their data.
“We will continue to fulfill our journalistic mission of ensuring that students can rely on the best and most accurate information in making that decision,” Gertler said in a written statement. “As part of our mission, we must continue to ensure that law schools are held accountable for the education they will provide to these students and that mission does not change with these recent announcements.” — From staff and wire reports