Harvard and Yale Law Schools Downgraded by US News & World Report Rankings: “Critically Flawed”

Officials at Yale and Harvard law schools said Wednesday that the institutions will no longer participate in US News & World Report’s annual ranking of top law schools. A Yale Law School official called the methodology behind the influential listing “deeply flawed.”

Yale Law School Dean Heather K. Gerken, who made the announcement in a blog post, said the rankings discourage universities from admitting low-income students and support those who want to pursue careers in public service. Tuition and housing at Yale Law School – whose alumni include former President Bill Clinton and four Supreme Court justices – run about $97,000 per year. Tuition and living costs for Harvard Law School exceed $107,000 annually.

“We have reached a point where the ranking process is undermining the core commitments of the legal profession,” Gerken wrote, adding that Yale Law School has “taken the top spot every year” since the rankings began. “As a result, we will no longer participate.”

“Its approach not only fails to advance the legal profession, but completely stands in the way of progress,” he added.

In an email sent to the Harvard Law School community on Wednesday that was shared with CBS MoneyWatch, John Manning, dean of Harvard Law School, said the institution was similarly dropping out of the rankings “because of a mismatch between our principles and our methodology.” It has been impossible to reconcile commitments and the stimulus US news rankings reflect.”

He also acknowledged the Yale Law School announcement made earlier in the day. Harvard is ranked No. 4 on US News & World Report’s annual list of top law schools.

Two of the nation’s top law schools come under fire amid renewed focus on U.S. News & World Report and similar college rankings, with critics calling their approach deepening income inequality And can effectively reduce diversity in elite schools. For example, one measure in US News & World Report’s methodology for ranking universities is “reputation,” or how college officials rate rival schools—a quality that critics say plays a role in educating students. College has little to do with ability.

US News & World Report also came under fire earlier this year after Columbia University admitted it had submitted falsified data in earlier years that helped propel its ranking to No. 2. As a result of those errors, Colombia said it would not provide the facility. information to US News while it reviewed its data collection.

Despite Columbia’s decision against submitting the data this year, US News went ahead and ranked the university, resulting in an Ivy League school. fell from No. 2 to No. 18.

To be sure, neither Yale nor Harvard is likely to be harmed by the drop in the rankings, given their strong reputations and notable alumni, many of whom have risen to the pinnacle of political and judicial success. Both have a lot of money to help students from low income backgrounds. Harvard’s endowment is about $50 billion and Yale’s is about $41.4 billion, making them the first and third wealthiest universities in the country.

In an emailed statement to CBS MoneyWatch, U.S. News & World Report executive chairman Eric Gertler said the publication’s “Best Law Schools” ranking is “for students who want to make the best decision for their law education.” “

He added. “As part of our mission, we must continue to ensure that law schools are accountable for the education they provide to these students, and this recent announcement does not change that mission.”

“Most Disturbing Aspects”

Yale Law School’s Gerken wrote that “the most troubling aspect” of the magazine’s ranking is that it discourages law schools from providing aid to students who want to pursue public interest careers. That’s because the ranking excludes loan-forgiveness programs when calculating student loan burden, she noted.

Harvard’s Manning outlined similar concerns, noting that the ranking “works against law schools’ commitments to increasing the socioeconomic diversity of our classes” and that its methodology is “out of the public interest for many law school graduates.” undermines efforts to support careers.”

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program was created in 2007 with the goal of forgiving the student loans of Americans who work in public service jobs, ranging from public school teachers to public interest attorneys who work for the government or nonprofit organizations. work for.

Gerken also called out US News’ emphasis on average LSAT/GRE scores and GPAs, which account for 20% of a law school’s overall ranking. Some experts have criticized standardized tests because students from wealthier families tend to score better, which reflects their ability to afford expensive test prep classes or tuition.

“This heavily weighted metric puts tremendous pressure on schools to overlook promising students, especially those who cannot afford expensive test preparation courses,” she said.

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