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Columbia, Georgetown, and More Join US News Boycott

More top law schools have joined in boycotting the U.S. News & World Report ranking.

In the past week, Columbia, Georgetown, Stanford, Duke and the University of Michigan have all withdrawn from participating in the US News ranking. The law schools join Berkeley, Harvard, and Yale, which withdrew from the ranking earlier this month. Many of the schools boycotting cited frustrations with the ranking’s methodology, which places a heavy emphasis on schools with high test scores, grades, and employment, while downgrading schools that focus on public service law careers and low tuition.

“Over time, I increasingly have come to believe that the U.S. News law school rankings no longer serve the public interest,” Michigan’s dean, Mark D. West, says. “Although we have had sustained discussion for years within the Quad about parting ways with the rankings, it would have been difficult for us to take this step alone. I applaud Yale Law School (and Dean Heather Gerken, Michigan Law, ’94) for being first mover and share the concerns expressed by Yale and other schools that have withdrawn.”

SOME LAW SCHOOLS WON’T WITHDRAW

While many of the T14 law schools have quickly decided to withdraw from the rankings, the decision for law schools below the T14 is a bit more difficult.

Angela Onwuachi-Willig, the dean of Boston University, said that despite BU’s qualms about the rankings, the administration isn’t planning to withdraw. According to Onwuachi-Willig, lower-ranked schools, applicants and employers get some benefit out of the “free marketing” of the rankings.

“Yes, a school like Boston University, which doesn’t have the legacy and the history of a Harvard University, is going to get more of that benefit,” she says.

Ken Randall, the dean at George Mason University’s law school, agrees about the rankings flaws too. Still, he says, the rankings do give students some guidance.

“Most students don’t go to the top 10, and there are about 200 law schools,” he says.

Despite the boycott, US News says it will continue to rank schools—even those that choose not to provide it with their internal data.

“U.S. News has a responsibility to prospective students to provide comparative information that allows them to assess these institutions,” Robert Morse, chief data strategist at US News, says.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Inside Higher Ed, US News

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