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The University of Washington School of Law

University of Washington and University of Pennsylvania Join U.S. News Ranking Boycott

The University of Washington and the University of Pennsylvania are the latest law schools to join in the boycotting of the U.S. News & World Report rankings.

UW and UPenn join top law schools around the nation—including Yale, Harvard and UC Berkeley—in withdrawing from the rankings citing frustrations with the ranking methodology.


“We arrived at this decision because the current methodology undercuts our mission, values and commitment to an equitable and inclusive vision for legal education and society,” Tamara F. Lawson, dean of the University of Washington School of Law, says in a statement. “Since its founding, our school has prided itself on preparing lawyers to work for the public good while expanding access to the legal profession and justice for underserved communities. The rankings undermine these efforts.”

Lawson was critical of ranking methodology, which penalizes schools that encourage public service and low cost.

“The factors used in determining rankings do not weigh the student experience, and, in fact, discourage investments in critical areas such as wellness, experiential learning, interdisciplinary opportunities, cultural competence, and professional development,” Lawson says.

Those are similar sentiments of many other deans of law schools that have made the decision to withdraw from the rankings.

“The US News rankings are profoundly flawed – they disincentivize programs that support public interest careers, champion need-based aid and welcome working-class students into the profession,” Heather Gerkin, dean of Yale Law School, wrote in a statement. “We have reached a point where the rankings process is undermining the core commitments of the legal profession.”

Despite the withdrawal of many top law schools, A U.S. News executive said it plans to continue ranking fully accredited schools.

“The U.S. News Best Law Schools rankings are for students seeking the best decision for their law education. 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,” Eric Gertler, executive chairman and CEO of U.S. News, said in a 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.”

Sources: The Washington Post, University of Washington, Tipping the Scales

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