The U.S. News and World Report college rankings take another huge hit when Harvard Law School and Yale Law School announced their withdrawal from the rankings last Wednesday. The rankings were under fire when a professor accused Columbia University of falsifying data to boost its ranking.
The Washington Examiner reported that with Harvard and Yale dropping out of the rankings, that makes “two of the top five law schools in the rankings will no longer be included in the list” as Yale ranked first and Harvard fourth in the 2023 rankings. Other top-five institutions, which are Stanford University, University of Chicago, and Columbia University, have not announced whether they would also drop out of the rankings.
Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken was critical of the rankings and overall scandal when she said, “Since the very beginning, Yale Law School has taken the top spot every year.” Gerken added, “Yet, that distinction is not one that we advertise or use as a lodestar to chart our course … We have reached a point where the rankings process is undermining the core commitments of the legal profession. As a result, we will no longer participate.”
Gerken said the methodology is flawed because it “applies a misguided formula that discourages law schools from doing what is best for legal education.”
Harvard Law School Dean John Manning, in an email, said, “Done well, such rankings could convey accurate, relevant information about universities, colleges, and graduate and professional schools that may help students and families make informed choices about which schools best meet their needs.” Manning noted, “However, rankings can also emphasize characteristics that potentially mislead those who rely on them and can create perverse incentives that influence schools’ decisions in ways that undercut student choice and harm the interests of potential students.”
Both Harvard and Yale have prestigious law schools, as the Examiner noted, “Four members of the U.S. Supreme Court attended [Harvard], as did numerous high-profile attorneys, lower court judges, and elected officials.”
Despite the scandal, U.S. News defends its rankings and how it holds schools accountable.