UC Berkeley, Stanford join top law schools’ boycott of U.S. News & World Report rankings
Ranking institutions have joined thousands of law professors, judges and other attorneys nationwide in a boycott of the U.S. News & World Report rankings.
Students at Berkeley, Stanford and more than 100 law schools and legal organizations have signed on to a letter calling on the U.S. News and World Report to stop using the rankings to assess professors and students, and instead include data from public sources.
The letter, co-signed by dozens of UC Berkeley students, was sent to the U.S. News and World Report, which this month issued an 11th anniversary edition of its annual law school rankings. The rankings have been linked to law school rankings in the past, but the new rankings do not use law school data such as graduation rates or the average starting salary for newly admitted first-year students, which have proved crucial to predicting law school performance.
In addition to the law school letter, the professors of the American University School of Law sent a letter to the U.S. News and World Report asking it to change its methodology and end the rankings.
“We find this methodology to be profoundly deficient,” said Elizabeth Barfield, the co-director of the school’s program in legal history and the past executive director of the Association of Women in History. “What we do know about law school is that it’s driven by a pool of very highly skilled individuals who go into law school to make a career of law. And many of them find that they cannot manage that career in that environment.”
Law schools and other legal organizations had previously sent similar letters, and the boycott has spread to other ranking sources including the U.S. News & World Report, the Washington Post and the Modern Law Review. About 30 law journals have also cut ties with the rankings.
Students and professors say they are concerned that the rankings will lead to under-