If top-tier schools were a battle, it would look something like that scene from Game of Thrones. You know the one. That said, even really bad weddings have a silver lining — not all of the top law schools will be abandoning the traditional metric nerds use to try and pull rank on their peers. From Reuters:
The University of Chicago Law School on Wednesday became the first elite law school to confirm that it will continue to submit information to U.S. News & World Report for its rankings, amid an exodus that began one week ago.
Law dean Thomas Miles wrote in a message to students that most of its data used in the rankings is already public, and the remainder is “information we have no reason to withhold.” Chicago is ranked No. 3.
“The rankings of academic institutions clearly have a readership, and we wish to prevent the use of inaccurate information”…Of the 196 law schools ranked by U.S. News, some will come to different conclusions about participating, said law school admissions consultant Mike Spivey.
“Chicago’s decision very well may start a counter-reaction of other schools starting to announce that they will continue to submit their data, versus the snowballing opt-outs from the past week,” Spivey said.
Cornell Law is also singing the same tune. From the Cornell Sun:
Cornell Law School Dean Jens Ohlin released a statement on Wednesday, Nov. 23 addressing the trend of top law schools withdrawing from the U.S. News and World Report rankings. Cornell will not withdraw from the rankings at this time, according to the statement.
Ohlin said in the statement that while he believes the rankings distort academic decision-making, do not capture the institutional quality and create incentives adverse to the interests of the legal profession, withdrawal from the rankings is not the solution.
This is a major display of backbone! Most law schools leap like lemmings to copy whatever trends Yale, Harvard and Stanford try to set. There is also some great common sense at play here. Ohlin recognizes that even if the schools decide to opt out of handing over their data to US News, a great deal of it is publicly available. As there is easy money to be made for US News to keep doing what it does, it’s not like they’d stop making the donuts any time soon.
Have any bets on which remaining members of the T14 will stay in US News’ good graces? Think any of the self-ousted will betray their compatriots and leak their data to US News? If this happens, my money is on Yale. Not only would it be quite the plot twist for the author of the opinion to turn out to be the leaker, but Alito had to learn the tactic from somewhere.
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at email@example.com and by tweet at @WritesForRent.