It was just yesterday that we wondered what was wrong with the U.S. News law school rankings. As it turns out, the answer must be A LOT because their release date had been delayed yet again.
The latest edition of the U.S. News law school rankings was supposed to be released on April 18 but the unveiling of the new-and-improved rankings was then pushed to April 25 thanks to an “unprecedented number of inquiries from schools.” Yesterday afternoon, U.S. News decided to delay the release of the rankings once again — and this time, there is no guidance on when they’ll actually be published.
According to Dean Paul Caron of Pepperdine Law over at TaxProf Blog, this is the email law school deans received from U.S. News announcing the delay:
As we announced last week, we are dealing with an unprecedented number of inquiries including requests to update data submitted after the collection period from law and medical schools during the initial embargo period and are working to address these inquiries. The level of interest in our rankings, including from those schools that declined to participate in our survey, has been beyond anything we have experienced in the past.
As a result of these inquiries, the updated embargo and final files for 2023-2024 Best Medical Schools and 2023-2024 Best Law Schools rankings and supporting documents will be released when this work has been completed.
We take our role as a journalism enterprise very seriously and are working as quickly as possible to produce the best information available for students. You will receive a notification when the updated embargo site has launched for law and medical schools.
Oof, you’d think that U.S. News would be too busy putting out data fires right now to be taking pot shots at the schools that chose to boycott the rankings but you’d be wrong … apparently just like the U.S. News law school rankings.
From what we know, U.S. News has really dropped the ball on its calculations regarding employment data in its new methodology, which was supposed to give full credit to those employed in school-funded fellowships and those pursuing further graduate education.
Yale Law — the school that spearheaded the U.S. News rankings boycott — has already weighed in on the data errors, with Associate Dean Debra Kroszner saying that the employment figures used are “entirely incorrect and flatly inconsistent with the changes in methodology outlined on their website.” Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of Berkeley Law also reported concerns about his school’s employment figures, noting obvious discrepancies between data sent to the ABA and what was reflected in the rankings. Now Harvard Law has stepped in, with Marva de Marothy, assistant dean for Faculty Affairs/Office of Academic Affairs, stating that “the employment data U.S. News published during the embargo period is inaccurate, incomplete and does not match the data reported to and published by the ABA.”
“Many scholars and deans have expressed serious concerns about the company’s inability to produce accurate, error-free rankings,” a Yale Law spokesperson told Law.com. When asked whether U.S. News would be skipping out on this year’s rankings due to the data deficiencies, a PR manager said she “[didn’t] have any further information than what is in the statement.” Yikes.
Stay tuned for the release of the 2024 U.S. News law school rankings — at some yet-to-be-determined point in the future. In the meantime, check out the error-free Above the Law Top 50 Law School Rankings.
U.S. News Delays Release Of Law School Rankings Again Due To ‘Unprecedented Number Of Inquiries,’ Including From Schools That Are Ostensibly Boycotting The Rankings [TaxProf Blog]
US News Delays Release of Law School Rankings Indefinitely [Law.com]
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.