As we reported earlier this week, the release of the latest edition of the U.S. News law school rankings has been delayed thanks to an “unprecedented number of inquiries from schools.”
We’d previously wondered if the publication of the rankings was being postponed to correct actual mistakes. It seems like that may be the case. As noted by Reuters, several law schools have been in touch with U.S. News regarding “potential errors related to graduate employment data.”
Reuters reviewed a copy of the April 11 version of the rankings and compared them with publicly available ABA data for the class of 2021 — upon which the upcoming U.S. News’ rankings are largely based. At least 11 of the top 14 schools appear to have an undercounted employment rate. Schools with more graduates in school-funded fellowships or in graduate programs tended to have larger discrepancies with their ABA figures.
Take, for example, what happened with Yale Law, the school that spearheaded the U.S. News rankings boycott. The elite law school — which frequently has one of the largest cohorts of graduates working in school-funded jobs or attending grad school — saw quite the decline in its employment rate under the new rankings methodology, which was supposed to give full credit to these employment outcomes.
Associate Dean Debra Kroszner told Reuters that Yale had expected its employment rate to rise to about 97% this year instead of dropping to 80%. “If this is the employment metric they are using for Yale Law School, it is entirely incorrect and flatly inconsistent with the changes in methodology outlined on their website,” she said. 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.
Law school admissions consultant Mike Spivey said of the rankings tumult, “Based on all the conversations I’ve had with multiple law schools, I think it’s highly likely [U.S. News] made an error, or multiple errors.” Yikes.
Stay tuned for the release of the 2024 U.S. News law school rankings next week. In the meantime, check out the Above the Law Top 50 Law School Rankings for a better, outcome-based methodology.
Law schools say US News rankings include faulty job data, as release delayed [Reuters]
Earlier: U.S. News Delays Release Of Much-Anticipated Law School Rankings
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.
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