U. Chicago law school sticks with U.S. News rankings as peers revolt

REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
  • The school does not want "inaccurate information" circulating, its dean said
  • Nine other law schools ranked in the top 14 by U.S. News have said they won't participate in the rankings

(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,” Miles wrote.

Since last week, nine of the 14 top-ranked U.S. News law schools — known as the T-14 — have said they will no longer provide internal data for the rankings, as have at least two lower-ranked schools.

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.

Yale Law School sparked the movement to stop participating the rankings on Nov. 23, saying the rankings are in conflict with its commitments to student diversity, affordability and public interest work. Harvard Law School followed suit the same day.

The law schools at Berkeley, Georgetown, Columbia, Stanford, Michigan, Duke and Northwestern universities — each among the top 14 — have also said they will stop supplying data to U.S. News.

The law schools at New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Virginia and Cornell University were the only remaining T-14 schools that had not publicly staked out a position on the rankings as of Wednesday.

The University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, ranked No. 15, on Tuesday became the first school outside the top 14 to say it will not participate. The University of California, Irvine School of Law did the same on Wednesday. It is ranked No. 37.

U.S. News has said it will continue to rank all American Bar Association-accredited law schools, though it has not clarified how it will account for any proprietary data schools choose not to share. That data includes expenditure-per-student and average graduate debt.

Read more:

Yale and Harvard law schools to shun influential U.S. News rankings

Law schools face 'biggest jolt' in decades with LSAT rule change, U.S. News exodus

UCLA law school joins exodus from U.S. News rankings as movement expands

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Karen Sloan reports on law firms, law schools, and the business of law. Reach her at [email protected]