3 top law schools quit US News rankings over equity concerns

Nov 17, 2022, 3:15 PM | Updated: 7:52 pm
FILE - Students walk through the Harvard Law School area on the campus of Harvard University in Cam...

FILE - Students walk through the Harvard Law School area on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on Nov. 19, 2002. The University of California, Berkeley's law school on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, joined the law programs at Harvard and Yale in pulling out of U.S. News & World Report rankings over concerns that the rating system punishes efforts to attract students from a broad range of backgrounds. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki, File)

(AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki, File)

The University of California, Berkeley’s law school on Thursday joined the law programs at Harvard and Yale in pulling out of U.S. News & World Report’s rankings over concerns that they punish efforts to attract students from a broad range of backgrounds.

Deans of all three law schools said the magazine’s influential ranking system is biased against programs meant to increase socioeconomic diversity, support lower-income students and encourage the pursuit of public service.

“We have reached a point where the rankings process is undermining the core commitments of the legal profession,” Yale Law School Dean Heather K. Gerken wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

U.S. News executive chairman and CEO Eric Gertler said the rankings are meant to help students make the best decision in choosing a law school.

“We will continue to fulfill our journalistic mission of ensuring that students can rely on the best and most accurate information in making that decision,” Gertler said in a written statement. “As part of our mission, we must continue to ensure that law schools are held accountable for the education they will provide to these students and that mission does not change with these recent announcements.”

In a later statement, U.S. News said it would continue to rank all fully accredited law schools, regardless of whether they submit their data.

Some critics have seen the U.S. News rankings as more a measure of privilege than educational quality.

While elite universities have enough prestige to forgo the rankings, other schools often feel pressure to compete, said Walter Kimbrough, interim executive director of the Black Men’s Research Institute at Morehouse College. They then pursue metrics that may not serve prospective students well.

“The way you move up in the rankings is that you become more selective, which means you’re keeping more people out, particularly a diversity of people,” he said.

Addressing the root causes of inequity, at law schools and in higher education more broadly, Kimbrough said, requires institutions to go further. Smaller schools that serve a high proportion of lower-income, disadvantaged students do not get the same recognition and philanthropic support that elite schools receive.

“HBCUs live that work every day and don’t get the same kind of rewards, both in terms of kudos and in terms of financial resources to do that work,” he said.

Not long after the Yale announcement, Harvard Law School Dean John Manning wrote in his own blog post Wednesday that he and other law school leaders had previously expressed concerns to U.S. News about the rankings. In particular, he said the prioritization of LSAT scores and college grades encourages law schools to use scholarships to attract higher-scoring candidates, directing resources away from need-based financial aid that would help less affluent students.

Berkeley law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky wrote in a letter published online Thursday that there is not a benefit to participating in the rankings that outweighs the costs.

There are other rankings systems, such as one published by Washington Monthly, that assign more weight to factors such as social mobility, research, and promotion of public service.

“If you measure something, that’s what people will value,” said Harry Feder, executive director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, which has criticized the use of standardized testing in admissions. “If they’re measuring how much graduates from law school make, what do you think that does to the public interest part of the law school?”

___

Ma covers education and equity for AP’s Race and Ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/anniema15

___

The Associated Press’ reporting around issues of race and ethnicity is supported in part by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

The Associated Press education team receives support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Flowers and candles are placed around crosses on May 28, 2022, at a memorial outside Robb El...
Associated Press

Uvalde shooting victims seek $27B, class action in lawsuit

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Victims of the Uvalde school shooting that left 21 people dead have filed a lawsuit seeking $27 billion against local and state police, the city and other school and law enforcement officials for failing to follow active shooter protocol because authorities waited more than an hour to confront the attacker inside […]
20 hours ago
The Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee discuss proposed changes to the primar...
Associated Press

Dems move to make South Carolina, not Iowa, 1st voting state

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats voted Friday to remove Iowa as the leadoff state on the presidential nominating calendar and replace it with South Carolina starting in 2024, a dramatic shakeup championed by President Joe Biden to better reflect the party’s deeply diverse electorate. The Democratic National Committee’s rule-making arm made the move to strip Iowa […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

GOP’s Joe Kent contests results of Washington state race

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Republican Joe Kent’s campaign said Friday it intends to request a machine ballot recount of the counties within southwest Washington state’s 3rd Congressional District. “We believe the election workers did their best to ensure a fair election and count the ballots accurately,” his campaign said in a statement. “But given the […]
20 hours ago
FILE - In this May 24, 2004 file photo, a Mount Graham red squirrel darts through trees on Mount Gr...
Associated Press

Endangered red squirrel found in Arizona sees increase in population

The latest survey shows another increase in the population of the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel in the Pinaleno Mountains of Arizona.
20 hours ago
FILE - Johnny Hincapie raises his fist as he leaves the courthouse in New York, Jan. 25, 2017. Atto...
Associated Press

Man to receive almost $18 million for wrongful NY conviction

A man who was freed in 2015 after spending a quarter-century in prison for an infamous tourist killing will receive nearly $18 million in legal settlements from the city and state of New York, his attorneys confirmed Friday. Lawyers for Johnny Hincapie said it marks one of the largest settlements for a wrongful conviction in […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Mamie King-Chalmers, woman in civil rights photo, dies at 81

DETROIT (AP) — Mamie King-Chalmers, who as a young Black woman appeared in an iconic photo about civil rights struggles in Alabama, has died at the age of 81. She died Tuesday in Detroit, her home since the 1970s, daughter Lasuria Allman said. A cause wasn’t disclosed. King-Chalmers, 21 at the time, was one of […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
3 top law schools quit US News rankings over equity concerns