US News & World Report has recently announced significant changes to its law school rankings that have been widely accepted by numerous top law schools. US News will now put less weight on reputational surveys completed by deans, faculty, lawyers, and judges and will no longer take into account per-student expenditures that favor the wealthiest schools.
The changes also include counting graduates with school-funded public-interest legal fellowships or those who go on to additional graduate programs the same as they would other employed graduates. US News was pressured to re-evaluate its rankings system after 12 top-rated law schools said they wouldn’t provide the publication with any additional information.
In response to the pressure, US News held several meetings with more than 100 deans and other law school administrators, and the changes are planned to be implemented next year.
The changes to the law school rankings system come as a welcome surprise to many, as it appears that US News is taking the necessary steps to ensure its rankings are more accurate and meaningful. By removing the emphasis on per-student expenditures, the rankings will be fairer to schools that may have fewer financial resources than their wealthier counterparts. In addition, by counting graduates with school-funded public-interest legal fellowships or those who go on to additional graduate programs the same as employed graduates, the rankings will more accurately reflect the value of a school’s education.
Overall, the changes to US News’ law school rankings signify a shift in the industry towards a more equitable system of ranking and assessing the value of an education. The revamp is assumed to be beneficial for both prospective students and the law schools themselves, as it will provide a better understanding of the true value of an education.