Stanford Law School pulls out of US News law school rankings … – The Business Journals

Taking a page from some of its peers, Stanford Law School will no longer be participating in U.S. News & World Report’s law school rankings.
The way the outlet compiles its rankings omits information that’s important to students and disincentives schools from offering programs that are helpful to them and to the community at large, Stanford Law Dean Jenny Martinez said in an open letter to the school Friday. The school decided to withdraw from the rankings after it and other law schools repeatedly failed to persuade U.S. News to alter its methodology, she said.
Stanford Law’s move follows similar ones earlier last week by Yale Law School, Harvard Law School and the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.
“We are lucky to be in a position where the rankings do not significantly affect our decisions,” Martinez said her letter. “However, we agree with many of the points that other schools have presented about how the rankings methodology distorts incentives in ways that are harmful to legal education as a whole.”
Representatives of Stanford Law — Stanford University’s law school — did not immediately response to requests for comment.
U.S. News has been publishing its rankings of colleges and universities and their various professional schools for decades. Although the methodology underlying its ratings has long been controversial, its ranking are among the most widely known in the industry.
Over the weekend U.S. News responded to the growing list of law schools announcing that said they would no longer submit their data saying that, while they respect each institution’s decision, the company will continue to rank the nearly 200 accredited law schools in the United States.
“The U.S. News Best Law Schools rankings are designed for students seeking to make the best decision for their legal education,” U.S. News chief data strategist Robert Morse said in a statement. “We will continue to pursue our journalistic mission of ensuring that students can rely on the best and most accurate information, using the rankings as one factor in their law school search.”
In her letter to the Stanford Law community, Martinez raised numerous objections with U.S. News’ ranking system. The publication treats students whose schools support their public service work with fellowships as being essentially unemployed, she said. Similarly, it regards those who are pursuing other advanced degrees, such as an MBA, as also being unemployed, she said.
And in measuring the debt with which students leave school, U.S. News ignores the payment programs law programs offer to students that go into public service, Martinez said.
By withdrawing from the publication’s rankings, Stanford Law is intentionally trying to join with other schools to pressure U.S. News to revamp the way it determines them, Martinez said.
“We hope to increase the chances that the methodology is seriously overhauled, not only to reduce perverse incentives but to provide clearer and more relevant information that prospective students would find genuinely useful in making decisions about which law schools best match their interests and needs,” she said.
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