UNH Law “carefully weighing” future participation in U.S. News … – Concord Monitor

The University of New Hampshire Law School is discussing its future participation in U.S. News and World Reports rankings this month, as law schools across the country are choosing to part ways with the influential ranking system.
Dean Megan Carpenter said this week that UNH Law administrators see flaws with U.S. News & World Report’s method of annually ranking the nation’s best law schools but are “carefully weighing” their options for participation.
“We appreciate the recent decisions made by other law schools to suspend or stop participating with U.S. News,” Carpenter said. “This has opened up an important discussion with our community about the flaws with U.S. News rankings and the outsized impact and negative influences it imposes on the field of legal education.”
Law schools across the country have been withdrawing from the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings process in recent weeks, citing dissatisfaction with the way the rankings are decided. U.S. News & World Report ranks based on factors such as graduate placement, bar exam passage rates, faculty resources, academic achievement of entering students and lawyer and judge assessments of the program’s quality.
Yale and Harvard law schools – which were ranked first and fourth respectively this year – each announced in mid-November that they will no longer be supplying information to U.S. News & World Report for the rankings, saying the rankings disincentivize programs that support public-interest careers and incentivizes schools to distribute aid based on academic achievement over need. Since then, Law schools at Stanford, Georgetown, Columbia, Northwestern, Duke, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, University of Washington, and several University of California law schools have followed suit.
Carpenter said that UNH Law agrees with critiques made by other schools that the U.S. News rankings overemphasize standardized tests and undergraduate GPA metrics which disadvantage applicants who show merit in other ways.
“We remain concerned that some information historically collected by U.S. News is not publicly available, nor is it subject to public vetting or authentication,” Carpenter said. “The rankings have also eroded support for public interest careers and do not reflect the modern realities of how a law degree supports each student’s individualized future career goals. They also discourage schools from innovating in a rapidly-changing legal services industry.”
UNH Law will continue to discuss their participation in the rankings process in the coming weeks.
“This is a decision we do not take lightly, and we will continue to be informed by conversations with a wide range of members in our law school and university community,” Carpenter said.
Eileen O’Grady is a Report for America corps member covering education for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. O’Grady is the former managing editor of Scope magazine at Northeastern University in Boston, where she reported on social justice issues, community activism, local politics and the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a native Vermonter and worked as a reporter covering local politics for the Shelburne News and the Citizen. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, The Bay State Banner, and VTDigger. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in politics and French from Mount Holyoke College, where she served as news editor for the Mount Holyoke News from 2017-2018.
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