Yale, Harvard Law Schools Withdraw From Rankings

Yale Law School and Harvard Law School each revealed Wednesday they would withdraw from US News & World Report’s annual law school rankings. Each school criticized the rankings for conflicting with their commitments to student diversity and affordability.

Yale, Harvard Law Schools Withdraw From Rankings
Image credit: Somesh Kesarla Suresh / Unsplash

Facts

  • Yale Law School and Harvard Law School each revealed Wednesday they would withdraw from US News & World Report’s annual law school rankings. Each school criticized the rankings for conflicting with their commitments to student diversity and affordability.
  • Heather Gerkin, dean of Yale Law School, wrote in a statement, “We have reached a point where the rankings process is undermining the core commitments of the legal profession.” Yale Law School has been ranked in the top spot since the magazine began publishing the list in 1990.
  • Gerkin’s counterpart at Harvard Law School, John Manning, stated, “It has become impossible to reconcile our principles and commitments with the methodology and incentives the US News rankings reflect.”
  • Gerken and Manning each expressed their disappointment that the rankings lean heavily on Law School Administration Test (LSAT) scores and Grade Point Averages (GPAs), potentially leading to promising students being overlooked. They also lamented the disincentive the rankings can create to support students who want to pursue public interest careers.
  • US News exec. chairman Eric Gertler defended his publication in a statement saying that the magazine is trying to hold law schools accountable and “that mission does not change with this recent announcement.”
  • This isn’t the first instance of controversy related to the rankings this year, as Columbia University admitted it submitted false data in past years. US News still ranked the school but dropped it from position two to 18.

Sources: Reuters, Guardian, Washington Post, and CBS.

Narratives

  • Left narrative, as provided by The New York Times. This could be a start of a reckoning for the higher learning ranking system, which for too long has worked in opposition to diversity and equity. The rankings had already been under fire after the Columbia situation showed how the data could be manipulated. Now the clout of Yale and Harvard could inspire other schools to join their protest and create necessary change.
  • Right narrative, as provided by Daily Mail. It’s hypocritical that these left-leaning institutions are citing inclusivity for their decision to no longer cooperate with US News — especially when you consider the unfriendly environment they regularly create for conservative opinions and speakers on their campuses. Now, these institutions are just trying to look woke by criticizing the rankings’ emphasis on grades. There’s no reason these schools can’t diversify while still holding their students to a high academic standard.