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The U.S. News Law School Rankings for 2016
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2016 law school rankings

Summary: The U.S. News law school rankings have been released.

March 10 has arrived, and with it, the dreadful and awe-inspiring proclamations of the U.S. News law school rankings. Dreadful and awe-inspiring, that is, if you are a law school dean. Nevertheless, what we discover in this year’s rankings is that things stayed the same as last year – at least in the top ten schools.

  
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Yale Law School remained the highest ranked law school in the United States. Stanford was bumped from its previous No. 3 spot to tie with Harvard Law School at No.2. Duke leapt from No. 10 to No. 8, in a three-way tie with the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and the University of Virginia School of Law. Meanwhile, George Washington University Law School fell out of the top twenty ranking to No. 22.

More graphic changes went on between schools ranked 50 to 149, with thirteen of them displaced by more than twenty points. Howard University School of Law and St. John’s University School of Law gained 25 points apiece.

“I’m not surprised,” said Howard dean Danielle Holley-Walker. “It shows that our law school is very focused on our mission of creating leaders both in corporate law and in social justice. Even in difficult economic times, we continue to do well in placing our students in jobs.” As any dean at any law school could say the same, it isn’t immediately clear what different these rankings amount to, or what they tell us about the market.

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Sure, they speak of prestige. The U.S. News’ formula gives 40 percent of its ranking sway to how practitioners and other legal educators feel about the school. A sort of popularity contest among those fit to judge prestige. 25 percent of the ranking comes from LSAT scores and undergrad grade-points of the students; 20 percent comes from job placement; and 15 percent comes from faculty resources.

Not everybody is impressed with this magazine-based ranking system. Law School Transparency executive director Kyle McEntee, for instance, claims the U.S. News report should give more weight to employment outcomes and some explanation on how rankings change over time.



“The legal profession is worse off for elevating the importance of a publication that falls victims to these flaws each and every year,” said McEntee.

One change in the ranking formula from last year is that the U.S. News gave less weight to those students who secured employment with their own law school. This was perhaps a way for schools to game the system, by employing their own students. Now such employment carries less weight than previously, though it still carries some. The school that seemed most affected by this change was Lewis & Clark Law School which fell 22 spots to No. 94.

News Source: Huffington Post

 

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