Law Students

7 Law Schools Make Top 100 in US News Rankings After Methodology Changes
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In the recently released 2023-2024 law school rankings by US News & World Report, several noteworthy changes have occurred due to adjustments in the evaluation methodology. With a renewed emphasis on law school employment outcomes and first-time bar passage rates, the top 10 schools remained relatively stable. However, according to the publication, 14 schools outside this elite group experienced significant position increases.

The release of the rankings was delayed due to deadline extensions, data concerns raised by law schools, and publication delays. Approximately 60% of the methodology for these rankings focused on assessing law schools’ success in placing graduates in desirable positions and their bar passage rates. The changes in the evaluation process are outlined on a dedicated methodology page.

Eric Gertler, executive chairman and CEO of US News & World Report, highlighted the importance of outcome-based metrics in guiding students on their educational journeys. The rankings and accompanying resources aim to serve as a roadmap for aspiring law students by prioritizing metrics that measure successful outcomes.


Some rankings are tied, and notable improvements have been observed among the schools that experienced significant position increases compared to the 2022 rankings. Here are a few notable examples:

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  1. University of Kansas School of Law jumped from 67 to 40.
  2. University of Oklahoma College of Law climbed from 88 to 51.
  3. Florida International University College of Law advanced from 98 to 60.
  4. St. John’s University School of Law improved from 84 to 60.
  5. University of South Carolina School of Law leaped from 84 to 60.
  6. Marquette University Law School rose from 105 to 71, entering the top 100.
  7. Texas Tech University School of Law also entered the top 100, moving from 105 to 71.
  8. Stetson University College of Law joined the top 100, climbing from 111 to 84.
  9. Drake University Law School entered the top 100, rising from 111 to 88.
  10. Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University entered the top 100, ascending from 129 to 89.
  11. University of St. Thomas School of Law at Minnesota entered the top 100, moving from 127 to 96.
  12. Mercer University School of Law entered the top 100, progressing from 122 to 99.
  13. Belmont University College of Law improved from 133 to 105.
  14. Loyola University New Orleans College of Law advanced from 133 to 111.

Over the years, there have been criticisms of the rankings, leading some law school deans to announce their decision not to participate in the publication’s annual survey starting in November. However, according to interviews conducted by the ABA Journal, several of the 14 schools that witnessed significant ranking improvements indicated their intention to submit rankings surveys in January.

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Among the top 10 law schools, Stanford University and Yale University share the No. 1 position, followed by the University of Chicago Law School at No. 3. The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School secures the No. 4 spot, while Duke University, Harvard University, and New York University are tied at No. 5. Columbia University and the University of Virginia share the No. 8 spot. The Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, and the University of Michigan Law School at Ann Arbor all occupy the No. 10 spot in the rankings.

It is worth noting that among the top 10 law schools that responded to the ABA Journal’s interview requests in January, seven stated that they would not be submitting rankings surveys. Only the University of Chicago Law School confirmed its participation.

These rankings reflect a shift in focus towards measuring employment outcomes and bar passage rates, indicating a greater emphasis on practical success in the legal profession. By considering these factors, US News & World Report aims to provide prospective law students with valuable insights into their education’s quality and potential outcomes.

The changes in methodology have sparked discussions and debates within the legal education community. Some argue that an increased emphasis on employment outcomes and bar passage rates can better inform students’ decisions and help align their expectations with the realities of the job market. Others express concerns that these rankings may oversimplify the complex landscape of legal education, potentially overlooking other important factors that contribute to a comprehensive legal education experience.

As the legal profession continues to evolve, law schools must adapt their curricula and resources to equip students with the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing world. The revised rankings methodology catalyzes schools to enhance their programs, career services, and bar preparation initiatives. By aligning their offerings with the criteria that US News & World Report evaluates, law schools can better position themselves to attract and support aspiring legal professionals.

Prospective law students are advised to explore various factors beyond rankings when considering their law school choices. While rankings provide a helpful starting point, it is essential to consider personal interests, career goals, location, faculty, specialization opportunities, and overall fit with the school’s culture and values. These elements play a significant role in shaping law students’ educational experience and long-term career prospects.

The evolution of law school rankings reflects the ongoing efforts to improve transparency and accountability within legal education. US News & World Report aims to guide students towards schools that prioritize practical success by placing greater weight on employment outcomes and bar passage rates. However, it is crucial to approach rankings as one of many resources in the decision-making process, taking into account individual aspirations and the unique offerings of each law school.

As the legal landscape continues to evolve, prospective law students and the legal community as a whole will closely follow these rankings, methodologies, and any future adjustments. By staying informed and considering multiple perspectives, individuals can make more well-rounded decisions regarding their legal education, paving the way for successful and fulfilling careers in the field of law.



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