Law Students

The Shifting Influence of U.S. News Law School Rankings
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...


Historically, the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings were crucial for law schools’ reputations and student enrollments. According to a new study by professors Brian Frye of the University of Kentucky and Christopher “CJ” Ryan of Indiana University, these rankings were once considered “existential” for law schools. However, the significance of these rankings to prospective law students has diminished substantially.

Analyzing the Relevance of Rankings

Frye and Ryan’s study examined a decade’s worth of U.S. News rankings alongside “revealed preferences rankings,” which are based on enrollment decisions of high-achieving students. Their goal was to determine if changes in a law school’s ranking affected the academic strength of its incoming class. Surprisingly, they found no significant correlation between the U.S. News rankings and the quality of students who matriculated.

Want to know if you’re earning what you deserve? Find out with LawCrossing’s salary surveys.

  
What
Where


Factors Influencing Law School Decisions

The authors suggest that prospective law students are increasingly making enrollment decisions based on factors other than U.S. News rankings. Although the rankings are still a point of reference, other considerations such as tuition costs, scholarships, and specific career goals are becoming more influential. This shift is evidenced by many top law schools, including Yale and Harvard, opting out of the U.S. News ranking system.

The Persistence of Prestige

Despite the decreasing influence of U.S. News rankings, prestige remains a critical factor in law school selection. The top-14 or “T14” schools have maintained their elite status since the rankings began in 1987. This stability indicates that while rankings may fluctuate, the overall perception of a school’s prestige is slow to change.

The Role of Tuition Discounts

Law schools often adjust their tuition discounts in response to changes in their rankings. Nearly 80% of law students receive some form of tuition discount, with lower-ranked schools offering more substantial discounts to attract competitive students. However, the impact of these financial incentives on enrollment decisions is complex and challenging to quantify.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!




Whether you’re a recent law school grad or an experienced attorney, BCG Attorney Search has the job for you.

Proposals for Reforming the Ranking System

To restore the relevance of its rankings, U.S. News could develop an interactive tool that allows prospective students to customize their rankings based on individual preferences. This tool could consider factors such as bar passage rates, graduate debt, geographical location, and career placement success. By tailoring rankings to personal criteria, U.S. News could provide more practical guidance to students.



Embracing a New Ranking Model

In an age of artificial intelligence, creating a sophisticated, personalized ranking tool is feasible and could replace the traditional numerical ranking system. Such a tool would likely be more beneficial to prospective students, though it might not generate the same level of interest or revenue as the current model. Nonetheless, focusing on the prestige component of the rankings, which remains proprietary to U.S. News, could help maintain the publication’s relevance.

The evolving landscape of law school admissions suggests that while U.S. News rankings are not entirely obsolete, their influence has waned. Prospective students now weigh a variety of factors in their decision-making process, and U.S. News must adapt to these changes to remain a valuable resource in the legal education arena.

Don’t be a silent ninja! Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.



 

RELEVANT JOBS

Associate Attorney

USA-PA-Exton

ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY McKenna Snyder LLC, a law firm in Exton, PA has an immediate opening for an ex...

Apply now

Attorney

USA-MI-Sturgis

Qualifications: HaasCaywood is seeking associate attorneys for our Coldwater and Sturgis, Michiga...

Apply now

Attorney

USA-MI-Coldwater

Qualifications: HaasCaywood is seeking associate attorneys for our Coldwater and Sturgis, Michiga...

Apply now

Deputy General Counsel / Senior Deputy General Counsel

USA-CA-Sacramento

Cal Cities Culture and Mission Cal Cities is dedicated to creating a collaborative and inclusive ...

Apply now

BCG FEATURED JOB

Locations:

Keyword:



Search Now

Education Law Attorney

USA-CA-El Segundo

El Segundo office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks an education law attorney with ...

Apply Now

Education Law Attorney

USA-CA-Carlsbad

Carlsbad office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks an education law attorney with 4-...

Apply Now

Education Law and Public Entity Attorney

USA-CA-El Segundo

El Segundo office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks an education law and public ent...

Apply Now

Most Popular

SEARCH IN ARCHIVE

To Top