Washington, D.C. – U.S. News & World Report, the global leader in education rankings, released statements about the upcoming Best Law Schools rankings in separate messages to prospective students and deans of law schools. The letters reiterate U.S. News’ commitment to continuing the publication of the Best Law Schools rankings and performing the important data journalism required for that work. U.S. News also shared outcomes of a multi-week engagement between law school deans and its data journalists specializing in the law school rankings.
“U.S. News & World Report and its journalists have an important job – to inform the public, to hold powerful institutions accountable and to foster a free and fair exchange of ideas. In the past few weeks, U.S. News has engaged more than 100 deans and representatives of law schools as part of our review of our Best Law Schools ranking. We listened to their recent feedback and are developing ways to be responsive, while maintaining our independence, mission, and purpose,” said Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer for U.S. News. “Based on those discussions, our own research and our iterative rankings review process, we are making a series of modifications in this year’s rankings that reflect those inputs and allow us to publish the best available data.”
While U.S. News generally incorporates incremental changes in each rankings cycle in consultation with legal professionals and academics, the recent discussions with the larger group of law schools provided the opportunity for additional focus, allowing for changes that promote U.S. News’ ongoing mission of helping prospective students find the school that is right for them. The changes were announced by Robert Morse, chief data strategist, and Stephanie Salmon, senior vice president of data and information strategy, and reflect the direction the rankings methodology has been moving toward, including increased weight on outcomes measures and reduced emphasis on the peer assessment surveys of academics, lawyers and judges.
As a journalistic enterprise, U.S. News has been analyzing all fields of education for more than 30 years and has introduced prospective students – including those who do not have access to the resources and connections that are associated with the top law schools – to a wide set of law schools. In recent weeks, some of the country’s top-ranked law schools have announced that they would no longer participate in the survey U.S. News uses for its Best Law School rankings.
“We call upon all law schools to make public all of the voluminous data they currently report to the ABA but decline to publish, so that future law students can have a fuller and more transparent disclosure. More data benefits everyone,” Morse said in the letter to law school deans.
“While we know it is challenging for diverse institutions to be ranked across a common data set, we all have the same goal – to provide the best information to prospective students so they can make one of the most important decisions of their careers. U.S. News is committed to this purpose,” added Eric Gertler, executive chairman and CEO.
Source: US News