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Yale Law School to pull out of U.S. News & World Report ranking, citing 'flawed' methodology

Yale is now working with other education experts to create a ranking methodology that will be accessible to students.
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
Yale is now working with other education experts to create a ranking methodology that will be accessible to students.

Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken said Wednesday the school will no longer participate in the U.S. News & World Report Ranking, citing what she called a “flawed” methodology she said makes it difficult for law schools to support low-income students and others pursuing public interest work.

Gerken said the famed college system undermines a core value of the law profession – service. She said the way programs are scored by the magazine makes it hard for law schools to admit students from low-income backgrounds and students without high test scores.

“It costs a lot of money to do one of these LSAT prep tests,” Gerken said. “You’ll get this application from a student who has incredible promise, is wonderful. Schools have every incentive under the U.S. News Rankings to set that student aside, and not to provide them the sort of support they need.”

Gerken said academic scores are an important tool, but she said it’s a “heavily weighted metric” and that it also pushes schools to use financial aid to recruit high-scoring students.

According to Reuters, Yale has held the top U.S. News spot since the magazine started its rankings in 1990. Gerken said Yale is now working with other education experts on creating a ranking methodology that will be accessible to students.

“This isn’t about Yale Law School. This is about legal education,” she said. “It’s a moment in time when we really just need to take a step back and think about the role of law schools and universities in the world, think about what our commitments are, and decide whether this makes sense anymore.”

Gerken said the for-profit magazine also fails to properly consider loan forgiveness for students who want to pursue public service careers. And said the ranking disincentivizes schools that encourage public interest careers, provide scholarships and fellowships, and support underrepresented students.

In a statement, Eric Gertler, executive chairman and CEO of U.S. News, said the U.S. News law school rankings are for students seeking the best decision for their law education and that the magazine will continue to hold schools “accountable for the education they will provide to these students.”

“We will continue to fulfill our journalistic mission of ensuring that students can rely on the best and most accurate information in making that decision,” he said. “That mission does not change with this recent announcement."

Catherine Shen is a Connecticut Public’s education reporter. The Los Angeles native comes to CT Public after a decade of print and digital reporting across the country.