Harvard Law School announced Wednesday it was withdrawing from the U.S. News and World Report rankings, hours after Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken announced that her institution would no longer participate.
The announcement by Harvard Law School means that two of the top five law schools in the rankings will no longer be included in the list. Yale ranked first and Harvard ranked fourth in the 2023 edition of the rankings. Rounding out the top five are Stanford, University of Chicago, and Columbia — who have not announced whether they too will revolt against the rankings.
“Done well, such rankings could convey accurate, relevant information about universities, colleges, and graduate and professional schools that may help students and families make informed choices about which schools best meet their needs,” Harvard Law School Dean John Manning wrote in an email, per the Harvard Crimson. “However, rankings can also emphasize characteristics that potentially mislead those who rely on them and can create perverse incentives that influence schools’ decisions in ways that undercut student choice and harm the interests of potential students.”
Manning’s announcement came hours after Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken blasted the rankings as “profoundly flawed” and said the law school would no longer participate.
“Since the very beginning, Yale Law School has taken the top spot every year,” Gerken said. “Yet, that distinction is not one that we advertise or use as a lodestar to chart our course. … We have reached a point where the rankings process is undermining the core commitments of the legal profession. As a result, we will no longer participate.”
Gerken criticized the rankings methodology, which she said “applies a misguided formula that discourages law schools from doing what is best for legal education.”
Like Yale, Harvard is widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier law schools. Four members of the U.S. Supreme Court attended the institution, as did numerous high-profile attorneys, lower court judges, and elected officials.
The Washington Examiner has contacted U.S. News and World Report for comment.