After nearly 30 years of partnership, the University of Virginia School of Law recently became the ninth school on the U.S. News and World Report’s annual top 10 Best Law Schools list to remove itself from the rankings. At the time of writing, nearly 10% of law schools have done the same.
The Dean of UVa’s School of Law, Risa Goluboff, made the announcement that the school will no longer submit responses to be considered for the list in an open letter to students.
UVa was ranked 8th on the 2023 Best Law Schools list, which was released earlier this year.
“As they currently stand, the U.S. News rankings fail to capture much of what we value at UVa,” said Dean Goluboff. “Facilitating access to legal education and the legal profession for students from every background; fostering the free exchange of ideas within a community of joy, humanity, and trust; providing top-notch teaching by accomplished faculty; supporting public service; and launching our graduates into the stellar career paths of their choosing.”
Thus far, nine of the top 10 law schools on the most recent list have decided to withdraw effective next year. Many of those schools say they are leaving because U.S. News disincentivizes law school students from taking less lucrative, more altruistic work, ranking schools lower when they support graduates who choose to pursue public interest careers over Big Law.
In mid-November, Columbia, Georgetown, Harvard, and Yale were the first to announce their law schools would no longer be participating in the rankings.
In the only statement U.S. News has released in response to the max exodus of top law schools from its list, which came on the same day Yale announced its departure, CEO Eric Gertler said U.S. News would continue its “journalistic mission of ensuring that students can rely on the best and most accurate information” in evaluating schools.
U.S. News has been publishing its law school rankings since 1983. It measures schools based on a variety of factors, including student grades, expert surveys, employment and bar pass rates, Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores, and the amount of debt students incur while earning their JDs.
As things currently stand, after this year the University of Chicago Law School is the only top 10 school that will continue participating in the rankings.
While Goluboff says she’s open to revisiting her school’s decision in the future, in the meantime UVa Law has created a web page called “What Prospective Students Should Know About UVa Law” to provide prospective students with all the information they would usually turn to U.S. News for.