US News & World Report indefinitely postpones law and medical school rankings amid backlash

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  • Lists originally slated for release on April 18

(Reuters) – US News & World Report has delayed the release of its law school and medical school rankings for a second time, without a new publication date.

In a Wednesday message posted to its website, US News said it is working to address a large volume of inquiries from schools and will publish the new law and medical rankings “when this work has been completed.”

The rankings were initially slated to publish April 18, then pushed back to April 25 due to an “unprecedented” number of questions from schools. US News said it had received requests from schools to update data that was submitted after the collection period.

“The level of interest in our rankings, including from those schools that declined to participate in our survey, has been beyond anything we have experienced in the past,” the publication said in a statement. A US News spokeswoman on Thursday declined further comment.

The rest of the graduate school rankings, which include business, engineering and nursing programs, will come out on April 25, US News added.

This year marks the first time US News has delayed the law school rankings from the planned release, said law school consultant Mike Spivey. The indefinite delay has not gone over well, he said.

“The ire from a number of law school deans is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Spivey said.

The unprecedented delays came amid a large-scale boycott rankings that began among elite law schools in November and spread to some medical schools. Nearly a third of US law schools this year declined to provide US News with any internal data for its rankings, including 12 of the top 14 schools, which said the publication’s methodology hurt student diversity and affordability.

In response to the boycott, US News overhauled the methodology of the law school rankings to rely largely on ABA data, to place more weight on bar passage and employment, and to reduce the emphasis on Law School Admission Test scores.

But after receiving a preview version of the rankings on April 11, some law schools raised concerns about potential errors in the rankings data and asked for further review.

“Although we no longer participate in the US News rankings, we expect the magazine to use accurate, publicly available numbers if it intends to continue to make representations about our law school,” wrote Harvard Law assistant dean Marva de Marothy in a Wednesday letter to US News that it shared with Reuters.

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Karen Sloan

Thomson Reuters

Karen Sloan reports on law firms, law schools, and the business of law. Reach her at [email protected]

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