Harvard Law School has joined forces with Ivy League rival Yale in disavowing the U.S. News and World Report rankings of America's top law schools.
Just hours after Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken said Wednesday her institution would no longer acknowledge the U.S News and World Report rankings, Harvard followed suit with a similar declaration.
"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, according to Harvard's The 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 added.
Eric Gertler, executive chairman and CEO of U.S. News, defended his publication's rankings and rationale for holding schools accountable.
"The U.S. News Best Law Schools rankings are for students seeking the best decision for their law education," Gertler said in a statement.
"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. As part of our mission, we must continue to ensure that law schools are held accountable for the education they will provide to these students and that mission does not change with these recent announcements."
With Yale and Harvard receding from the U.S. News assessment process, it means 40% of the nation's highest-ranked law schools have no interest in further publicity.
Yale ranked first and Harvard finished fourth in the 2023 edition rankings. Also in the top five: Stanford (second), University of Chicago (third), and Columbia University (fifth), another Ivy League school.
Yale's Gerken criticized the rankings methodology, saying the "profoundly flawed" system "applies a misguided formula that discourages law schools from doing what is best for legal education."
"Since the very beginning, Yale Law School has taken the top spot every year," he continued. "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," he concluded. "As a result, we will no longer participate."
Four current members of the U.S. Supreme Court (Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Neil Gorsuch, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Samuel Alito Jr.) attended Yale Law School.
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