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Why Six Top-Ranked Law Schools Left U.S. News in the Dust This Week

Slate: “This essay was adapted from David Lat’s Substack, Original Jurisdiction. Subscribe here. “Wednesday brought huge news to the world of legal education: Yale Law School withdrew from the highly influential U.S. News & World Report law school rankings, and Harvard Law School followed shortly thereafter. The schools announced the decisions on their websites, posting statements from YLS Dean Heather Gerken and HLS Dean John Manning. Gerken also gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the news on Wednesday morning. Other top schools quickly followed suit, including Berkeley on Thursday and Georgetown, Columbia, and Stanford on Friday. Harvard and Yale have dominated the rankings over the years. Yale has been No. 1 in the U.S. News Best Law Schools rankings since their inception in 1990, and Harvard has been in the top three for every year except two (including last year, when it dropped to No. 4). Stanford, the current #2 school, is the third member of the trinity known colloquially in law-school circles as “HYS.” Columbia (currently tied with Harvard for #4), Berkeley (#9), and Georgetown (#14) have also fared well, as members of the so-called “T14”—the 14 law schools that have been the top 14 schools in U.S. News for almost every year since the start of the rankings, simply changing places amongst themselves. But their deans concluded that any reputational benefits to their own institutions of continuing participation were far outweighed by the negative consequences of the rankings for legal education as a whole.”

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