Georgetown Law will no longer participate in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law School rankings after long consideration by its leadership, faculty, students, alumni, and staff, according to an announcement by Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor. In his statement, Treanor said that U.S. News’s methodology does not align with Georgetown Law’s mission and priorities, noting that the “scoring system discourages schools from devoting resources to helping students pursue careers in public interest, and it discourages schools from devoting resources to helping students of limited means undertake a legal education.”
The statement was released as Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, the University of California Berkeley School of Law, and other top law schools similarly declared an end to their participation in the rankings, saying that U.S. News’s approach undercuts the goals of legal education and the profession, Higher Ed Dive reports. Despite their own criticisms of the U.S. News rankings, Cornell Law School and the University of Chicago School of Law both said they will continue to take part, according to Higher Ed Dive.
In recent years, several law school deans have raised concerns about the changes to the methodology behind U.S. News’ rankings, saying they fail to recognize public-interest lawyers who receive institutional funding as fully employed, encourage schools to value applicants’ GPA and LSAT scores over other metrics, and disincentivize schools from enrolling and providing aid for students who exhibit the greatest financial need. Those concerns remained unaddressed, those deans said.
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Methodology misaligned with mission of Georgetown Law
In keeping with its Jesuit value of “People for Others,” Georgetown Law has focused on educating professionals committed to public service and making legal education more accessible to all students, especially those from underserved communities, Treanor explained in his statement to the Georgetown Law community.
“In the last decade, we have placed more graduates in public service careers than any other top law school,” Treanor said. “We have supported their public interest careers with generous school-funded interest fellowships for graduates and through a generous loan forgiveness program. And we have helped make legal education more accessible to students—offering millions of dollars in need-based aid, and admitting more and more students from underrepresented groups including those from working class families and first-generation college students.”
The decision not to participate in U.S. News’s ranking “is consistent with Georgetown Law’s mission as a legal educator and servant of the public interest,” Dean Treanor added.
U.S. News will continue to rank all accredited law schools, even if they have decided not to submit their data, the publication’s Chief Data Strategist Robert Morse said in a statement.