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In the statement, Dean Mark West declared that the Law School would be exiting the ranking following other top-ranked law schools that have opted out of the ranking, such as Harvard and Yale.
West wrote that the U.S. News report does not align with the values of the Law School and no longer serves its original purpose. He added that there are other valuable resources available for students when comparing different law schools, including the American Bar Association.
“Over time, I increasingly have come to believe that the U.S. News law school rankings no longer serve the public interest,” West wrote. “This information (from the American Bar Association) dramatically and admirably increases transparency: It is available for free, and reflects informed thinking about what information is most important and relevant.”
West cited concerns about the methodology and algorithm of the rankings process, which he said is often hidden from participating law schools. U.S. News relies on surveys of faculty members from each law school — though Michigan will no longer be participating.
U.S. News & World Report will likely continue to rank Michigan and other law schools without the insight of faculty surveys, West explained, and will rely exclusively on public information to rank the schools.
“I recognize, of course, that U.S. News and other organizations will continue to rank law schools, and that our rank may fluctuate based on differences in methodologies,” West wrote. “No matter. We will continue to focus on providing the best legal education possible and supporting our community — including especially the people-centric factors that rankings struggle to measure.”
Second-year Law student Alexander Gavulic, a CSG representative, said he was not surprised that Michigan decided to drop out of the U.S. News rankings after hearing that other top-ranked schools had also dropped out. Gavulic said the reception among law students was somewhat varied, adding that some questioned the potential for ulterior motives among Law School faculty.
“I myself am not entirely sure how I feel because I see both sides of it,” Gavulic said. “The administration’s viewpoint seems pretty clear as to why they’re removing themselves.”
Gavulic said he feels this decision will not have a severe impact on the Law School and students in the near future, as high-ranked schools such as Michigan will retain their reputation as elite institutions.
“I don’t think that this is going to substantially impact hiring practices or even people looking to apply to the Law School just because I think it’ll still be viewed as a top tier law school, regardless of what U.S. News says,” Gavulic said.
LSA sophomore Ruby Alseikhan plans to apply to law school and was excited by the school’s announcement. She said the U.S. News rankings have a negative impact on the application process for many pre-law students.
“I’m really proud to go to a school that’s helping to realign the core values of the legal community,” Alseikhan said. “The U.S. News rankings in particular carry a lot of weight for those applying to law school, regardless of if (the ranking is) a true reflection of the education.”
In choosing a law school to attend, Alseikhan said she will take into account the school’s participation — or lack thereof — in the U.S. News rankings.
“It’s really important to me that the law school that I choose to go to acknowledges that these rankings are, unfortunately, really arbitrary,” Alseikhan said. “The rankings further encourage an elitist rhetoric, which discourages low-income students and those pursuing careers in public interest.”
University spokesperson Kim Broekhuizen said the University had no further comment on the subject.
Daily Staff Reporter Carlin Pendell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.