www.RankingUSNews.com   www.LawSchool100.com

Quote of the Day
"What is scary is that, given the rather absurd ranking methodology--in which more than half the criteria are self-reported by the schools and unverifiable by US News; more than one-third of the criteria favor small schools over large ones; and less than half the criteria have anything to do with academics!--students actually seem to hang on changes in overall rank
as though they mean anything
! Wow!"
-- Texas Law Prof. Brian Leiter

Official U.S. News Web Site 

U.S. News Rankings of Law Schools for 2005

1. Yale
2. Harvard
3. Stanford
4. Columbia
5. New York University
6. U of Chicago
7. U of Michigan
7. U of Penn
9. U of Virginia
10. Duke
10. Northwestern
12. Cornell
13. Berkeley (Boalt)
14. Georgetown
15. U of Texas
16. UCLA
17. Vanderbilt
18. U of Southern California
19. U of Minnesota
20. George Washington
20. U of Notre Dame
20. Washington University
23. Boston University
23. Emory
23. U of Iowa
23. Washington and Lee
27. U of Illinois
27. U of NC - Chapel Hill
29. Boston College
29. William and Mary
31. University of Georgia
31. U of Wisconsin
33. U of Cal-Davis
34. Brigham Young
34. Fordham
34. U of Washington
34. Wake Forest
38. George Mason
38. U of Cal-Hastings
40. Indiana U-Bloomington
40. U of Alabama
42. Ohio State
43. U of Arizona
43. U of Connecticut
43. U of Florida
43. U of Maryland
47. Southern Methodist U
47. U of Pittsburgh
47. U of Utah
50. Baylor 
50. U of Colorado
50. U of Kentucky
53. Arizona State
53. Cardozo
53. U of Tennessee
56. American University
56. Case Western Reserve
56. Tulane 
59. Loyola -- LA
59. Temple 
59. U of Cincinnati
59. U of Houston
63. Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent
63. Indiana U-Indianapolis
63. U of Kansas
63. U of Missouri-Columbia
67. Brooklyn
67. Florida State
67. Loyola U -- Chicago
67. U of Oklahoma
67. U of San Diego
72. Rutgers-Camden
72. Rutgers-Newark
72. U of Oregon
72. U of Richmond
72. Villanova 
77. Lewis and Clark
77. Northeastern
77. St. John's 
77. U of Denver
77. U of Miami
82. Catholic U
82. St. Louis U
82. U of Buffalo-SUNY
82. U of Hawaii
82. U of Louisville (Brandeis)
82. U of Nevada-Las Vegas (Boyd)
82. U of South Carolina
89. Georgia State 
89. Hofstra 
89. Louisiana State
89. Seton Hall
89. U of Nebraska
94. Marquette 
94. Santa Clara 
94. U of Mississippi
94. U of San Francisco
94. U of Toledo
99. Mercer 
99. Pepperdine U
99. Seattle U
99. U of Arkansas-Fayetteville
99. U of Missouri-Kansas City
99. U of New Mexico

Third & Fourth Tiers (Slow-loading graphic)


Also, from Prof. Leiter:

U.S. News Law School Rankings Hijacked by Malicious Typesetter

Chicago is not 6th
Berkeley is not 13th
Illinois is not 27th
Wisconsin is not 31st
Tulane is not 56th
San Diego is not 67th

The list could go on.

Some malevolent typesetter must have fooled with the law school rankings at the last moment in order to make U.S. News look ridiculous. A major news magazine wouldn't publish disinformation like this.

Posted by Brian Leiter at March 31, 2004 10:43 PM

More Leiter 

From the Dean of the University of Illinois College of Law:

I write to share information on what we believe will be the outcome of this year’s U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of graduate schools. The report is not available until tomorrow, but we have advance information which places the College of Law 27th among the top 100 law schools. Even though this ranking is one in which all of us should still take pride, I am very aware that it does represent a drop from our previous ranking at 25th.

I’d like to be clear, however, that our professional ranking (as assessed by practicing lawyers and judges) improved this year, placing us 17th in the nation, and our academic ranking (as assessed by law professors and administrators) remained unblemished, placing us again in the top 20. Inasmuch as the professional ranking of a school is the best indication of the market value of its degrees, students who will soon be graduating from the College of Law and seeking employment should be encouraged by the reputational gains made this year within the bar and bench. And inasmuch as the academic ranking of a school is the best indication of the school’s long-term trajectory, the fact that the College’s substantially reduced faculty was able to sustain the productivity of a much larger faculty, and thus preserve its elite standing within the legal academy, promises great things for the larger faculty of the future.

It is crucial to appreciate that although U.S. News publishes 10 evaluative criteria, the overall score that determines a school’s ranking is a product of a much larger number of unpublished factors, most notably those drawn directly from its financial data. As you well know, the dire condition of the state’s budget in the past two years has severely affected the campus and the College. This trend for state schools is well documented, including an April 18, 2003 article in The Wall Street Journal [Westlaw cite 4/18/03 WSJ B1]. Indeed, the analysis we have done shows that this year the public schools ranked within the top 50 dropped in ranking, on average, .56%, while the private schools ranked within the top 50 moved up, on average, .48%, showing clearly the effect of downward budgetary pressure on public schools like ours.

It should be no surprise that money buys success in ranking. Essentially every variable assessed in ranking a school can be either directly or indirectly “purchased,” and the raw wealth of an institution is itself a variable in that institution’s assessment. What is very telling is that there is only one school ranked above the College this year that is less wealthy (though there are many ranked below it that are far more wealthy). Consider just a few differences between Illinois and its competitors. In 2002 (the year of latest data), Michigan had an endowment of $204.2M, Virginia had an endowment of $159.5M, Iowa had an endowment of $42M, and Illinois had an endowment of $13.7M. In 2002, Yale spent $72,650 per FTE (full-time equivalent student), Northwestern spent $39,771 per FTE, Michigan spent $39,415 per FTE, Iowa spent $31,955 per FTE, and Illinois spent $26,061 per FTE. While these numbers show that the College of Law continues to outperform its far wealthier peers, it makes obvious that these disparities must be aggressively confronted if we are to recover a ranking commensurate with the College's quality.

As a result of severe budget cuts, the College was unable to hire any new faculty last year, and this drove this year’s faculty-student ratio to a number that placed the College 43rd in the nation by this measure (with only two schools ranked above it reporting ratios that were as poor). As a result of severe budget cuts, the College had to compete for students (on whose entrance numbers a school’s ranking very largely depends) with far fewer scholarship funds, thus sustaining, but not improving, its student scores. It comes as small surprise, therefore, that given the correlation between wealth and ranking, the budget cuts inflicted upon the College in past years would show up in the present one.

But despite everything that will be said and written about this year’s ranking, I fervently believe that this is one of the most exciting times in the history of this great institution—and one of the very brightest!

First, I have some wonderful news to report on the fundraising and development front. In this fiscal year (beginning July 2003), the College has recorded close to $6M in private gifts (current use and deferred). This represents well over a 500% increase in funds received over FY03! And it means that in absolute dollars (given the data currently available to us), we have raised more money this year than has Business, Applied and Fine Arts, and Vet Med; we are astonishingly close to raising what has been raised by LAS; and we are within $1.5M of what has been raised by ACES! When one takes seriously how small we are in comparison to these other colleges, this represents astonishing good fortune. In addition, our annual fund is up by 17.9% and our donor participation rate is up by 40.4%! So if what it takes to improve in the rankings is dollars, then we are on the march to recapture our place amongst those who have not been forced, in recent years, to endure the rapid withdrawal of state funds.

Moreover, the College of Law has hired six new full-time faculty members this year and has signed on a number of enriching new part-time and visiting faculty members for next year, thus guaranteeing an immediate and very significant improvement in our student-faculty ratio. And the College has hired a new, very aggressive Admissions team, whose efforts have won us, to date, an incoming 2005 class that represents one of the strongest, most diverse classes ever boasted by the College. Our graduates continue to pass the bar and gain employment at among the highest rates in the country, and new high-profile programs and initiatives—involving both faculty and students—attest to an entrepreneurial spirit and pride of place that no commercial survey can quantify or capture.

I hope you will join me in eagerly anticipating a very bright future for the University of Illinois College of Law and in continuing to be very proud and supportive of what is one of the nation’s very finest law schools.

Heidi M. Hurd
Dean, College of Law
David C. Baum Professor of Law and Philosophy
Co-Director of the Program in Law and Philosophy

Santa Clara School of Law Press Release:

April 02, 2004

Santa Clara University's School of Law is Among Top 100 in Country;
Law School Student Body is Among the Top Five Most Diverse

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 2, 2004--Santa Clara University's School of Law was again named one of the top 100 law schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The annual graduate school ranking also ranked the law school as one of the five most diverse programs in the country.

"I am extremely pleased that the law school is once again ranked as a top-tier program," said Donald Polden, dean of the Santa Clara University School of Law. "The high ranking is a reflection of our outstanding faculty, which includes many nationally-recognized legal scholars, dedicated staff, and our intellectually rigorous program," Polden added. "Moreover, our consistent high ranking is reflected in the more than 5,300 applications to the 2004 entering class." Applications to the SCU School of Law have more than doubled since 2001.

The survey also found that 93 percent of Santa Clara law school students were employed nine months after graduation -- an increase of three percent over 2003 employment figures. "The synergy created by our location, our well-connected alumni, and our close association with the technology and business communities in the valley is invaluable for our graduates -- especially in this economy," Polden said.

The magazine also reported that the SCU School of Law is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse in the U.S. Out of 200 nationally accredited law schools, only three were considered as having a more diverse student body. The magazine's diversity index is based on the total proportion of minority students, not including international students, and the mix of racial groups in 2003-04.

"We are committed to increasing diversity in the legal profession," said Polden. "As a part of the Jesuit tradition in education and our commitment to increased diversity in the legal profession, we are providing access and opportunity to historically underserved communities."

The survey also ranked SCU's intellectual property and high technology law program as one of the top 15 in the country. The SCU intellectual property program offers specialty certificates in high tech law and international high tech law, as well as a master's program in intellectual property law. "We are in great company in the top 15, and the rankings are indicative of our position as one of the nation's leaders in intellectual property law education," said Alexandra Horne, assistant dean, law and technology and executive director of the High Tech Law Institute.

In addition to its juris doctorate (J.D.) program, the law school offers three specialty certificates in high tech law, international law, and public interest law, as well as master's degrees in intellectual property and international law. The University also offers a joint J.D./M.B.A. degree.

Other California schools in the top 100 were Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Southern California, University of California, Davis, University of California (Hastings), Loyola Law School, University of San Diego, and University of San Francisco.

The rankings were published this week in the magazine, on the Web, and in a special annual "Best Graduate Schools" publication. According to U.S. News & World Report, the ranking takes into account median LSAT scores, median undergraduate GPA, and the proportion of applicants accepted for fall 2004; employment rates at graduation and nine months later; as well as bar passage rates of first time test takers compared with average rates. The magazine has been publishing the rankings since 1994.

About Santa Clara University School of Law

The SCU School of Law, founded in 1912, combines a tradition of excellence with a commitment to ethics, diversity, and social justice, and is fully accredited by the American Bar Association. Many of its 968 students work in criminal and civil community law clinics, and may earn certificates in intellectual property law, international law, or public interest law. Law degrees may be combined with master's degrees in business administration or taxation. The School of Law also offers lawyers master's degrees in international law and intellectual property law. More information is online at www.scu.edu/law.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California's Silicon Valley, offers its 8,047 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the fourth-highest graduation rate among all U.S. master's universities, California's oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is online at www.scu.edu.

What's Wrong With the U.S. News Rankings
by Joanna Grossman