The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School rose to No. 4 in this year's U.S. News & World Report rankings, the first since the school stopped submitting data.
Penn Carey Law – previously ranked No. 6 – is tied with Harvard Law School on the preview of the 2023-2024 U.S. News Best Law School Rankings. In December, the school opted out of submitting data to the rankings following withdrawals of other top law schools. Penn Carey Law maintained its opposition after the rankings announced changes to its methodologies in January in an effort to accommodate these complaints.
A spokesperson for Penn Carey Law wrote in a statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian that the rankings are "one of several metrics" that are used to assess the school, which continues to evaluate itself "among multiple variables."
"While we await the final rankings and more information on the methodology to be released on April 18, we are gratified to see that U.S. News considered collective feedback and modified its rankings this year, and that our strong, positive student outcomes are reflected in their ranking released today," the spokesperson wrote.
For schools like Penn Carey Law that did not submit statistical data, U.S. News used figures that schools publicly disclose to the American Bar Association, according to its website.
In addition, to ensure fair rankings, U.S. News wrote on its website that the weights and measures provided for each aspect were reevaluated. The new methods include an increase in the weight of the bar passage rate, employment rates after 10 months, and the inclusion of the “Ultimate Bar Passage.” It also gives less weight to reputation surveys, LSAT/GRE scores, and GPAs.
Two law schools tied at No. 1 in this year's rankings — Stanford University and Yale University, followed by the University of Chicago in the No. 3 spot. Columbia University dropped four spots in the top 10 — from a previous No. 4 tie with Harvard University to the No. 8 rank, which it shares with the University of Virginia.
U.S. News said that it is committed to providing students with the information to make informed decisions and acknowledged the concerns raised by the top law schools. The full methodology will be available on April 18 and “prioritizes measures that identify clear and transparent outcomes for prospective students,” according to the website.
When Penn Carey Law withdrew in December, it echoed criticism of the rankings from other schools, describing the rankings as "unnecessarily secretive and contrary to important parts of our mission," including undercounting financial aid expenditures.
In this year's formula, factors such as at-graduation employment rates and debt are no longer included. Nonetheless, U.S. News will continue to incorporate data such as program offerings, financial aid, and graduate salaries that were reported directly over the last two years.
Peer and industry assessments that include the opinions of academics and practicing lawyers and judges have also been given equal weight. Additionally, the rankings will give full credit for all long-term fellowships with required bar passage or a JD degree advantage, as well as to students enrolled in the ABA employment outcomes grid.
“We understand the tough choices that prospective students face when it comes to the value of their education, and we are dedicated to providing them with the necessary information to navigate these decisions with confidence,” U.S. News wrote on its website.