Law Schools

US News law school rankings are released; Pepperdine's mistake costs it a ranking

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Yale Law School kept its No. 1 ranking in a list of the top law schools for 2019 released Tuesday by U.S. News & World Report.

The rankings for the top eight law schools remain unchanged from last year. Yale is followed by Stanford University, Harvard University, the University of Chicago, Columbia University, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Two law schools in the top 20 to post the biggest gains are: the University of California at Berkeley, which jumped three spots to No. 9, and the University of Minnesota, which also climbed three spots to No. 20.

Another school that posted a large gain was the University of California at Irvine, which jumped seven spots to No. 21. Above the Law has a list showing gains and losses here.

Above the Law and are reporting on a controversial decision affecting this year’s rankings. Pepperdine Law School jumped from 72 to 59 in an embargoed version of the rankings, spurring the school to take another look at its numbers, Pepperdine law dean Paul Caron wrote at TaxProf Blog. The school determined it made an error. Its median LSAT score for all its students was 160, not 162 as initially reported to U.S. News.

Pepperdine told U.S. News about the error. In response, U.S. News removed Pepperdine and said it was “unranked due to a reporting error by the school.” According to Caron, the school would have been ranked 62nd or 64th if U.S. News had recalculated the rankings with the corrected information.

U.S. News chief data strategist Bob Morse told that misreported data is handled on a case-by-case basis.

“It is worth noting that Pepperdine did complete the data verification process during the data collection for law schools, assuring U.S. News that its information was accurate,” Morse said. “We do rely on schools to accurately report their information, and we thank them for their cooperation and efforts in doing just that.”

Here are the schools that made the top 20 on the U.S. News list of 2019 best law schools:

1) Yale University

2) Stanford University

3) Harvard University

4) University of Chicago

5) Columbia University

6) New York University

7) University of Pennsylvania

8) University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

9) University of California-Berkeley (tie)

9) University of Virginia (tie)

11) Duke University (tie)

11) Northwestern University (tie)

13) Cornell University

14) Georgetown University

15) University of Texas-Austin

16) University of California-Los Angeles

17) Vanderbilt University

18) Washington University in St. Louis

19) University of Southern California

20) University of Minnesota

U.S. News rankings are based on a weighted average of a dozen measures. They are assessments by legal academics, lawyers and judges; median LSAT and GRE scores; median undergraduate grade point averages; acceptance rate; bar pass rate; placement success; expenditures per student; student-faculty ratio; and library resources.

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