Georgetown Law Withdraws from US News & World Report Rankings

November 18, 2022

Earlier today, Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor shared the following message with the Georgetown Law community:

Since our founding, public service has been at the heart of Georgetown Law’s mission. We have strived to live by the Jesuit motto of “People for Others” – educating lawyers, legal scholars, and citizens committed to the struggle for justice and protecting the rights of the most vulnerable among us. As we have pursued these goals, we have also dedicated ourselves to providing the resources needed for the most promising students to attend the law school, regardless of their means.

For decades, the U.S. News & World Report rankings have used a scoring system that reflects a different set of priorities. Most significantly, the U.S. News 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.

Over the past decade, I have repeatedly reached out to the leadership of U.S. News and urged them to devise better measures of educational quality, measures that would drive progress for students and legal education. Other deans have also made the case for change. Unfortunately, those efforts have been unsuccessful.

Because the U.S. News ranking system continues to encourage schools to pursue a vision of legal education that is at odds with the compelling educational values that define us as a community, Georgetown Law will no longer participate in the U.S. News law school rankings.

Our commitment to educating the whole person and to preparing our graduates for the service of others is clear. Georgetown Law has built the strongest clinical law program in the United States, giving our students the opportunity to launch their public interest careers before they graduate. In the last decade, we have placed more graduates in public service careers than any other top law school. 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.

These achievements are at the core of Georgetown Law’s identity. We have pursued them despite the fact that the U.S. News law school rankings discourages them. Rankings formulas that over-emphasize GPA/LSAT scores, that refuse to credit public interest lawyers who are subsidized by school-sponsored fellowships as fully employed, that treat need-based financial aid as a disfavored use of resources, and that penalize schools that admit students who have to borrow to fund their legal educations are not rewarding quality education and are not advancing our profession’s high ideals.

Similarly, U.S. News assigns great weight to spending-per-student ratio, regardless of whether that spending advances educational quality or helps students. It thus rewards schools with huge endowments, simply because they have huge endowments, and it encourages schools to raise tuition.

Other schools in recent days have reached their own decision not to participate in U.S. News. It is a decision that I have considered for many years. After reflection and receiving input from other members of this community – faculty, students, alumni, and staff – I have decided that it is one that is consistent with Georgetown Law’s mission as a legal educator and servant of the public interest. In accordance with our values as a school, Georgetown Law will not participate in the U.S. News ranking.