Kaplan Surveys: Law Schools Believe the Rankings Have Lost Their Luster, but Pre-Law Students Still Find Them Useful

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--()--Results from Kaplan’s latest law school admissions officers survey show that 51 percent of law schools across the United States believe that the U.S. News & World Report rankings — the 2024 list was just released today — "have lost some of their prestige over the last couple of years”; 18 percent do not believe this to be the case, while the remaining 31 percent don’t take a position.* The survey results come after a number of top-tier schools — including Harvard, Yale, UC Berkeley, and Northwestern Pritzker School of Law — announced decisions to no longer actively participate, citing concerns over methodology and other issues. In total, around 25 percent of law schools no longer actively participate, according to some counts.

When asked to share their general views of the rankings, law school admissions officers didn’t hold back. “Call me when the rankings focus on retention rates, graduation rates, placement rates, and bar passage rates, and nothing else,” said one. Another shared, “While it does not benefit our law school to participate, we realize prospective students use such rankings when considering schools.”

In a separate Kaplan survey of nearly 400 pre-law students, 37 percent said it would be a “positive development for both law schools and applicants to no longer have rankings at all”; 53 percent disagreed with that point of view, indicating that most aspiring lawyers still see value in the rankings; the remaining 10 percent were unsure.**

“Throughout the years, numerous admissions officers have quipped that ‘U.S. News Rankings Eve’ is often a sleepless night for law school leaders, as the fate of their positions may hang in the balance. That’s how important it is for some law schools, many of which use their ranking as an important student recruitment and fundraising tool,” said Amit Schlesinger, executive director of legal and government programs, Kaplan. “We believe that the rankings can be a useful aggregate for pre-law students for important stats like post-graduation job numbers and starting salaries, but the risk is giving a school’s ranking too much weight in determining where you ultimately enroll. Above all else, discover which schools seem like the best fit for you personally and your professional goals. To do this, we strongly advise pre-law students to visit the schools they’re interested in and connect with current students and alumni to discuss their experiences. Through this discovery process, many aspiring law school students may be surprised by what schools are good matches, which may also open more scholarship opportunities for them. Of course, many cost-conscious aspiring law school students are looking at sticker price, which remains a top factor too. That may even supersede the rankings, for many.”

To speak with a Kaplan law school admissions expert, contact russell.schaffer@kaplan.com.

*Admissions officers from 86 of the nation’s 197 American Bar Association-accredited law schools were polled by Kaplan by email and phone between August and November 2023. Among the 86 law schools that participated are 23 of the top 50, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

**The online Kaplan survey was conducted in September 2023 of 390 aspiring lawyers across the country who are members of Phi Alpha Delta, the largest professional law fraternity in the United States.

About Kaplan

Kaplan, Inc. is a global educational services company that helps individuals and institutions advance their goals in an ever-changing world. Our broad portfolio of solutions help students and professionals further their education and careers, universities and educational institutions attract and support students, and businesses maximize employee recruitment, retainment, and development. Stanley Kaplan founded our company in 1938 with a mission to expand educational opportunities for students of all backgrounds. Today, our thousands of employees working in 27 countries continue Stanley’s mission as they serve about 1.2 million students and professionals, 15,000 corporate clients, and 3,300 schools, school districts, colleges, and universities worldwide. Kaplan is a subsidiary of the Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC). Learn more at kaplan.com.

Twitter: @KaplanEdNews


Press: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 917.822.8190

Release Summary

Results from Kaplan’s latest survey of law school admissions officers find that a majority of them think the rankings have lost some of their luster.

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Press: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 917.822.8190