UW Law School opts out of the annual US News Survey

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – The University of Wisconsin (UW) Law School announced Thursday its intention to withdraw from the annual US News Survey law school ranking, citing multiple issues it has with the survey’s methodology.

Wisconsin is not the first to make this move, several other law schools have withdrawn themselves from the survey. This includes Harvard and Yale.

According to its statement, UW Law School said the rankings do not align with the school’s “missions and goals” of accessibility and affordability. US News changed its methodology to use only publicly available data. UW cited three specific reasons it did not want to be included in the survey.

1. The metric used for the survey ignores debt considerations completely, UW said.

UW said one of its priorities is keeping the costs of law school down to keep debt manageable for students. According to UW Law School, 36% of its students graduate without any debt.

UW says it is glad the US News survey is getting rid of the expenditures-per-student element of the calculation, but not that student debt is not being considered. UW says debt is a major consideration for students and eliminating debt allows students to consider legal careers in nonprofit and government sectors that may not pay as well.

2. According to UW, the survey penalizes schools that license students that don’t take the bar exam.

UW Law School students that graduate are able to practice in Wisconsin without taking the bar exam. According to law school officials, this “diploma privilege” eliminates a barrier in the path to practicing in the state.

The metric that showed that UW had a 100% bar admission rate previously changed in 2022 and Wisconsin Law School dropped significantly down the list. UW argued that this is unfair to states that have law graduate privileges.

3. UW Law School officials claim the ranking isn’t a good tool for people deciding on a law school.

UW officials said the school’s ranking has changed on the US News list in the past four years, but that the quality does not change as often as the survey might indicate. UW Law School also said US News results are not free for those who want to look.

UW created it’s own consumer considerations page for prospective law students to provide them with reliable and accurate information pertaining to the University.

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