As education costs continue to soar, students and their families are increasingly focused on the student experience, career opportunities and tangible outcomes that a law school education can offer. To meet this demand, the 2023-2024 U.S. News Best Law Schools methodology prioritizes measures that identify clear and transparent outcomes for prospective students. These changes reflect the insights and input of more than 100 law school deans as well as other experts in the legal field across the country. As always, U.S. News rankings, data, and journalism provide students with the information they need to make the most informed decisions.
The 2023-2024 Best Law Schools methodology includes:
- A significant increase in the weight of the bar passage rate, and the inclusion of “Ultimate Bar Passage,” a two-year measurement of a graduating class’s bar exam success
- A significant increase in weight of employment 10 months after graduation
- Full credit for all full-time, long-term fellowships — includes those that are school funded — where bar passage is required or where the JD degree is an advantage
- Maximum credit for those enrolled in graduate studies in the ABA employment outcomes grid
- A significant reduction in overall weights of reputation surveys
- Peer assessment and industry assessment are given equal weight to ensure opinions of academics were not weighted higher than opinions of practicing lawyers and judges
- A reduction in median LSAT/GRE and median GPA scores
Full methodology weights and measures will be available upon publication of the complete rankings on April 18.
Accordingly, the rankings for the top 14 law schools are*:
|1||Stanford University (tie)|
|1||Yale University (tie)|
|3||University of Chicago|
|4||Harvard University (tie)|
|4||University of Pennsylvania (Carey) (tie)|
|6||Duke University (tie)|
|6||New York University (tie)|
|8||Columbia University (tie)|
|8||University of Virginia (tie)|
|10||Northwestern University (Pritzker) (tie)|
|10||University of California, Berkeley (tie)|
|10||University of Michigan—Ann Arbor (tie)|
|14||University of California—Los Angeles|
Earlier this year, some law schools chose not to provide their institution’s statistical data to U.S. News. In an effort to provide students with a level playing field for comparison, U.S. News ranked law schools using metrics that are mandatory for disclosure by the American Bar Association. This means that certain factors such as expenditures, at-graduation employment rate and JD graduate indebtedness are no longer included in the formula. However, the U.S. News’ law school profile pages will continue to incorporate data that law schools reported directly to U.S. News over the past two years, including indicators not used in the ordinal rankings and other critical information such as program offerings, financial aid availability and graduate salaries.
More data on schools benefits everyone. U.S. News remains committed to collecting more data on the metrics that matter most to students in future iterations of our rankings. By doing so, we hope to empower students with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their educational pursuits and set themselves up for success. 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.
*The 2023 – 2024 Best Graduate Schools Rankings are considered final when published on USNews.com in their entirety on April 18, 2023.