U.S. News and World Report is a news magazine published in Washington, D.C. Since November of 2008, it became a monthly magazine. The magazine focuses on political, economic, health and education issues. U.S. News and World Report is known for its ranking system and annual reports on American colleges, graduate schools and hospitals. For the annual evaluation of law schools, the U.S. News and World Report uses 12 factors. The 12 factors in the US News and World Report evaluation system are:
- reputation among academics,
- reputation among lawyers and judges,
- median Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score,
- median undergraduate grade point average (UGPA),
- rejection rate of candidate’s application,
- cost per head for instruction, library, and supporting student services,
- cost per head for financial aid, indirect expenses, and overheads,
- total number of volumes, microfilm, microfiche, and titles in the law library,
- student and faculty ratio,
- percentage of students employed during graduation,
- percentage of students employed nine months later, and
- bar passage rate
The ratings by academics and ratings by lawyers and judges are treated as two important factors in the evaluation of law school quality. This data is obtained from the direct annual survey of the U.S. News and World Report. The remaining ten factors are obtained from a questionnaire that is completed by each school.
There are several criticisms of the U.S. News and World Report evaluation system. In this regard, the U.S. News and World Report ignores educational benefits available in certain law schools and the quality of expert faculties. The accuracy of data is also subjective because the participants in the survey boost their law schools for better scores.
Since 1989, the U.S. News and World Report has published law school rankings annually. Since that time, Yale Law School has been ranked first in every year. Moreover, Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School and Stanford Law School have been ranked in the top five.