We have analyzed the available law school data to calculate our predicted 2023 (to be released March 2022) U.S. News & World Report law school rankings.
Please note that these predictions are based only on publicly-available data, mostly information released by the ABA in their annual 509 reports. There is a good deal of private data that does not factor into our predictions, such as expenditures and assessment scores. Over half of the ranking score is calculated based on this unavailable data. What is nice is that a large chunk of private data, the two assessment scores, is generally quite stable from year to year. That makes it more possible to estimate the impact changes in publicly-available data will have on a law school's ranking.
This year could see more unpredictability than usual. As many will recall, U.S. News introduced new metrics last year: two measures of student debt, and six new library metrics. To accommodate these new metrics, U.S. News reduced the weight of several categories.
We don't know what exact methodology U.S. News will use this year. However, it seems that most of the library metrics introduced last year have been eliminated from this year's rankings formula. We don't know where their formula weight will be re-allocated. It also seems there may be consideration for a change in the way bar passage rates are weighed, which could have big implications for schools sending their graduates to many different states. And of course, the ongoing disruption of COVID-19 to law school operations will vary from school to school and could lead to its own quirks.
While we have been pretty close each year, what we have modeled is never 100% accurate, and that's especially true this year. Changes in how U.S. News weighs metrics can throw off all our assumptions, and one or two schools changing has a cascading effect.
We also want to disclaim that, while rankings do to some extent drive decision-making in legal education (which is why we pay attention to them), rankings themselves in no way reflect what is best for an individual applicant or student.
Our predicted rankings are below:
1. Yale University
2. Stanford University
3. Harvard University
4. University of Chicago
5. Columbia University
6. New York University
6. University of Pennsylvania
8. University of Virginia
9. University of California–Berkeley
9. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
11. Duke University
12. Cornell University
12. Northwestern University
14. Georgetown University Law Center
14. University of California–Los Angeles
16. Washington University in St. Louis
16. Vanderbilt University
18. University of Texas–Austin
19. University of Southern California
20. Boston University
21. University of Alabama
21. University of Florida
23. University of Minnesota
23. University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill
23. University of Notre Dame
26. Brigham Young University
26. George Washington University
28. University of Georgia
28. University of Iowa
We're sure a lot of people will be wondering, "X school increased its LSAT/GPA by a lot, why didn't they go up in your list/why did they go down in your list?" The reason is that pretty much everyone increased their LSAT and GPA this year. It doesn't really help your ranking to go up by +1 LSAT and +0.02 GPA when the school you tied with last year goes up by +2 LSAT and +0.04 GPA. The rankings are comparative. If everyone is getting better, you have to go even further than them.
If you're interested in creating your own customized rankings based on the metrics that are the most important to you (rather than what is deemed most important by a magazine), check out My Rank, which lets you weigh different factors and compare/contrast law schools based on a great deal of data, including employment numbers, bar passage rates, student/faculty ratio, diversity, and more.
You can also watch our YouTube video on the best ways to use rankings in your process of choosing a law school: