Dear UConn Law Community,
I write to inform you that after careful consideration, UConn Law will not be providing U.S. News & World Report with proprietary data about the law school for the Best Law Schools ranking, due to be released this spring. I want to thank faculty, staff, students, alumni and University leadership for their helpful guidance and support during the deliberative process leading to this decision.
The decision not to participate derives from our long-held belief that the U.S. News rankings do not appropriately measure or adequately capture UConn Law’s strengths and values or the life-transformative educational experience we offer our students. But our concerns run deeper. The rankings’ methodology and outsized influence impede progress in providing equitable educational opportunities for students with the greatest financial need and for those whose backgrounds and identities are historically underrepresented in law schools and the legal profession. Further, U.S. News’ overreliance on quantitative measures, such as admissions test scores, GPAs, and faculty and staff salary expenditures, neglects qualitative attributes that create a truly rewarding law school experience and prepare students for successful and meaningful careers. The U.S. News’ methodology ignores the diversity of law schools’ missions and goals and the wide range of approaches taken to achieve them.
For 100 years, the University of Connecticut School of Law has provided an exceptional, accessible and affordable legal education for a diverse population of students. Our focus will continue to be on supporting students through every stage of their academic and professional journeys as we cultivate a strong campus community, foster a sense of belonging and engage students in life-transformative opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. We strive to carry out this critical mission guided not by external rankings but by our commitment to our students and to excellence in research and teaching. As the law school of Connecticut’s flagship public university, we will continue to serve the community through clinics, field placements and pro bono programs and to expand access to justice and opportunity in furtherance of our mission and values.
Many other law schools have decided to stop participating in the U.S. News rankings as well. All have expressed similar concerns about the value of law school rankings and the problematic methodology employed to create them. In response, U.S. News & World Report has announced that it will adjust its methodology and continue to rank law schools based on its own reputational surveys and on publicly available data. I hope these developments signal the beginning of a more inclusive, nuanced and meaningful method of evaluating law schools for the benefit of prospective students, and I look forward to being in conversation with U.S. News and others to assist in that effort.
Eboni S. Nelson
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Connecticut School of Law