University of California, Irvine School of Law Withdraws From Participating in U.S. News Annual Law School Rankings


Message from Dean and Chancellor's Professor of Law Austen Parrish

Dear UCI Law Community,

I write to share our decision to withdraw from participating in the U.S. News & World Report annual law school rankings – a decision that we have not reached lightly. Over the last several days, faculty have met to discuss as a group, and I have had conversations and meetings with staff, student leaders, alumni, and others. With thoughtful feedback and strong encouragement within our community, we will not be submitting proprietary data this year to U.S. News for use in its law school rankings.

We are a young school, whose founders in 2008 had a vision for creating an extraordinary public law school. As part of a leading public research university, we committed ourselves to providing exceptional experiential and lawyering skills training, while underscoring the need to understand changes affecting the legal profession, and the value of interdisciplinary approaches to legal problems taught by faculty who are leaders in their fields. In all that we do, we emphasize public service, social justice, and global engagement, and we recruit students who share our vision.

Our students want to do more than just learn the law; they want to lead and to make an impact in their communities. Our vision — with extraordinary support from the Orange County and Southern California legal and business communities — is defined by advancing the upward mobility of first-generation students and those underrepresented in the legal profession, while being innovative in how we approach our research and scholarship, our teaching, and our community engagement.

Collectively we have determined that continuing to participate in the U.S. News rankings is not consistent with our founding ideals. As others have described, the U.S. News law school rankings increasingly have a detrimental effect on legal education. The survey techniques are problematic, and the rankings are often misleading. We share the concerns about the accuracy and the fairness of the rankings process: even small changes in metrics can lead to dramatic changes in rankings each year.

How U.S. News has decided to approach its rankings and what it chooses to incentivize do not align with our values or our commitment to public service; nor is it what leaders in the top law firms, nonprofit and government organizations, corporations, and others that hire our students value. The response by U.S. News to recent announcements by other law schools that have also chosen to withdraw — without responding to the substance of any of the significant issues raised — has caused greater concern, contributing to our decision. Each year we, along with all other accredited law schools, provide extensive data to the American Bar Association through the accreditation process, and that will continue. Absent significant changes that address the concerns raised, we will not be providing additional data to U.S. News.

We will continue to invest in our core commitments — to equity and justice, to public and community service, to interdisciplinary research, to experiential education, and to global engagement — that have defined and will continue to shape the UCI Law experience.


Austen L. Parrish
Dean and Chancellor's Professor of Law
University of California, Irvine School of Law