South Texas College of Law Houston will not respond to the U.S. News law school rankings survey in 2023.
For decades, experts across the spectrum of legal education have decried the U.S. News law school rankings as purporting to employ a numeric ranking for information that simply cannot be quantified.
Business and legal leaders in Houston founded South Texas College of Law 100 years ago this year with a simple mission: to afford working professionals an opportunity to obtain a law degree. A century later, South Texas remains true to that mission, providing a welcoming and supportive environment for a diverse student body, preparing exceptional attorneys to lead and serve their communities with distinction.
Those important hallmarks – diversity, opportunity, excellence, and service – make South Texas an ideal community in which to study law. An engaged and expert faculty provides a challenging, exceptional legal education, ensuring that South Texas students master not just the rule of law, but also the practical application of that law. A caring and hard-working staff fosters a community of engagement and support for law students. A diverse and dedicated student body reflects the population of the most diverse city in the nation, nurtures respectful dialogue, and fosters a more inclusive legal community. A loyal and committed alumni network of 16,000 graduates offers extraordinary experiences and mentorship to law students and graduates. And a vibrant and growing Houston legal and business community creates an enviable array of extra-curricular and career opportunities unavailable in many jurisdictions.
None of these important characteristics are reflected in the U.S. News rankings; indeed, U.S. News simply has no mechanism to quantify and rank-order these vital qualities. Thus, the U.S. News rankings create a false sense of precision on the purported relative merits of law schools – while nonetheless omitting the crucial, non-quantifiable characteristics at the heart of each law school’s mission and purpose.
U.S. News has acknowledged these concerns. In response to them, through two open letters to law school deans, U.S. News has promised that it will make significant changes in the calculations on which the rankings are based, both this year and in the years to come. Importantly, however, U.S. News has not disclosed what those changes are – and will not do so until after the rankings are released. In essence, U.S. News is asking that law schools trust it with their data . . . and then hope for the best.
South Texas College of Law Houston, rather, will wait for U.S. News to reveal its new rankings approach to ascertain whether U.S. News has made the changes that experts across the spectrum have identified as so important to a fair and appropriate methodology. Thereafter, South Texas will determine whether to submit information for the rankings in future years.
Source for media interviews: President and Dean Michael F. Barry.
He can be reached via STCL Houston Marketing and Communications: 713-646-1799.