In U.S. News’ 2023 Law School Rankings, announced Monday evening, no Wisconsin school managed to crack the top 30.
The University of Wisconsin Law School fell 14 spots to number 43, tying Indiana University Bloomington Maurer School of Law. And Marquette Law School fell three spots this year in a six-way tie for 105 with DePaul University, Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge, Texas Tech University, University of New Hampshire and Washburn University.
Despite having one of the largest clinical programs in the country, UW Law School fell to the just above the middle of the pack amid the 192 ranked schools. Marquette, home to the award winning Eckstein Hall, remained within the 100 range, as it has in past years.
Dan Tojaki, UW Law dean, said U.S. News made two changes to its criteria that set the UW Law School back in the rankings. One made the school’s diploma privilege a disadvantage. The diploma privilege which allows students who have completed certain course requirements to be admitted to the bar without taking the usually required formal examination.
The other change gave less weight to the access law schools provide to library resources such as databases and volumes and more to raw spending. That, Tojaki said, harmed schools that work to remain affordable to a wide range of students.
“Our ranking is not our mission,” Tokaji said. “But we can’t ignore it, since it helps us do things that are critical to our mission. That includes bringing in great students, providing them with innovative learning opportunities, connecting them with great jobs, and growing our outstanding faculty filled with leading experts in their fields. We will intensify our efforts in all these areas, which will advance our mission of educating a diverse group of exceptional lawyers and leaders, while also elevating our ranking.”
The top five schools were Yale University (for the second year), Stanford University (also holding its previous year ranking), University of Chicago (moving up one spot), and a two-way tie between Columbia University and Harvard University.
The criteria used for the ranking took into account the placement of graduates, faculty resources and the academic achievements of entering students. The final piece is opinions by law schools, lawyers and judges about the school’s general quality. The schools that were assessed are all accredited by the American Bar Association.
This year’s rankings took into account factors like J.D. graduates’ debts their effects on the graduates themselves, the profession and prospective students. This was the second year these data were included in the rankings. U.S. News also noted “A key change for the 2023 edition involved U.S. News more comprehensively assessing the bar passage rates of first-time test takers.”