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Law School Rankings Upset in U.S. News Report

By William Vogeler, Esq. on March 20, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Some universities will count 2018 as the year to remember, while others will want to forget it.

In collegiate basketball's "March Madness," it was the year of stunning upsets with top teams going down early. In law school rankings, it was also an early exit for one high-level university.

Pepperdine University School of Law was ranked No. 59 -- just shy of the top tier -- by U.S. News & World Report. But then this happened:

LSAT Mistake

Pepperdine miscalculated its LSAT scores, which it had reported to U.S News. The law school didn't realize it until after the magazine released an embargoed copy of the rankings.

"To our horror, we learned that we had made an inadvertent data entry error in reporting our median LSAT for the class that began in Fall, 2017," said Dean Paul J. Caron.

He said the law school immediately notified U.S. News of the mistake, and offered the corrected scores. Pepperdine asked that the news organization recalculate the rankings with that information.

Instead, Pepperdine was listed as "unranked due to a data reporting error by the school." The official rankings are to come out March 20.

March Madness

It is a classical tale of too little, too late. The dean said they contacted rankings experts, who said the law school would have ranked 62 or 64 -- up from 72 last year -- with the corrected numbers.

"It is, of course, deeply disappointing to be unranked for a year," Caron said. "But the reality is that we made great progress in the rankings this year, and should continue our ascent next year."

Spoken like a good basketball coach; the good ones always give their teams something to build on when they suffer a crushing defeat -- after they curse the officials, of course.

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