U.S. News & World Report said that it is "investigating" Brooklyn Law School's responses to the magazine's annual survey used to rank the country's top law schools, specifically with respect to part-time students.
For the first time this year, law schools were asked to provide the number of part-time students at their institutions so the information could be taken into account for certain ranking calculations, including undergraduate grade point averages and LSAT scores, and used in a new, separate part-time program ranking. The magazine said that about 85 of the 184 schools ranked have part-time programs.
The magazine said it would look into the matter after some rival law schools noted that Brooklyn Law wasn't listed in the part-time ranking and questioned whether the school also excluded part-time students in its responses for the overall ranking in an effort to boost its ranking. "We're still investigating the Brooklyn situation," said Bob Morse, the director of data research at the magazine.
Brooklyn, which ranked no. 61 among 184 law schools, acknowledged that it didn't include some information for part-time students partly because it disagrees with the magazine's methodology, but also because of an inadvertent error. The school maintained that including part-time information would have made little difference in some areas anyway.
"For many years, we have engaged U.S. News editors in debate over what we regard as flaws in its rankings methodology," the school said in a statement. "An important aspect of this debate has been our position that it is inappropriate to consider the numerical credentials (LSAT and GPA) of part-time students on the same basis as full-time students."
After the school received no response from the magazine to a letter it sent to editors arguing against including part-time students and having heard no announcement that the change was going forward, the school kept up its past practice of excluding part-time students in it responses, the school said. In answering some questions that asked for information based on combined full- and part-time students, the school said its erroneous response providing information for full-time students was "completely inadvertent."