According to the annual reputational survey of several hundred lawyers, judges, and law professors conducted by U.S. News and World Report, the University of Texas School of Law rates 14th in the nation, in a cluster with Duke, Georgetown, and Northwestern, among other leading law schools.
Dean Lawrence Sager commented that, “We are pleased to be recognized once again as one of the nation’s top law schools by our peers in the academy and the profession. Our sustained recognition is especially noteworthy, given a disproportionate emphasis in the poll on practitioners in the Northeast and on the West coast.”
In addition to its annual survey of legal professionals, U.S. News also provides an overall ranking of law schools. This year, a reporting anomaly in one of the categories has placed the University of Texas at a one-year disadvantage, and embroiled the U.S. News methodology in controversy. Most of the law schools in the top twenty reported recent graduates who were studying for the winter bar exam as “not seeking” employment. UT reported the same group as “studying for the bar,” and U.S. News—despite contrary practices of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) and the American Bar Association (ABA)—chose to classify these alumni as “seeking” employment. This single glitch caused UT Law’s overall ranking to be eighteen, notwithstanding its significantly higher reputational scores. Dean Sager observes, “This is, of course, annoying. But it is a one time reporting hiccup, and we will fare far better in the future.”
U.S. News’s methodological difficulties in this regard are discussed extensively by Law Professor Tom Bell, a U.S. News observer, at http://agoraphilia.blogspot.com/2007/03/how-who-and-why-of-strategic-emp9.html.