Statement on 2019 U.S. News & World Report Rankings
As you may know, Pepperdine Law is currently "unranked due to a data reporting error by the school" in the official 2019 U.S. News Law School rankings. We want to take this opportunity not only to explain the error, but also to share some encouraging news about Pepperdine's future.
On March 13, 2018, the Pepperdine School of Law, along with all other law schools, received an advance copy of the U.S. News & World Report 2019 Best Graduate School Rankings, and to our dismay, we discovered that we inadvertently made a data entry error in reporting our median LSAT score (160; incorrectly reported as 162) for the class that began in Fall 2017. We immediately reported our mistake with a request to update the rankings with our correct information. Unfortunately, the publication declined to recalculate the rankings prior to the release one week later on March 20, 2018.
According to three nationally recognized law school rankings experts with whom we consulted independently, had it not been for our mistake, we would have ranked number 62 or 64 in the 2019 rankings, up from number 72 in 2018. Indeed, another rankings expert published his annual compilation of the U.S. News rankings for the last 10 years and he has placed us at number 65 this year (because U.S. News did not re-rank the other schools ranked 65 who in actuality should have been ranked 64).
We are disappointed that we do not have an “official” U.S. News rank this year and sincerely regret and take full responsibility for our error. But the reality is that we continue to make great progress at the school and expect a substantial rankings boost to be reflected in the 2020 Best Law Schools Rankings that will be released in March 2019.
Next year's rankings will include job data for the Class of 2017, and we are up 10 percentage points as of the March 15 reporting date. Pepperdine's employment rate for the Class of 2017 stands at 87%, with 75% representing the most sought-after jobs as defined by the ABA (full-time, long-term bar passage required or J.D. advantage jobs). To put that number in perspective, based on last year's employment statistics of the other 20 ABA-accredited California law schools, Pepperdine would rank fourth (behind only Stanford, UC-Berkeley, and UCLA).
This employment data adds to the growing momentum at Pepperdine Law over the past eight months:
August: We welcomed our 1L Class of 2020, which had the highest median LSAT score (160) and undergraduate GPA (3.62) in several years and places us among the top 50 law schools for student credentials.
October: The Princeton Review ranked Pepperdine Law faculty #6 in the country for classroom teaching ability and accessibility outside of the classroom, behind only Virginia, Duke, Boston University, Stanford, and Chicago.
November: Pepperdine's moot court program was ranked #11 in the country and #2 in California.
March: Applications for Pepperdine's 1L Class of 2021 to start in August are up over 45%, compared to the national average of a 10% increase.
In addition, Pepperdine continues to be recognized in this year's U.S. News rankings as the #1 dispute resolution program in the country for the 13th time in the past 14 years.
In the three-minute video below, highlighting excerpts from the recent 45th annual School of Law dinner, Dean Paul L. Caron and keynote speaker Gary Haugen, founder and CEO of International Justice Mission, offer their reflections on the Pepperdine Law experience.