Since the launch of our 2010 Best Law Schools rankings, the law school blogosphere has been buzzing about the fact that Brooklyn Law School apparently did not report admissions data for its part-time J.D. program. U.S. News wants to comment on what happened and discuss how we'll handle such situations in future rankings.
According to our data-entry records, in late October 2008, when Brooklyn Law first worked on its U.S. News law school statistical survey, it entered complete full-time, part-time, and combined full-time and part-time law admissions data (LSAT, undergraduate grade-point average, and applications and acceptances) for all students in the 2008 entering class.
However, in early December 2008—when Brooklyn submitted its final data to U.S. News —the school had deleted the part-time admissions data and instead copied the full-time LSAT, full-time undergraduate grade-point average, and full-time applications and acceptances into the fields labeled "All Students." It should also be noted that this was the first year that U.S. News asked law schools to report admissions data for all students (full, part-time, and combined).
Brooklyn Law would have ranked lower in the 2010 Best Law Schools ranking if the original combined all-students data it entered in October had been used in the rankings. Additionally, if Brooklyn had reported its part-time admissions data, it would have appeared in the new, separate rankings for part-time law programs.
U.S. News is not going to recalculate Brooklyn's law school rank. Next year, when U.S. News produces the 2011 rankings, if schools with part-time programs leave the part-time fields blank or incorrectly report full-time data in fields meant for their combined class, U.S. News will fill in those fields using the information for those schools that was published in the previous year's American Bar Association report.
We have spoken to officials at Brooklyn Law School. They said that, as they have done in the past, they decided not to report data for their part-time program this year. The placement of the full-time student data into the combined student data fields was an error, they said. Brooklyn Law School also recently posted a statement on how it provided data to U.S. News:
"[W]hen we completed the 2009 questionnaire, we reported the LSAT/GPA information about our full-time students. Consistent with prior practice, we left blank the questions about LSAT/GPA of part-time students. Following these two questions was a question that sought combined LSAT/GPA information for all entering students—full-time and part-time. In prior years, we had left that line blank. This year, however, we mistakenly inserted only the information provided for the previous two questions—the LSAT/GPA information for our full-time students. This error was completely inadvertent. There was no intention to hide the existence of our part-time program, as evidenced by substantial other information we provided about our part-time program elsewhere in the questionnaire."