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Ranking the Law School Rankings

Fortuna Law has compiled the results of the “big four” law school rankings of the last 12 months to produce our Fortuna Ranking of US Law School Rankings for 2023-2024.

We’ve combined the results of the law school rankings published by US News, Times Higher Education (THE), QS Quacquarelli Symonds, and ARWU (Shanghai) to produce a wide-angle view of how schools perform across the varied methodologies and weighting of each ranking. How do the top law schools in the US perform when you combine these results?

Law School Rankings

The Fortuna Ranking of US Law School Rankings 2023-2024

The Fortuna Ranking of US Law School Rankings 2023-2024 sees Yale Law School at #1, ahead of Harvard Law School at #2, and Stanford Law School at #3. These were the same three top positions when compared to the Ranking of Rankings from 2018. Yale Law has been #1 in the US News Best Law Schools ranking since it began in 1990—a 33-year long dominance that is unparalleled in the history of university, business school, and graduate school media rankings. This year, the school in New Haven that includes Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and several Supreme Court Justices among many notable alumni had to share the top spot in US News with Stanford Law. However, the strong performance of Yale in the other three global rankings—#1 in ARWU Shanghai; #2 in QS; #3 for THE—means that Yale is consistently ahead of Harvard and Stanford when it comes to law school rankings.

Though Stanford Law ranked #1 among US schools in two of the major rankings, THE and US News, the position at #10 in the Shanghai ranking sees their aggregate performance place them at #3 in the Ranking of Rankings behind Harvard Law, which itself ranks #1 in the QS ranking and comes in #2 across all four rankings.

So far so predictable, and part of a bigger picture of the T14—the elite US law schools that have largely dominated the top 14 spots in the US News law school ranking, which we cover in more detail in another post. Across all four rankings Yale, Harvard, and Stanford are joined by Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Michigan, NYU, UC Berkeley, UPenn, and Virginia in the overall top 14. Only Northwestern has slipped, ranking at #16 behind UT-Austin, with UCLA claiming the #11 place in 2023.

Law School Rankings

Comparing the Ranking of Law School Rankings

Comparing the ranking of law school rankings over a 5-year period helps to identify wider trends, and among the T14 NYU has climbed two places since 2018 to #4, with Chicago and Columbia both moving down one place. But otherwise the results among the top law schools show remarkable stability.

Moving further down the law league table, Vanderbilt University has climbed four places since 2018 to #17, with the University Minnesota also breaking into the top 20 over the same 5-year period with a 6 place jump to #19.

The University of Florida has risen ten places over the same time period, with strong results from US News and THE helping them to reach #23, in a tie with George Mason University that has climbed six places in the rankings since 2018.

Combining the four major rankings has the benefit of ironing out some of the volatile swings that you might otherwise see in a single methodology. Other than Northwestern dropping two places to #16 since 2018, no other law school in the top 25 dropped by more than one place.

The Full Results

Fortuna Ranking of US Law School Rankings 2023/24
Rank 2023 Rank 2018* Name THE 2023 QS 2023 USNews 2023-24 ARWU 2022
1 1 Yale University 3 2 1 1
2 2 Harvard University 4 1 5 2
3 3 Stanford University 1 3 1 10
4 6 New York University 2 4 5 5
5 4 University of Chicago 5 7 3 3
6 5 Columbia University 6 5 8 6
7 8 University of California, Berkeley 7 6 10 8
7 7 University of Pennsylvania 13 10 4 4
9 9 Duke University 11 11 5 7
10 10 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor 9 13 10 9
11 12 University of California, Los Angeles 8 9 14 11
12 11 Georgetown University 12 8 15 13
12 13 University of Virginia 14 14 8 12
14 15 Cornell University 10 12 13 20
15 16 University of Texas – Austin 20 16 16 18
16 14 Northwestern University 29 15 10 19
17 21 Vanderbilt University 24 31 16 14
18 18 Boston University 21 19 27 24
19 19 University of California, Irvine 23 27 35 16
19 25 University of Minnesota 19 36 16 32
21 22 University of Washington 15 22 49 30
22 23 Fordham University 24 29 35
23 33 University of Florida 25 42 22 34
23 29 George Mason University 16 48 32 27
25 24 University of Southern California 61 29 16 21
25 28 Arizona State University 30 23 32 42



Only US law schools are ranked by all four major media rankings. Fortuna Admissions has calculated their overall performance by looking at each ranking position compared to other US schools, and taking an average of those results.

In the case of the THE, QS, and ARWU Shanghai rankings, if a US law school ranked #15 in the overall THE ranking and #32 in the overall QS ranking, but among US business schools was #9 in the THE table and #15 in QS, then the relative US regional figure was used for the calculation, and added to those of US News, before dividing by the number of rankings to achieve an average score.

Candidates should remember that this is not a scientific approach, and there is no attempt to give greater weight to one ranking over another. Each ranking uses a different methodology and measures different things with the inherent limitations of each assessment, so doing particularly well in one ranking and less well in another is reflected in the overall average score.

The Fortuna team offers free 30-minute consultations for law school applicants. Complete our sign-up form to speak with one of our coaches if you have questions about your candidacy you’d like help answering.

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