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Hanover Reconstructs the 2012 U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings

WASHINGTON, DC—Hanover Research recently revealed a reconstruction of the 2012 U.S. News & World Report Best Law School rankings. Hanover Research members now have access to the model and related analysis.

The model can be used to test various hypothetical scenarios, re-computing the rankings each time; for example, Hanover can tell a school where they would have ranked if their average LSAT score had been five points higher than it actually was, ceteris paribus. The model can also tell a school whether they are near the top or bottom of their tier and how much they need to improve in order to move to the next tier up—or how close they are to dropping to the next tier down. The model will also be of use to law schools in the lower level of the rankings, as U.S. News & World Report only publishes complete rankings data for the top 145 law schools.

A graph representing the scores from U.S. News & World Report and Hanover shows that the scores align almost perfectly. Only three ranked schools had overall scores in the Hanover model that differed from the U.S. News & World Report score by more than one point; these differences are probably due to differences in the cost of living adjustments used in Hanover’s reconstruction versus those used by U.S. News & World Report.

In addition to the official U.S. News & World Report methodology, Hanover’s reproduction of the rankings draws heavily on the work of two law school professors who previously attempted similar reconstructions. Theodore P. Seto at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles reconstructed the 2007 rankings and published a detailed description of the methodology he used, clarifying many otherwise undisclosed details of the U.S. News & World Report methodology. Tom W. Bell at Chapman University has also attempted similar reconstructions each year since 2005 (reconstructing the 2006 rankings), and has published some details of his efforts on his blog.


 Hanover Research, a global research services firm, provides proprietary research of every possible variety to over 400 higher education institutions in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand. Services are delivered on a fixed-cost, annual basis, with member organizations receiving support on an unlimited number of sequential activities across their membership term. Areas of expertise include: market evaluation, surveying, data analysis, competitive benchmarking, and literature review. To learn more, contact Gretchen Novak at or call (202) 559-0045.