As if a second year of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t enough, 2021 kicked off with a U.S. News & World Report rankings kerfuffle and the announcement of a significant overhaul of the bar exam, before moving on to several law school scandals and a remote bar exam disaster and finally ending with a reality star passing the “baby bar” and the ABA blessing the use of the GRE in law school admissions. In between, there were plenty of other notable developments in legal academia this year.
U.S. News & World Report Rankings Controversy
Early in 2021, the U.S. News & World Report rankings that came under scrutiny after undergoing three revisions, the third of which came two days before the official rankings were released. The first revision was to correct a data error on a metric, weighted at 0.25% of a school’s overall ranking, that measures the number of hours each school’s law library is open. The rankings of more than 30 schools changed once that problem was fixed.