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UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law will suspend participation in U.S. News and World Report Law School Rankings

Dean Megan Carpenter

Micky Minhas, JD/LLM '97, Director of UNH Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property

Micky Minhas, JD/LLM '97, Director of UNH Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property

Franklin Pierce School of Law Main Building in Fall

Franklin Pierce School of Law Main Building in Fall

Dean Megan Carpenter cites UNH Franklin Pierce’s commitment to innovation and accessibility

[U.S. News] rankings are currently flawed, have grown to impose an outsized negative influence on legal education, and are inconsistent with our values.”
— Dean Megan Carpenter

CONCORD, NH, UNITED STATES, December 15, 2022 / -- Dean Megan Carpenter announced in a statement to the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law community today that it has decided to suspend its participation with the U.S. News rankings.

Dean Carpenter noted that U.S. News “rankings are currently flawed, have grown to impose an outsized negative influence on legal education, and are inconsistent with our values. . . . Among its flaws, US News negatively influences law schools to place too much emphasis on otherwise helpful tools—LSAT and undergraduate GPA—working to disadvantage students who show merit in other ways. Some information collected by U.S. News is not publicly available nor is it subject to vetting or authentication. The rankings erode support for public interest careers, disadvantage students who have to take out loans to go to school, and do not reflect the realities of a modern law degree. In practice, they often disadvantage STEM majors and students who have prior work experience.”

UNH Franklin Pierce’s Associate Dean for Administration and Enrollment Shane Cooper adds, “I echo concerns raised about the U.S. News rankings outsized negative influences on the law school admissions process. This decision marks an important opportunity to stand up for our principles and core values to be pioneering and innovative as we seek to expand access to legal education for the next generation of great lawyers.” UNH Franklin Pierce’s Assistant Dean for Career Services Neil Sirota shares that, “I applaud the decision by our leadership. In my experience, employers don't make hiring decisions based on U.S. News rankings. I have full confidence that our graduates will continue to have access to a wide range of employment opportunities based on UNH Franklin Pierce’s strong reputation in intellectual property, public service, and social justice and as New Hampshire’s premier law school.”

Dean Carpenter also noted that, ‘[b]y any measure, our school has always been one of the top U.S. law schools for intellectual property. We recognize that many of our alumni, students, faculty, and staff take great pride in our world-renowned reputation and note we have been ranked as one of the top law schools in the U.S. News Intellectual Property specialty rankings for every year since they began more than 30 years ago. However, our success in this ranking system is not based on factors that benefit students—curriculum, employment, program breadth or depth—but on data derived from a survey asking professors to rank schools on a scale of 1 to 5. It’s time that even schools who have done well on this metric—especially schools who have done well—stand up for what really matters. . . . Our reputation as a leader in intellectual property pre-dates the U.S. News rankings and will remain so regardless of U.S. News specialty rankings. In fact, we believe that by freeing ourselves from the strictures of U.S. News, we will be able to continue our path to innovation and strengthen our reputation in this field in ways that benefit students and the practice of IP.”

Commenting on UNH Franklin Pierce’s stature as a world-renowned IP institution, Professor Micky Minhas, the Executive Director of the Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property commented that, “Since being founded nearly 50 years ago, Franklin Pierce has earned a world-class international reputation in developing IP practitioners and leaders. As a leader in the IP law school field, this is an appropriate time to take a principled stand and step away from the U.S. News rankings. We will continue being a leader in IP and stay true to our mission in developing IP practitioners that hit the ground running and lead IP organizations globally.” Professor Minhas has been leading the Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property since 2020. He is the Senior Vice President at Marconi Group, an intellectual property licensing and management firm and is the former Vice President and Chief Patent Counsel at Microsoft.

Dean Carpenter closed her message to the UNH Franklin Pierce community by stating, “[t]his is a decision we do not take lightly and is informed by conversations and engagements with a wide range of members of our law school community and UNH leadership. These conversations remind me how honored and privileged I am to lead a school and community of alumni, students, faculty, and staff that care deeply about our school, our reputation, and our mission. I firmly believe that by suspending our participation in the U.S. News rankings we can best fulfill our founding vision to stop talking about what is wrong with legal education and continue to transform it. This decision will free us to continue to innovate to meet the demands of the next generation, which needs powerhouse lawyers now more than ever.”

To view Dean Megan Carpenter’s statement in its entirety, please see here.

Lauren K. Terry
UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law
+1 857-225-2836
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Dean Megan Carpenter's Message About Decision to Suspend Participation with US News