The 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament was tipping off just as Lawyers Weekly went to press, so Sidebar won’t embarrass itself by publishing its picks for the Final Four, but March is also the time of year for another venerable tradition—North Carolina Lawyers Weekly’s annual reimagining of what the ACC standings would look like if schools were seeded not by their basketball prowess, but by how their law schools are ranked in the U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools rankings.
U.S. News released the 2020 rankings—no, your calendar is not wrong; this is just how they do these things—on March 12. Here’s how the ACC’s schools stacked up:
Virginia (#8 overall)
Duke (#10, tie)
Notre Dame (#21)
Boston College (#27, tie)
Wake Forest (#31, tie)
North Carolina (#34, tie)
Florida State (#48, tie)
Miami (#67, tie)
Pittsburgh (#77, tie)
Syracuse (#91, tie)
Louisville (#108, tie)
(Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech do not have law schools.)
Although some schools moved around a good bit in the national rankings, there were no shifts in our exclusive and proprietary ACC-only standings. As reported last week, UNC moved up a peppy 11 places in the national ranks, but it wasn’t quite enough to supplant in-state rival Wake Forest for fifth place in the ACC. Virginia, meanwhile, nipped Duke for the top spot yet again.
The good news, though, is that after years of compiling these lists, Sidebar is pretty sure it has finally committed to memory which schools are and are not in the ACC now. (Maybe.)
Whether the ACC schools’ positions relative to each other matter all that much—or, indeed, whether these U.S. News rankings should be used for any sort of not strictly-for-entertainment purposes at all—is in the eye of the beholder. We would just discourage anyone from, in a fit of buzzer-beater-induced frustration, resorting to using these to help you fill out your tournament brackets.