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Saturday, September 5, 2009

U.S. News Law School Rankings: Judicial Clerkships

U.S. News Logo U.S. News & World Report yesterday published its first ranking of law schools by the percentage of the 2007 J.D. graduating class with clerkships with Article III federal judges.  Here are the Top 50 law schools by this measure, along with the percentage of all federal and state judicial clerkships and their overall U.S. News ranking, as well as Brian Leiter's ranking by the percentage of U.S. Supreme Court clerkships for the 2000-2008 Terms (determined by the size of the most recent 1L class):

US News

Federal

Court

Clerkship

Ranking

US News

Overall

Ranking

Leiter’s

Supreme

Court

Clerkship

Ranking

Law

School

%

Federal

Court

Clerkship

%

All

Courts

Clerkship

%

Supreme

Court

Clerkship

1

1

1

Yale

37.0%

41.4%

0.325%

2

Tier 3

North Dakota

25.0%

28.0%

3

3

4

Stanford

23.0%

24.0%

0.131%

4

2

3

Harvard

18.2%

20.6%

0.151%

5

Tier 3

Wyoming

16.7%

19.0%

6

Tier 3

St. Thomas

16.0%

17.0%

7

9

9

Michigan

14.0%

14.2%

0.024%

7

41

10

BYU

14.0%

14.0%

0.020%

9

100

Maine

13.0%

13.0%

10

10

7

Virginia

12.5%

13.6%

0.035%

11

10

15

Duke

11.7%

13.5%

0.010%

12

15

17

Texas

11.0%

15.0%

0.009%

12

13

Cornell

11.0%

15.0%

12

Tier 4

W. New England

11.0%

11.0%

15

Tier 3

Mississippi

10.9%

11.0%

15

8

14

Pennsylvania

10.9%

15.0%

0.012%

17

6

2

Chicago

10.0%

10.0%

0.155%

17

Tier 4

Suffolk

10.0%

10.0%

19

4

5

Columbia

9.2%

9.2%

0.048%

20

23

12

Notre Dame

9.1%

13.2%

0.017%

21

77

New Mexico

9.0%

12.0%

21

30

Wash. & Lee

9.0%

18.6%

23

6

6

UC-Berkeley

8.1%

12.2%

0.040%

24

55

Kentucky

8.0%

25.0%

24

17

Vanderbilt

8.0%

14.0%

26

35

Ohio State

7.4%

13.0%

27

5

8

NYU

7.3%

8.0%

0.033%

28

30

Alabama

7.0%

7.0%

29

10

9

Northwestern

6.8%

9.0%

0.024%

30

Tier 4

Ave Maria

6.0%

10.6%

30

20

Emory

6.0%

13.1%

30

35

13

Georgia

6.0%

13.0%

0.015%

30

77

Seton Hall

6.0%

36.2%

30

40

Wake Forest

6.0%

9.0%

30

15

UCLA

6.0%

11.0%

30

18

USC

6.0%

7.5%

37

14

18

Georgetown

5.8%

9.4%

0.0087%

38

45

Tulane

5.7%

9.0%

39

43

Arizona

5.5%

19.7%

40

23

15

Illinois

5.2%

10.9%

0.010%

41

Tier 3

Mercer

5.1%

12.0%

42

77

Richmond

5.0%

19.0%

42

65

Temple

5.0%

15.0%

42

30

U. Washington

5.0%

18.1%

42

19

Washington U.

5.0%

7.0%

46

28

19

G. Washington

4.9%

11.0%

0.008%

47

77

Chicago-Kent

4.8%

5.0%

48

20

Minnesota

4.5%

16.0%

49

Tier 3

Idaho

4.3%

24.0%

49

43

Maryland

4.3%

18.0%


From Robert Morse, Director of Data Research at U.S. News:

At this time, U.S. News does not have plans to incorporate the clerkship ranking into the methodology for the America's Best Graduate Schools Law School rankings. But some have suggested we do so. Judge Ed Carnes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit wrote us and suggested that "incorporating the clerkship hiring decisions of federal judges into your ranking will provide you with what is, in a sense, a survey of the quality of law schools as reflected in the actions, not just the opinions, of a group of highly selective employers."

As pointed out in the comments, there appear to be some anomalies with the U.S. News data -- for example, several schools report unusually high clerkship totals (e.g., Seton Hall (36.2%), North Dakota (28.0%), Kentucky (25.0%), Idaho (24.0%).

Update:  North Dakota and Western New England have admitted that the correct percentages of their 2007 grads with clerkships with Article III federal judges are 0%, not 25% (North Dakota); and 2%, not 11% (Western New England).  See ABA JournalWSJ Law Blog

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Comments

I think the data are a bit odd in omitting state judges. Admittedly, some of these are less than prestigious. But a clerkship with the NJ or Mass Sup Ct has got to be no less impressive than your average District Court--these should probably be included.

Posted by: mike livingston | Sep 5, 2009 7:00:26 AM

Is BYU an underrated law school? I mean, it seems like they're regularly showing well on lists like these. And at #10 on the SCOTUS clerkship list I think they have a good case for being ranked higher than #41. What is it about the US News rankings that keeps them so low?

Posted by: Eric | Sep 5, 2009 1:16:06 PM

Maybe it's the same people who do the football polls (they beat Oklahoma yesterday).

Posted by: mike livingston | Sep 6, 2009 7:22:32 AM

Someone should check whether they mistakenly included Magistrate Judges and other non-Article III federal judges in the federal judge totals. I find it hard to believe that every single clerk coming out of BYU, W. New England, Chicago, Columbia, Suffolk, Alabama, etc. (where the Article III percentage is identical to the total percentage) was a district judge or circuit judge clerk. No state court clerkships? No magistrate judge clerkships? No court of claims/armed forces/veterans court clerkships? Not a single one from those schools? The data just seems highly implausible.

Posted by: TJ | Sep 6, 2009 9:54:25 PM

This morning it came to our attention that U.S. News and World Report released a new Law School ranking “Best Law Schools: Whose 2007 graduates are most likely to be employed as Federal judicial clerks with Article III Federal judges?” Our data as provided to U.S. News and World Report is incorrect, and we are currently working with U.S. News to fix this error. Dean Thomas M. Mengler - University of St. Thomas School of Law (MN)

Posted by: Chato Hazelbaker | Sep 8, 2009 10:47:43 AM