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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Anderson: Law School Rankings by Graduates Who Are Directors/Officers of Public Companies

Witnesseth:  Legal Pedigree From the Courtroom to the Boardroom, by Robert Anderson (Pepperdine):

Law schools and law firms are embedded in a very rigid prestige hierarchy. The hierarchy is so pervasive that almost every lawyer and law student is keenly aware of it. On the positive side, the hierarchy gives rise to labels such as "Big Law," the "T-14," and "HYS." On the negative side, there are acronymic and alliterative labels that tend toward epithet.

The causes of the hierarchy are many, but perhaps most often blamed is excessive reliance on a single ranking system for law schools and a legal culture that responds obediently to that system. There is evidence, however, a recent paper by Arewa, Morriss and Henderson entitled Enduring Hierarchies in American Legal Education, that the hierarchies have existed for decades, predating emergence of any hegemonic ranking system.  ...

I decided to examine which lawyers businesses choose to lead them as insiders -- directors and officers of corporations, who are chosen largely by business people rather than other lawyers. To see how much law school pedigree affects those decisions, I chose the most visible and arguably prestigious slice of lawyers in business -- lawyers who manage publicly traded companies -- to see where those lawyers attended law school.

To accomplish this, I collected data from proxy statements and annual reports filed by publicly traded companies to determine what law schools executive officers and directors of those companies attended. ...  The process retrieved 1,760 individual mentions of law schools attended by D&Os (J.D. only) from 1,503 distinct filing companies. I collected the counts for each law school and normalized the counts for law school size (blended over time). To do this, I used the same figures I previously used to rank law schools by the number of big firm partners they produced. The analysis produced the following ranking of the top 25 law schools represented in public company boardrooms and C-suites.

 

Law School Name

D&Os Per

Student Enrolled

Number of D&Os

Weighted Number Enrolled

1

Harvard

0.3610465

207

573.3333

2

Stanford

0.3588785

64

178.3333

3

Columbia

0.2719298

93

342

4

Yale

0.2404007

48

199.6667

5

Cornell

0.1784387

32

179.3333

6

Chicago

0.1666667

30

180

7

NYU

0.1573034

63

400.5

8

Pennsylvania

0.1311244

31

236.4167

9

Michigan

0.1238532

45

363.3333

10

Northwestern

0.1220504

25

204.8333

These results are really an independent confirmation (and indeed an extension) of Arewa, Morriss and Henderson's thesis. The hierarchy of law schools is real and it is nothing new (remember that the median age of directors is about 60, so we are not dealing with people whose career was dictated by US News rankings!) Moreover, the pedigree effect appears to be so strong that it must be exerting its own independent effect above and beyond student quality. Finally, this data shows that the pedigree effect is not merely limited to affecting lawyers who choose other lawyers--it also exerts its effect over businesspeople, perhaps to an even greater extent.

Update: National Law Journal, Harvard Law Leads in Alumni in Corporate Leadership

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2013/11/anderson-law-.html

Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Comments

It would be *really* helpful to also get some aggregate placement data from lawyers listed in the Yellow Book and Martindale Hubbell (think of the wealth of cross-tabs that the latter might provide).

I believe that placement/alumni analysis using the Ntl Law Journal Top 250 has already been done - if only the data were more widely published.

Such analyses (using *independent, results oriented* data sets - not law school provided drivel) will *finally* help the legal market reach an honest equilibrium - instead of the rotted nightmare that ABA/law school "integrity" has bequeathed us.

Posted by: cas127 | Nov 5, 2013 8:53:35 PM