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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, April 25, 2016

Law School Rankings:  Graduates Who Made Partner In AmLaw 100 In 2015

Go ToFollowing up on my previous post,   NLJ: Law School Rankings By Graduates In BigLaw Jobs:  National Law Journal, Chart: The Go-To Law Schools' Associates to Partner

The law schools that saw the most alumni promoted to partner in the nation's 100 largest law firms during 2015:

1 (2 in U.S. News) Harvard (34 new partners)
2 (14) Georgetown (32)
3 (8) Michigan (24)
3 (8) Virginia (24)
5 (6) NYU (18)
6 (7) Penn (17)
6 (25) George Washington (17)
8 (12) Northwestern (16)
8 (8) UC-Berkeley (16)
10 (30) Boston College (15)
10 (37) Fordham (15)
12 (4) Columbia (14)
12 (74) Villanova (14)
14 (15) Texas (12)
15 (2) Stanford (11)
15 (17) UCLA (11)
15 (16) Vanderbilt (11)
15 (92) Rutgers (11)
19 (20) Boston University (10)
19 (72) Loyola-Chicago (10)
19 (50) Temple (10)
19 (50) Houston (10)
23 (97) Brooklyn (9)
23 (11) Duke (9)
23 (50) UC-Hastings (9)
23 (4) Chicago (9)
23 (48) Florida (9)
23 (40) Illinois (9)
23 (1) Yale (9)
30 (57) Case (8)
30 (22) Notre Dame (8)

American Lawyer, Law Schools that Feed Big Law Partnerships:

First, what's not a surprise: Harvard, NYU and Georgetown being top generators of partners. This make sense, because they are highly ranked schools with big graduating classes (Harvard had 590 grads, NYU 485 and Georgetown 676). Virtually all the top eight schools for new partners are T-14 schools, with the exception of GW, which ranked 22nd place in last year's U.S. News & World Report. (GW, however, has a big class—461 grads in 2015.)

Now, the more intriguing story: Schools that are outperforming their rank on the partnership front. For starters, BC and Fordham squeezed into the top 10 list for new partners. Though both are respectably, if middling, ranked (34th place in U.S. News), each produced a nice bounty of Am Law 100 partners. Fordham even has the satisfaction of beating out Columbia, its much snottier uptown neighbor.

But the two law schools that seem to be way, way over-performing are Villanova and Rutgers, which are both ranked 87. Rutgers' proximity to New York probably helps (through its merger last year with the law school in Camden, it now has two campuses). More mysterious is how little Villanova (only 215 graduates), located in ho-hum King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, did so well. Coming in with 14 partners, Villanova seems to be punching way above its weight. (It beat out Stanford, which only scored 11 new partners; University of Chicago, Yale and Duke, 9 partners each; and Cornell, 7 partners. ...

What's noteworthy about the NLJ's associates to partner list is that there's a bunch of low-ranking or regional law schools that hold their own on partner elevation in the major leagues. Other overachievers include 78th ranked Brooklyn Law School (nine new partners), 75th ranked Loyola in Chicago (10 partners), 75th ranked Cardozo (seven partners) and 127th ranked New York Law School (six partners).

Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink


These numbers need to be re-calibrated on a per capita basis (as a function of the class size, as noted in the blog).

Posted by: Andy Patterson | Apr 25, 2016 5:38:20 AM

The take home message here is that even at the best school in the country (Harvard) your odds of becoming a biglaw partner are well under 10%. Basically, it is not a career path that anyone can count on.

And to address Mr. Patterson's point, I do not believe showing the per capita basis is really that helpful since for most schools the absolute numbers will be so low as to be irrelevant. Same reason you don't win the MLB batting title just because you played in one game and went 3/4.

Posted by: JM | Apr 25, 2016 8:41:24 AM