TaxProf Blog

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

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Law School Rankings By Job Placement

Dan Filler (Drexel) has mined the ABA placement data to rank all 203 law schools by the percentage of graduates in the class of 2015 who found full-time non-law school funded long term J.D.-required or J.D.-advantage jobs within nine months after graduation, along with each school's U.S. News rank.  (He notes glitches in the data in a later post.) Here are the Top 25:

Job Rank US News Rank School Percentage
1 7 PENN 93%
2 11 DUKE  92%
2 60 KENTUCKY 92%
4 13 CORNELL  91%
4 2 HARVARD  91%
4 4 CHICAGO 91%
7 6 NYU 90%
7 4 COLUMBIA  90%
9 2 STANFORD  89%
9 12 NORTHWESTERN 89%
11 8 MICHIGAN 88%
12 8 VIRGINIA 87%
12 65 SETON HALL 87%
12 8 UC-BERKELEY 87%
15 55 BAYLOR  86%
15 30 OHIO STATE 86%
15 18 WASHINGTON UNIV. 86%
18 25 ARIZONA STATE 85%
18 20 IOWA 85%
18 1 YALE  85%
21 45 GEORGE MASON 84%
21 57 NEBRASKA 84%
21 86 ARKANSAS 84%
21 45 SMU 84%
25 30 BOSTON COLLEGE 83%
25 33 GEORGIA 83%
25 86 TULSA 83%
25 16 VANDERBILT 83%

Dan notes "there are other ways to slice the data," and my Pepperdine colleague Rob Anderson does so in Law Schools Ranked by Employment.  Rob notes the many "oddities" in Dan's ranking, including Kentucky (2), Georgetown (78), and UC-Irvine (127):

I decided to use a technique have written about in the past to produce a better ranking of law schools by ABA employment data. Professor Filler's post really isn't fair to excellent schools like Georgetown, and is especially harsh to UC Irvine, which Professor Filler's approach ranks at #127. My technique takes into account all of the ABA data and uses a dimensionality reduction technique to squash the data into a single dimension. It counts some categories as negatives and some as positives, and uses information about "biglaw" versus "small law" jobs, etc. This ranking, which I denote A-Rank to distinguish it from Filler's F-Rank, is far from perfect, but it is clearly a significant improvement and I think readers will find it more informative.

Under Rob's methodology:

Schools with better employment outcomes tend to have more:

  • Employment in full-time long-term in bar passage required jobs
  • Employment full-time long-term in large law firm positions
  • Employment in a different state from the school's home state
  • Employment in the federal government or public interest

Schools with worse employment outcomes tend to have more:

  • Unemployment (obviously)
  • Employment in the same state as the school's home state
  • Employment in small firms or solo practice
  • Employment in "JD advantage" or "professional positions

Here are the Top 25:

A-RANK

US NEWS RANK

LAW SCHOOL

1

4

CHICAGO

2

4

COLUMBIA

3

7

PENNSYLVANIA

4

6

NYU

5

11

DUKE

6

13

CORNELL

7

2

HARVARD

8

8

VIRGINIA

9

2

STANFORD

10

8

MICHIGAN

11

1

YALE

12

8

UC-BERKELEY

13

12

NORTHWESTERN

14

16

VANDERBILT

15

14

GEORGETOWN

16

17

UCLA

17

19

USC

18

28

UC-IRVINE

19

15

TEXAS

20

20

BOSTON UNIVERSITY

21

30

BOSTON COLLEGE

22

22

EMORY

23

22

NOTRE DAME

24

18

WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

25

25

GEORGE WASHINGTON

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/12/law-schools-rankings-by-job-placement.html

Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Comments

How are judicial clerkships counted? Those tend to be one-year positions, hence not "long term" and the clerks do not necessarily have a law firm or govt job lined up at the time they start their clerkship. Would that count against schools that are successful in placing clerk applicants?

Posted by: Andy Patterson | Dec 1, 2016 6:37:24 AM

Don't forget about salaries! They are, after all, rather important in being able to pay back law school. For instance, let's look at two schools tied at 12 in the first chart, Seton Hall and UC-Berkeley. Berkeley has in-state tuition of $48k per year, Seton Hall has tuition of $51k. So fairly similar there. But let's take a gander at their NALP salary reports: Seton Hall's 75th percentile salary of $65k is barely above Berkeley's 25th percentile of $60k. Medians? $50,707 for Seton Hall, $140,000 for Berkeley. Quite a bit of daylight between them. In fact, the median starting salary for Seton Hall, at least among the 76% of the class that reported, wouldn't even cover one year's tuition at Seton Hall.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Dec 1, 2016 9:31:20 AM

uh, this could have been accomplished in a few seconds by setting the parameters at

http://iaals.du.edu/educating-tomorrows-lawyers/projects/numbers/calculator-tool-researchers-and-media

Re UC Irvine, it confirms that calling oneself a top 20 law school does not make it so even if you've got a bunch of big names on the faculty roster, and adds credence to the argument that the school serves no necessary purpose beyond what the already existing 4 excellent University of California Law schools fulfilled. The whole thing is a big boondoggle that exists for no legitimate purpose (I don't consider existing for the purpose of gathering highly paid faculty legitimate, in and of itself).

Posted by: Anon | Dec 1, 2016 9:48:07 AM

UC Irvine also reported an inordinate and suspect amount of long term full time SCHOOL FUNDED positions in 2015 (20 out of only 110 graduates, or 18%, which is among the highest percentage of law schools in the country).

The fact that Irvine had to "employ" almost 20% of its tiny graduating class is further evidence of the disconnect between how the school perceives itself, and the reality of its market position and relevance...

http://www.law.uci.edu/careers/students/employment-info/statistics/employment-summary-2015.html

Posted by: Anon | Dec 1, 2016 10:30:23 AM