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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Seto: Law School Rankings by 2014 Graduates Hired into BigLaw Jobs

Seto (2014)TaxProf Blog op-ed:  Law School Rankings by 2014 Graduates Hired into BigLaw Jobs, by Theodore P. Seto (Loyola-L.A.):

On Monday, February 23, TaxProf Blog blogged the National Law Journal’s article, The Go-To Law Schools [more here], which identified “the top 50 law schools by percentage of 2014 juris doctors who took jobs at the largest 250 firms by lawyer head count—as identified in The National Law Journal’s annual survey of the nation’s 350 largest law firms.”

This post reports the same data for all other law schools as to which NLJ’s website provides data, and reports it in two forms: (1) by percentage of the graduating class (“% Hired”), extending the NLJ’s own ranking, and (2) by absolute numbers of hires (“# Hired”) by the NLJ250.

First, NLJ250 hires by percentage of the 2014 JD graduating class:

 

Law School

% Hired

1

Columbia

66.24%

2

Univ of Pennsylvania

63.67%

3

Univ of Chicago

61.14%

4

New York University

59.92%

5

Harvard

55.63%

6

Cornell

52.88%

7

Northwestern

49.48%

8

Duke

48.84%

9

Univ of Virginia

46.70%

10

Stanford

45.45%

11

Univ of Cal Berkeley

40.07%

12

Univ of Michigan

39.23%

13

Georgetown

38.24%

14

Yale

35.71%

15

Univ of Southern California

32.87%

16

Univ of Texas

32.19%

17

Univ of Cal at Los Angeles

30.36%

18

Vanderbilt

28.87%

19

Boston University

28.86%

20

Fordham

25.76%

21

Boston College

24.09%

22

Howard

21.43%

23

Univ of Notre Dame

21.23%

24

George Washington

21.07%

25

Washington Univ St. Louis

19.22%

26

Univ of Illinois

18.38%

27

Univ of North Carolina

17.36%

28

Southern Methodist

16.93%

29

Emory

16.04%

30

College of William & Mary

15.89%

31

Univ of Houston Law Center

15.29%

32

Univ of Cal Irvine

15.05%

33

Washington & Lee

14.84%

34

Villanova

13.21%

35

Temple

13.10%

36

Univ of Iowa

11.93%

37

Baylor

11.76%

38

Univ of Cal Hastings

11.69%

39

Univ of Colorado

11.59%

40

Tulane

11.34%

41

Ohio State

11.00%

42

West Virginia

10.85%

43

Univ of Washington

10.55%

44

Univ of Minnesota

10.42%

45

Univ of Cincinnati

10.24%

46

Loyola Los Angeles

10.10%

47

Rutgers Newark

10.09%

48

Arizona State

9.60%

49

Indiana Bloomington

9.55%

50

Univ of Florida Levin

9.54%

51

Brooklyn

8.99%

52

Univ of Cal Davis

8.88%

53

Univ of Wisconsin

8.86%

54

Loyola Chicago

8.78%

55

Brigham Young

8.70%

56

Wake Forest

8.51%

57

Yeshiva (Benjamin Cardozo)

7.91%

58

Drexel

7.80%

59

Univ of Georgia

7.63%

60

Univ of Alabama

7.60%

61

Santa Clara

7.31%

62

Wayne State

7.10%

63

Univ of Maryland

7.09%

64

George Mason

7.07%

65

State Univ of NY at Buffalo

6.88%

66

Univ of Tennessee

6.58%

67

American

6.51%

68

Univ of Kentucky

6.45%

69

Univ of Louisville

6.31%

70

St. John's

6.18%

71

Case Western Reserve

5.95%

72

Univ of South Carolina

5.94%

73

Univ of Missouri

5.93%

74

Univ of Connecticut

5.88%

74

Univ of Kansas

5.88%

74

Univ of Pittsburgh

5.88%

77

Univ of Missouri Kansas City

5.59%

78

Univ of Arkansas

5.47%

79

Chicago-Kent

5.46%

80

Univ of Denver

5.42%

81

Duquesne

5.29%

82

Univ of Miami

5.26%

83

Marquette

5.14%

84

Univ of Nebraska

5.13%

85

Rutgers Camden

5.05%

86

DePaul

4.90%

86

Univ of St. Thomas

4.90%

88

Univ of Arizona

4.86%

89

Georgia State

4.57%

90

Univ of San Diego

4.48%

91

William S. Boyd Univ of Nevada

4.20%

92

Univ of San Francisco

4.06%

93

Saint Louis University

4.04%

94

Pennsylvania State

3.98%

95

Louisiana State

3.95%

96

Indiana Indianapolis

3.94%

97

Catholic

3.89%

98

South Texas

3.87%

99

Suffolk

3.86%

100

Syracuse

3.79%

101

Creighton

3.76%

102

Loyola New Orleans

3.65%

103

Washburn

3.57%

104

Univ of Richmond

3.33%

105

Texas Tech

3.29%

106

Northeastern

3.26%

107

Seton Hall

3.16%

108

William Mitchell

3.13%

109

Univ of Oklahoma

2.80%

110

Univ of Detroit Mercy

2.75%

111

New York Law

2.67%

112

Univ of North Dakota

2.63%

113

The John Marshall Law School

2.62%

114

Pepperdine

2.53%

115

Michigan State

2.41%

116

Univ of New Hampshire

2.38%

117

Univ of Memphis

2.29%

118

Seattle

2.03%

119

Northern Kentucky

1.94%

120

Southwestern

1.92%

121

Hofstra

1.90%

122

Belmont

1.68%

122

Univ of Mississippi

1.68%

124

Univ of Idaho

1.64%

125

Univ of Utah

1.63%

126

Vermont

1.52%

127

Albany

1.47%

128

Samford

1.46%

129

Chapman

1.45%

129

Univ of Akron

1.45%

131

Mercer

1.41%

132

California Western

1.37%

133

Cleveland-Marshall

1.33%

134

Florida International

1.30%

134

Stetson

1.30%

136

Lewis & Clark

1.28%

137

Univ of Baltimore

1.27%

138

Florida State

1.12%

139

Ohio Northern

1.06%

140

Univ of New Mexico

0.90%

141

Univ of Toledo

0.81%

142

Univ of Arkansas Little Rock

0.80%

143

Drake

0.76%

144

Univ of Dayton

0.71%

145

Campbell

0.65%

146

Florida Coastal

0.62%

146

Oklahoma City

0.62%

148

Valparaiso

0.58%

149

Whittier

0.57%

149

Widener

0.57%

151

Southern University Law Center

0.56%

152

Univ of Oregon

0.54%

153

Univ of the Pacific McGeorge

0.53%

154

Pace

0.47%

155

Texas A&M

0.43%

156

Thomas Jefferson

0.34%

157

New England

0.33%

158

Arizona Summit

0.28%

159

Charlotte

0.24%

160

Western Michigan

0.12%

Second, total numbers of NLJ250 hires out of the 2014 JD graduating class:

 

Law School

# Hired

1

Harvard

326

2

Columbia

310

3

New York University

287

4

Georgetown

239

5

Univ of Pennsylvania

177

6

Univ of Virginia

163

7

Univ of Michigan

153

8

Northwestern

144

9

Univ of Chicago

129

10

George Washington

122

11

Fordham

119

12

Univ of Cal Berkeley

115

13

Univ of Texas

113

14

Duke

105

15

Univ of Cal at Los Angeles

102

16

Cornell

101

17

Stanford

85

18

Yale

80

19

Boston University

71

19

Univ of Southern California

71

21

Boston College

66

22

Vanderbilt

56

23

Washington Univ St. Louis

49

24

Univ of Cal Hastings

47

25

Emory

43

25

Southern Methodist

43

27

Univ of North Carolina

42

28

Loyola Los Angeles

39

28

Univ of Houston Law Center

39

30

Univ of Notre Dame

38

31

Brooklyn

34

31

College of William & Mary

34

31

Univ of Illinois

34

34

Temple

33

35

Yeshiva (Benjamin Cardozo)

31

36

American

30

37

Univ of Florida Levin

29

38

Villanova

28

39

Tulane

27

39

Univ of Minnesota

27

41

Howard

24

42

Loyola Chicago

23

42

Ohio State

23

42

Rutgers Newark

23

45

Univ of Miami

22

46

Indiana Bloomington

21

46

Univ of Iowa

21

46

Univ of Maryland

21

46

Univ of Washington

21

46

Univ of Wisconsin

21

51

Arizona State

19

51

Santa Clara

19

51

Suffolk

19

51

Univ of Colorado

19

51

Washington & Lee

19

56

Univ of Georgia

18

57

Baylor

16

57

Chicago-Kent

16

57

St. John's

16

57

Wake Forest

16

61

Rutgers Camden

15

61

South Texas

15

61

Univ of Cal Davis

15

61

Univ of Denver

15

65

DePaul

14

65

Univ of Cal Irvine

14

65

West Virginia

14

68

George Mason

13

68

State Univ of NY at Buffalo

13

68

Univ of Alabama

13

68

Univ of Cincinnati

13

68

Univ of Pittsburgh

13

73

Brigham Young

12

73

Univ of San Diego

12

73

Univ of South Carolina

12

73

Wayne State

12

77

Drexel

11

77

Indiana Indianapolis

11

77

Marquette

11

77

New York Law

11

77

Saint Louis University

11

77

The John Marshall Law School

11

77

Univ of Connecticut

11

84

Case Western Reserve

10

84

Georgia State

10

84

Univ of Tennessee

10

87

Duquesne

9

87

Louisiana State

9

87

Seton Hall

9

87

William Mitchell

9

91

Loyola New Orleans

8

91

Michigan State

8

91

Syracuse

8

91

Univ of Kentucky

8

91

Univ of Missouri

8

91

Univ of Missouri Kansas City

8

91

Univ of San Francisco

8

98

Catholic

7

98

Northeastern

7

98

Pennsylvania State

7

98

Texas Tech

7

98

Univ of Arizona

7

98

Univ of Arkansas

7

98

Univ of Kansas

7

98

Univ of Louisville

7

98

Univ of St. Thomas

7

107

Hofstra

6

107

Seattle

6

107

Southwestern

6

107

Univ of Nebraska

6

107

William S. Boyd Univ of Nevada

6

112

Creighton

5

112

Pepperdine

5

112

Univ of Detroit Mercy

5

112

Univ of Richmond

5

116

Stetson

4

116

Univ of Baltimore

4

116

Univ of Oklahoma

4

116

Washburn

4

120

Albany

3

120

California Western

3

120

Florida Coastal

3

120

Florida State

3

120

Lewis & Clark

3

120

Northern Kentucky

3

120

Univ of Memphis Cecil Humphreys

3

120

Univ of Mississippi

3

120

Univ of New Hampshire

3

129

Belmont

2

129

Chapman

2

129

Cleveland-Marshall

2

129

Florida International

2

129

Mercer

2

129

Samford

2

129

Univ of Akron

2

129

Univ of Idaho

2

129

Univ of North Dakota

2

129

Univ of Utah

2

129

Vermont

2

129

Widener

2

141

Arizona Summit

1

141

Campbell

1

141

Charlotte

1

141

Drake

1

141

New England

1

141

Ohio Northern

1

141

Oklahoma City

1

141

Pace

1

141

Southern University Law Center

1

141

Texas A&M

1

141

Thomas Jefferson

1

141

Univ of Arkansas Little Rock

1

141

Univ of Dayton

1

141

Univ of New Mexico

1

141

Univ of Oregon

1

141

Univ of the Pacific McGeorge

1

141

Univ of Toledo

1

141

Valparaiso

1

141

Western Michigan

1

141

Whittier

1

As I have argued elsewhere, Where Do Partners Come From?, 62 J. LEGAL EDUC. 242 (2012), total numbers of hires by school are relevant primarily to employers. It is very expensive to send a recruiter to a school that supplies relatively small total numbers to the BigLaw market. We would expect law firms to allocate scarce recruiting resources preferentially to schools that supply larger total numbers.

With respect to applicants, I have argued that the issue is more complex. In NLJ100 hiring, total numbers “do, however, provide a plausible measure of feeder school status. A school that has placed large numbers of partners in the NLJ 100 over the last twenty-five years is likely to continue to attract NLJ 100 recruiters to its campus. Hiring committees in such firms, in turn, are likely to assume that hiring from that school is normal and will likely be productive. All else being equal, students who aspire to join such firms are more likely to have an opportunity to do so if they attend schools with established feeder relationships.” Id. There is no reason to believe that NLJ250 hiring is any different. In any event, although applicants commonly do so, neither percentages nor total numbers should be read as measures of value added by a particular law school.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/02/seto-law-school-rankings-.html

Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink

Comments

The National Law Journal’s new list of the “Top 50 Go-To Schools” (published on February 23, 2015) is notable almost entirely as a classic example of a “dog bites man” story. Rankings such as the NLJ “go-to’s” perpetuate and exacerbate the elitist and exclusivist effects of the thoroughly-debunked U.S. News rankings. The criteria by which such lists are derived are manipulable, self-fulfilling, arbitrary, and reinforcing of cultural/racial divisions.

Is it at all surprising that highly selective “elite” law schools like Columbia, Harvard, NYU, Chicago, Stanford, et al. are disproportionately successful at placing their graduates, expensively burnished with shiny credentials, at the largest/most selective law firms? Elitism reproduces itself. Vast networks of alumni, accumulated and enlarged generation after generation, favor top graduates from their own schools in their hiring decisions. This is completely predictable, and not necessarily a phenomenon to be celebrated.

Posted by: John C. Kunich | Feb 26, 2015 6:10:27 AM

What I find *interesting* is that even though Suffolk's admissions standards have fallen off a cliff (median LSAT is down 10 points since 2010 and is now lower than New England Law Boston or UMASS Law), they are placing both more people and a higher percentage of the class into BigLaw than Dear Northeastern, whose admissions standards have only kinda collapsed (they have elected to nearly halve their class size instead). Back in earlier times, Northeastern supposedly put nearly 20% of grads into Biglaw (I don't know how much faith we should take in that factoid, but it is what they said), which would be 35 or 40 people. Last year, they placed 7. Well done.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 26, 2015 6:59:57 AM

@Kunich,

If a certain study is to be believed, elitism has no bearing on the legal profession at all because there is no meaningful earnings variation between the most elite law schools and those who are currently accepting <140 LSAT scores. I'm told it has some manner of peer review now, so it must be true.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 26, 2015 7:49:03 AM

@ UN, Suffolk gets a fair number of STEM Ph.d's that are looking to get into IP work. They typically do nights while working an engineering/research job. Doesn't matter where you went to law school when you have a Ph.d from MIT. Northeastern gets decent students but it is just neither here nor there.

@ Kunich, This list is far superior to US News because it ranks by the single criteria that students care about, top job outcomes. Your other statements are off base too. T10 law schools draw from hundreds of different UG’s all across the country. All they care is that you have the numbers. Plus, they give preference to URMs. You are correct that law firms draw from elite schools, but what can you do about it, that is where the talent is. Are you really waiting for Gibson Dunn to set up OCI at an Infilaw school? Get out of here.

Posted by: JM | Feb 26, 2015 10:51:36 AM

@JM,

True, Suffolk does cater to the postdoc crowd that bristles at making $40-45k/year at a research institute. That being said, a lot of them end up at IP boutiques in Waltham or Burlington as opposed to Fish & Richardson or Mintz Levin or the handful of other Boston Biglaw firms that have even a partial focus on STEM. I imagine others go inhouse. Much of Boston Biglaw still lives on consultancies, mutual funds, and VC and PE firms, mind you, and Suffolk's overall FT/LT/license-required employment (sans solo shops) is a dismal 35%, so those PhD-cum-law students are necessarily a very small proportion of the student body.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 26, 2015 12:55:15 PM

To build on my previous comments, I think the National Law Journal ranking of the “Top 50 Go-To Schools” is both unsurprising and anti-progressive, doing more harm than good within the current legal education/profession environment. The NLJ’s touting of the obvious (if not inevitable) correlation of graduation from traditionally “elite” law schools and subsequent employment at traditionally prestigious mega-firms serves only to fuel yet another round of self-perpetuating privilege and divisiveness.

Much as I despise the shopworn cliché “thinking outside the box,” it’s time to do just that. As an old scientist who long ago pivoted into the study of law, I still recall a bit about the scientific method and how to evaluate empirical evidence to test hypotheses. I recognize that there are inherent biases, assumptions, inaccuracies, over-simplifications, and questionable judgments built into any system that purports to rank law schools according to relative merit. But we should be able to do better than the U.S. News and the NLJ hierarchy-replicating games.

Given the well-known racial, ethnic, and cultural bias of the SAT and the LSAT, as well as the gamesmanship “top” law schools use to artificially enhance their admissions credentials (see the recent “predatory poaching” controversy), we need to recognize that there are many law schools that achieve admirable results under circumstances much more daunting than those facing the old-guard titans. With many diverse students eager for an opportunity to become the first attorney in their family, or even in their community, a system that overly rewards traditional metrics of merit stands as a stumbling-block, not a stepping-stone.

I can anticipate the horrified reaction from my fellow alumni at Harvard and other legal leviathans, but law schools that serve working-class applicants, racially diverse communities, non-traditional students, and people who have never dined from a silver spoon deserve affirmation and positive recognition. Law schools such as Elon, Charlotte, Roger Williams, Florida Coastal, Lewis & Clark, Appalachian, and Vermont are expanding the options for legal education, each in their own way. Their efforts require additional investment in academic support, bar preparation, remedial work, specialized focus on one niche, and/or emphasis on certain socio-economic backgrounds. The standard U.S. News rankings disfavor such departure from the established order, but many graduates of these law schools are successful today precisely because someone was willing to look beyond the obvious LSAT/UGPA/legacy criteria.

The NLJ list would be more impressive and more useful if it incorporated some variant of the “degree of difficulty” factor used in many Olympic events. After all, it takes a lot more for a law school to produce successful graduates when it is not overwhelmingly favored in advance by generations upon generations of brilliantly-credentialed, elite alumni. Law schools that provide an opportunity for people who would never be considered by the “Top Go-To’s” warrant some affirmation for accepting applicants who are not hereditary “legacies” and who had to work multiple jobs while in high school and college. People are more than the sum of a few numbers. I’d like to see some positive attention for the law schools that accept a higher degree of difficulty and devote themselves to achieving excellence for their students despite the obstacles. It is more impressive to confront and overcome disadvantages than to evade and avoid them.

Posted by: John C. Kunich | Feb 26, 2015 1:12:43 PM

@Kunich,

An interesting set of observations. A few thoughts/questions:

- Hereditary legacies in law schools? Do you have any manner of support here? I have read Karabel, Golden, Deresiewicz, etc - all the standard investigative tomes about legacies and other wealth-rewarding mechanisms in undergrad admissions - and I have never heard one word about legacy admissions in elite law schools.

- Do you think your fellow law faculty are more or less pedigreed & diverse than the normative AmLaw 250 firm? How is this not a case of the kettle calling the pot black? While we are at it, one must note that the so-called Cravath System of Hiring is 125 years old or more. How exactly would you propose breaking that mindset that has been imbedded in so many generations of attorneys?

- I'm from New England; I have family in Rhode Island. Even in the time before time (i.e. pre-recession), getting any sort of career out of Roger Williams Law, to use one of your examples, was a fool's gamble. How can you possibly hold such a school out as anything other than a $60k/year debt trap? Your statement is nearly tantamount to encouraging "working-class applicants" to attend for-profit colleges. If PSLF, PAYE, and unlimited GradPLUS loans (and maybe even IBR) go bye-bye, as several in our new Congress desire, led on by neoliberal think tanks funded by student lender-funded endowments, would you still recommend that lower-income people borrow $150k to $200k or more, possibly in private loans, to attend an Elon, Vermont, Roger Williams, etc?

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Feb 27, 2015 6:29:22 AM