The National Law Journal has published a first look at where law students graduating in the Class of 2011 began work, focusing on those who went directly to an NLJ 250 firm.

Keep in mind that this consciously omits two other potentially desirable job categories, namely judicial clerkships with “real” Article III judges, and voluntarily sought-after government and public interest  jobs.  (The cohort going directly to work for corporate America is still too small to track, so far as I’m aware.)

I massaged the data to produce the following chart:

Since that’s a bit tough to read, here’s the full dataset:

University of Pennsylvania 56.93%
Northwestern 52.10%
Columbia 51.65%
Harvard 48.99%
Stanford 48.07%
Berkeley 45.90%
University of Chicago 45.32%
Duke 40.64%
NYU 40.13%
U.Va. 39.79%
Cornell 38.30%
USC/Gould 32.85%
University of Michigan 31.48%
Georgtown 31.08%
Yale 29.76%
UCLA 22.67%
Vanderbilt 22.05%
Boston College 21.75%
University of Texas 21.47%
Fordham 19.58%
Boston University 17.84%
Geroge Washington 17.76%
Notre Dame 13.68%
Washington University (St. Louis) 13.33%
Washington & Lee 12.70%
Emory 12.44%
Yeshiva/Cardozo 11.84%
University of Washington 11.54%
University of  Minnesota 11.11%
University of Illinois 11.11%
Southern Methodist 10.29%
University of  Houston 9.61%
West Virginia 9.52%
Wake Forest 9.49%
UC/Davis 8.72%
University of North Carolina 8.50%
UC/Hastings 8.50%
University of Missouri 8.50%
Seton Hall 8.19%
Rutgers/Newark 7.66%


Couple of observations:

  • Only 3 schools, out of 190+ ABA-accredited schools in the country, placed more than half their 2011 grads in NLJ 250 firms
  • Only 11 placed more than one-third in NLJ 250 firms
  • Only 15 placed more than one-quarter
  • Only 19 placed more than one-fifth
  • You had to graduate from one of the top 31 schools (ranked by this metric) out of the 190+ to have better than one chance in 10 of an NLJ 250 job.

Eyeballing the chart, the striking characteristic of the distribution to me is that it drops off so abruptly after the first 10-12 schools.

As Jim Leipold of NALP analyzed it:

The 20 law schools most popular with hiring firms in 2007 sent a combined 55 percent of their graduates to NLJ 250 firms — the nation’s largest by attorney headcount. For the class of 2011, that percentage was 36.

Expecting this to change drastically any time soon?   Please let me know what your drug of choice is, as it’s evidently highly efficacious.

We will not here address the human tragedies, numbered in the thousands or tens of thousands of souls, comprising these numbers.  Suffice to say they’re enough to chill the blood.

And law schools wonder why they’re behind the 8-ball in the media?   Talk about being on efficacious meds…

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