Archive for February 2014

The Top 20 Undergraduate Universities in New York for Getting Into Law School

Find Out Which Law Schools Place Graduates in Illinois Jobs

If you are trying to decide between undergraduate programs in New York and you know that law school is in your future, then this ranking might be helpful for you.  There are, of course, other more important considerations like the university’s overall reputation and prestige, but certain undergraduate programs, called feeder schools, have a knack for placing a high number of graduates in law school. These schools often have outstanding pre-law advisement services and if a higher percentage of your peers are aspiring law students, then you will have more opportunities to make friends with similarly-situated students.  This can be a great resource for you as you navigate the murky waters of the law school application process.

Here are the rankings of top 20 undergraduate universities in New York for placing students in law school.[1]

 

School Name 5 yr Ave Total Enrollment % Going on To Law School

1

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

234

6068

14.09%

2

VASSAR COLLEGE

95

2406

13.65%

3

BARNARD COLLEGE-COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

94

2504

13.12%

4

COLGATE UNIVERSITY

104

2871

12.70%

5

CORNELL UNIVERSITY-NY

493

14261

9.91%

6

JOHN JAY COLLEGE – CUNY

226

13116

8.30%

7

HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY

143

6893

7.77%

8

SUNY AT BINGHAMTON CENTER

254

12356

7.14%

9

SUNY AT ALBANY

233

12875

6.26%

10

SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY

233

14798

6.08%

11

ST. JOHN’S UNIVERSITY-QUEENS

246

15840

6.05%

12

UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER

102

5785

5.99%

13

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

395

22498

5.56%

14

FORDHAM UNIV.

125

8325

4.92%

15

SUNY AT STONY BROOK CENTER

200

16003

4.70%

16

SUNY AT BUFFALO CENTER

226

19505

4.04%

17

QUEENS COLLEGE – CUNY

137

16187

3.36%

18

BARUCH COLLEGE – CUNY

101

13777

2.74%

19

BROOKLYN COLLEGE – CUNY

93

13099

2.65%

20

HUNTER COLLEGE – CUNY

111

16708

2.15%

 

The smaller liberal arts institutions are placing a significant percentage of graduates in law schools as Vassar, Barnard, & Colgate rank just below Columbia. New York University places a relatively low percentage of graduates in law school across the university at large, but NYU placed the second most students overall in law school averaging 395 graduates per year.

 

Check Out the Top 20 Universities in the Nation for Placing Law Students

 

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Ranking based on data taken from the TOP 240 ABA APPLICANT FEEDER SCHOOLS FOR FALL APPLICANTS and covers only universities which that placed 65 or more students in law school last year.

Ranking of Top Law Schools for Finding Jobs in Utah

If you are considering going to law school and you want to be employed as an attorney in the state of Utah so you can continue being a ski bum well into your legal career, then this article and ranking may provide some helpful insight for you.  The Utah job market, like the rest of the country, has been fairly tight for some time and so selecting a school with a strong presence of alumni in Utah can make a big difference for your job prospects once you get out of law school.  When reading this list, you should note that there are a number of important limitations, which are more particularly described in the footnote below.[1]  You should also be careful not to place too much weight on this factor as other factors including the overall prestige of the law school may have more to do with your ability to achieve employment as a lawyer in Utah than this particular ranking, but this still may be helpful if you are deciding between similarly ranked schools. So here’s the data on law school with grads finding jobs in Utah:

 

Law School Total Graduates Number of Graduates Employed in Utah % of School Employed in Utah
UTAH, UNIVERSITY OF

118

96

81.4%

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY

133

71

53.4%

GONZAGA UNIVERSITY

133

13

9.8%

ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

203

7

3.4%

IDAHO, UNIVERSITY OF

96

6

6.3%

ARIZONA SUMMIT – PHOENIX SCHOOL OF LAW

163

4

2.5%

AVE MARIA

109

4

3.7%

UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA – LAS VEGAS

133

4

3.0%

WESTERN STATE SCHOOL OF LAW

48

1

2.1%

 

There are really no great surprises with the order of this ranking as both Utah and BYU occupy the top slots followed mostly by law schools in the surrounding states of Arizona, Washington, Idaho, and Nevada. The significant majority of attorneys hired in the state of Utah attended law school in the state of Utah, which is fairly common for most regions.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. This ranking is based on the information reported by the schools to the ABA and it only covers the top 3 states of employment for each school, so if Utah was the fourth largest employment state for a particular law school then that would not be included on this list.  For example, both Creighton and the University of Virginia place a good number of attorneys in the state of Utah, but since Utah is not one of the top 3 states of employment for law grad from either of these law schools they do not appear on this list. Importantly, this list also does not distinguish between legal jobs and other types of employment, nor does it distinguish between part time and full time or short term and long term employment. Such information is available through LSAC for each law school generally but is not broken down on a state by state basis.

The Top Ranked California Undergraduate Universities for Getting Into Law School

Aspiring Law Students Who Want to Work in Arizona Should Go to Law School in Arizona

If you are applying to college in California and you are planning on law school following your undergraduate program, you should consider your University’s ability to place its graduates in law school as part of weighing your options. Going to a more prestigious university will certainly improve your likelihood of admission to law school and these rankings should be viewed in context of the bigger picture, but among schools with similar academic prestige there may be significant differences in terms of their ability to place graduates in law programs. Also, some undergraduate programs provide great support for aspiring law students and attending school with like-minded undergraduates may give you opportunities to build friendships with other future attorneys. Since larger schools get an advantage because they have more enrolled students to draw from, ranked the schools by dividing the total average number of law student placements by the annual graduates from each of the universities.[1]

RANK School Name 5 yr average Total Enrollment % Going on To Law School

1

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-LOS ANGELES

1014

27941

13.42%

8

STANFORD UNIVERSITY

231

7063

11.40%

2

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY

842

25774

11.33%

19

PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY-MALIBU

87

3488

10.58%

16

UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO

130

5457

9.57%

6

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-SANTA BARBARA

435

18977

9.22%

3

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-IRVINE

485

22216

8.73%

4

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

461

18316

8.72%

15

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY

136

6085

8.36%

17

SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY

127

5250

8.14%

5

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-SAN DIEGO

442

22676

7.12%

7

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-DAVIS

381

25759

5.92%

9

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-RIVERSIDE

229

18539

5.53%

21

CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY

78

5677

5.47%

18

UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO

90

6344

4.97%

11

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-SANTA CRUZ

210

15978

4.82%

10

SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY

222

26624

2.97%

12

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY-NORTHRIDGE

209

31119

2.94%

13

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY-LONG BEACH

150

30931

1.89%

14

SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY

148

26449

1.87%

22

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY-LOS ANGELES

74

18074

1.74%

23

CALIFORNIA STATE POLYTECHNIC-POMONA

67

20542

1.58%

20

SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY

85

25157

1.32%

There are no huge surprises at the top with UCLA, Stanford and UC Berkeley placing the greatest number of students as a percentage in law school over the last five years. Although the number of students placed from these top universities has trended downward over the last five years.

The following is a list of the top Universities in California for placing students in law school using just the number of students placed over a five year average:

RANK School Name 5 yr average Total Enrollment % Going on To Law School

1

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-LOS ANGELES

1014

27941

13.42%

2

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY

842

25774

11.33%

3

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-IRVINE

485

22216

8.73%

4

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

461

18316

8.72%

5

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-SAN DIEGO

442

22676

7.12%

6

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-SANTA BARBARA

435

18977

9.22%

7

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-DAVIS

381

25759

5.92%

8

STANFORD UNIVERSITY

231

7063

11.40%

9

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-RIVERSIDE

229

18539

5.53%

10

SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY

222

26624

2.97%

11

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-SANTA CRUZ

210

15978

4.82%

12

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY-NORTHRIDGE

209

31119

2.94%

13

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY-LONG BEACH

150

30931

1.89%

14

SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY

148

26449

1.87%

15

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY

136

6085

8.36%

16

UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO

130

5457

9.57%

17

SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY

127

5250

8.14%

18

UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO

90

6344

4.97%

19

PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY-MALIBU

87

3488

10.58%

20

SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY

85

25157

1.32%

21

CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY

78

5677

5.47%

22

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY-LOS ANGELES

74

18074

1.74%

23

CALIFORNIA STATE POLYTECHNIC-POMONA

67

20542

1.58%

Using this methodology, schools with smaller enrollments like Stanford, Pepperdine, and Santa Clara rank lower on the list.

Check out the Top 20 Ranked Schools in the Nation for Placing Law Students

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. This ranking is based on data taken from the TOP 240 ABA APPLICANT FEEDER SCHOOLS FOR FALL APPLICANTS and is limited to schools that placed more than 65 students in law school.  This estimate assumes that 22% of students enrolled graduate each year (actual graduation rates may vary).

Ranking of Top Law Schools for Placing Law Grads in New York Jobs

The U.S. Supreme Court - Photo by John S. Treu

If you are looking to go to law school in hopes of landing employment in New York then this comprehensive ranking was designed for you. The ranking aggregates all of the employment data provided to the ABA from law schools for 2012 graduates to generate a ranking based on the number of students employed in the Empire State.  I also included the percentage that this number of employed students represents compared to the total graduates. Just like all rankings, this one has significant limitations in terms of using it as an exclusive guide for selecting a law school and so this should merely be one factor to think about in the application and admission process.[1]  So now that I’ve got that out of the way, here’s the ranking of law schools placing graduates in employment positions in New York:[2]

 

Law School NY Placements % of Grads Placed in NY
FORDHAM UNIVERSITY

367

84.76%

NEW YORK LAW SCHOOL

362

75.26%

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

316

69.00%

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

296

63.38%

BROOKLYN LAW SCHOOL

283

84.48%

CARDOZO – YESHIVA UNIVERSITY

236

77.38%

HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY

224

79.43%

ST. JOHN’S UNIVERSITY

201

91.36%

HARVARD UNIVERSITY

156

27.46%

TOURO COLLEGE

154

89.02%

ALBANY LAW SCHOOL OF UNION UNIVERSITY

154

80.63%

PACE UNIVERSITY

140

73.68%

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY

112

19.38%

CORNELL UNIVERSITY

105

59.32%

PENNSYLVANIA, UNIVERSITY OF

105

39.62%

CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK

90

76.27%

SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY

73

50.69%

MICHIGAN, UNIVERSITY OF

70

19.55%

YALE UNIVERSITY

64

30.19%

GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

53

9.71%

VIRGINIA, UNIVERSITY OF

51

14.29%

DUKE UNIVERSITY

48

22.12%

SETON HALL UNIVERSITY

45

16.73%

UNIVERSITY OF BUFFALO – STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK

44

25.43%

NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY

44

16.42%

CHICAGO, UNIVERSITY OF

36

16.90%

RUTGERS UNIVERSITY-NEWARK

35

17.33%

BOSTON UNIVERSITY

33

13.47%

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

26

14.29%

EMORY UNIVERSITY

24

9.38%

CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY, UNIVERSITY OF

24

8.14%

BOSTON COLLEGE

22

10.05%

MIAMI, UNIVERSITY OF

20

5.04%

STANFORD UNIVERSITY

18

10.29%

TULANE UNIVERSITY

18

7.69%

TEXAS AT AUSTIN, UNIVERSITY OF

18

5.25%

HOWARD UNIVERSITY

17

13.60%

WILLIAM AND MARY SCHOOL OF LAW

17

8.81%

CALIFORNIA-LOS ANGELES, UNIVERSITY OF

17

5.63%

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY

16

8.60%

WESTERN NEW ENGLAND UNIVERSITY

13

10.57%

PENNSYLVANIA STATE SCHOOL OF LAW

13

8.50%

NEW ENGLAND SCHOOL OF LAW

13

5.08%

QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY

12

9.45%

CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY

12

8.57%

VERMONT LAW SCHOOL

12

7.59%

SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY

12

3.16%

CONNECTICUT, UNIVERSITY OF

11

6.51%

NORTH CAROLINA, UNIVERSITY OF

11

5.34%

RUTGERS UNIVERSITY-CAMDEN

10

4.57%

WIDENER UNIVERSITY-HARRISBURG

9

9.89%

NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

9

5.23%

OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

9

4.43%

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, UNIVERSITY OF

8

4.23%

MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

8

3.40%

WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY

7

8.05%

NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

6

2.11%

CALIFORNIA-HASTINGS, UNIVERSITY OF

6

1.82%

ST. THOMAS UNIVERSITY (FLORIDA)

5

3.60%

TEXAS SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY

5

3.60%

DREXEL UNIVERSITY

4

3.33%

ARIZONA, UNIVERSITY OF

4

3.23%

SAN DIEGO, UNIVERSITY OF

4

1.50%

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DARTMOUTH

3

8.57%

CALIFORNIA-IRVINE, UNIVERSITY OF

3

5.88%

ATLANTA’S JOHN MARSHALL LAW SCHOOL (Savannah)

3

1.92%

GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY

3

1.72%

STETSON UNIVERSITY

3

1.05%

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY-LOS ANGELES

3

1.00%

GOLDEN GATE UNIVERSITY

2

1.59%

UNIVERSITY OF LA VERNE

1

1.56%

TOTAL

4358

One last important thing to note when reviewing this ranking: even though several top 5 schools may show up in the middle of this ranking it does not mean that these schools are not as capable of placing students in the New York area, although the alumni network in New York will not be as significant as schools higher on this list.  Considering the market for attorney jobs, it’s certainly worth noting the sheer number of hires in the state of New York, which accounts for a significant number of the law graduate positions in the country.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1.  Importantly, this does not distinguish between the types of jobs the students are hired for in New York and so these placements include non-legal positions.  Also, law students ranked high in their class may be able to crack into New York law firms even if their school is not on this list. If you are looking to work in a large law firm in New York, you will be better served to go to just about any top 10 law school rather than basing your decision off of this particular ranking, but if you are trying to decide between similarly-situated law schools then this can be a helpful guide.
  2. This ranking takes the data provided by the law schools to the ABA and is limited to on the top 3 jurisdictions for employment per school and so a school that placed more students in each of three other jurisdictions than New York would not be included on this list, even if the school placed more students in New York than the law schools here listed.  

The Best Colleges in Texas for Getting Into Law School

The Top Law Schools for Placing Students in Jobs in the State of North Carolina

If you are looking to attend a university in Texas and law school is in your future, then you might consider how the various Texas undergraduate schools stack up at placing their students in law school.  While the overall prestige of the university will play a much larger role in your law school admissions process than these rankings, if you are trying to decide between similarly situated schools then this can help you weigh your options.  Schools that place a higher percentage of law students may have better resources to support you as you navigate the law school application process and if more of your fellow students share an interest in attending law school then you can build relationships that may last into your professional career.   Also, it’s great to have a few friends who are going through the law school application process together as you can remind one another of important deadlines and discuss strategies for personal statements and LSAT preparation.  So the best undergraduate universities in Texas for placing graduates in law school are as follows:[1]

 

Law School Name 5 yr Ave Total Enrollment % Going on To Law School
SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY

183

6249

10.37%

THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

912

39955

8.19%

RICE UNIVERSITY

108

3848

7.84%

BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

230

12918

6.83%

TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY

109

8456

6.12%

TEXAS A & M UNIVERSITY – COLLEGE STATION

422

50230

3.71%

TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY

231

26481

3.64%

THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT DALLAS

105

12029

3.48%

UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON

251

32639

3.46%

SAM HOUSTON STATE UNIVERSITY

94

15611

2.94%

THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO

154

25979

2.86%

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS

172

28911

2.58%

TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY – SAN MARCOS

140

29458

2.08%

THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT ARLINGTON

123

25761

2.04%

 

While Texas and TAMU are the big dogs when it comes to total placements at 912 and 422, respectively, SMU and Rice are in the top 3 along with UT in terms of the highest percentage of students placed in law school. Baylor and TCU also have very respectable numbers and then everybody else is bunched between two and four percent.  Even though these numbers can be helpful in providing some insight, it should be noted that these rankings do not take into account the quality of the law schools where students are admitted, which is why it’s important to first evaluate the prestige of the school and look beyond these numbers by considering all the factors when making a decision where to attend school.

Let us know what you think! Leave a Comment.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Data is based on enrollments provided by universities and published in US News as well as the five year average of law school feeder schools provided by the ABA and published by LSAC.

The Top 20 Undergraduate Universities for Getting Into Law School

Find Out Which Law Schools Place Graduates in Illinois Jobs

If you are applying to college and you think that law school is something that may be in your future, you might consider selecting your University based on its ability to place its graduates in law school. While going to a more prestigious university will typically improve your likelihood of admission to law school, some undergraduate programs have better support for placing law students than others.  Also, attending your undergraduate program where a significant number of students are looking to move on to law school means you may find opportunities to network with fellow aspiring law students, which can be a great source of information during the law school application process. The following is a list of the top twenty Universities for placing the most students in law school using a five year average:[1]

Top 20 Ranked Feeders

Trouble Viewing? Click Image to See Enlarged View

I re-ranked the 20 schools above by dividing the total average number of law student placements by the estimated annual graduates from each of the universities[2] to calculate the following rankings of the percentage of likely graduates attending law school:

 

Rank School Name 5 Yr. Ave. Total Enrollment % Enrolled at Law School

1

UCLA          1,014          27,941

13.42%

2

UC BERKELEY             842          25,774

11.33%

3

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA          1,047          32,776

11.27%

4

UNC – CHAPEL HILL             562          18,503

11.16%

5

CORNELL UNIVERSITY-NY             493          14,261

9.91%

6

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY             728          32,171

9.43%

7

UC IRVINE             485          22,216

8.73%

8

TEXAS AT AUSTIN             912          39,955

8.19%

9

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND             575          26,487

7.95%

10

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON             531          28,933

7.56%

11

UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA             535          26,259

7.28%

12

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY             572          31,060

6.68%

13

FIU             480          37,468

6.16%

14

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN             566          30,863

6.11%

15

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA             581          32,281

5.90%

16

CENTRAL FLORIDA             588          50,968

5.84%

17

MICHIGAN             734          40,166

5.79%

18

PENN STATE             590          39,192

5.64%

19

OHIO STATE             536          43,058

4.77%

20

ARIZONA STATE             581          59,382

4.12%

 

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Ranking is based on data taken from the TOP 240 ABA APPLICANT FEEDER SCHOOLS FOR FALL APPLICANTS http://www.lsac.org/docs/default-source/data-(lsac-resources)-docs/top-240-feeder-schools.pdf
  2. The estimated annual graduates was determined by assuming each school graduates approximately 22% of its total enrollment every year. The actual graduation rates may vary, but since all law school enrollees must be college graduates this distinction is irrelevant to the rankings above.

The ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education – Part 4: Broader Delivery of Legal and Related Services

ABA Logo

The ABA task force took an expansive view of legal needs across all of society in making the recommendation that there should be a broader delivery of legal services that goes beyond the services provided by just J.D.-trained individuals.[1]  The view is that certain areas of the law are sufficiently rudimentary that law school graduates cannot provide the services in a cost-effective way and that many of these same services could easily be provided by individuals without J.D. degrees and the public would be better served.  This would require changes to the rules and regulations that currently impose stiff penalties for the unauthorized practice of law in most jurisdictions.

The concept is not without precedent as there is significant cross-over in practice areas among tax practitioners that are CPAs, Enrolled Agents and attorneys.  Attorneys often fulfill partner roles in accounting firms in the area of taxation and, while CPAs are not able to practice as attorneys before courts, CPAs often engage in legal research of tax topics and represent clients before the IRS during audits and administrative appeals. A J.D. is not required to represent a client before the IRS in out of court proceedings and, in fact, a non-J.D. can even represent clients before the Tax Court so long as they pass a test on the procedure of the court.[2]  Similarly, realtors in many jurisdictions advise their clients as to the terms of real estate contracts in a manner that is indistinguishable from a contract lawyer counseling a legal client on the same issues.

There are also models for this from other legal cultures. In Japan, for instance, there are a lot fewer lawyers as lay persons are able to practice transactional law as barristers only have exclusive rights to litigation.[3]  A similar model could be expanded in the U.S. for transactional law by teaching contract law in business schools or as a supplement to paralegal training and loosening the restrictions on the unauthorized practice of law in these subject areas. That said, it is unclear how doing so would improve legal education in the United States as such an expansion would erode what is already a historically poor market for legal services and new lawyers.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. This is the last of a four-part series of articles on this blog considering the ABA Task force’s recommendations for the future of legal education. See Part 1: The Funding Mechanism for Law School, Part 2: Accreditation & Innovation, and Part 3: Skills and Competencies.
  2. See Tax Court Rules, Title XX, Practice Before the Court, Rule 200(a)(3).  
  3. See The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Japanese Culture, p.280, edited by Sandra Buckley (Routledge, 2002).

The ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education – Part 3: Skills and Competencies

The ABA task force appointed to make recommendations on the future of legal education made several recommendations regarding the quality of legal education as to providing skills and competencies for law students. Today’s topic discusses the task force’s analysis of the job law schools are doing in providing legal skills and competencies to law students.[1] The task force’s recently-released report and recommendations[2] identified significant gaps in the knowledge base of law graduates.

ABA LogoThis is an interesting topic as it is probably the most glaring and obvious weakness in law school education today.  It comes as a surprise to most people that a legal education does not actually prepare law students with the necessary skills to practice law.  Rather, legal education tends to be largely dedicated to policy, a theoretical understanding of the underlying legal principals, and a study of the history of the law.  Apart from first year writing courses, which tend to be heavily focused on appellate practice, law schools do not typically require any skills courses for law students to graduate.

There have been some encouraging recent trends in regards to increasing skills-based courses and utilizing the problem method rather than the Socratic method of instruction, but these policy changes can only go so far to change such a deep seeded issue with legal education.  The plain reality is that law schools are not staffed with professors that have significant practical experience as attorneys to teach skills-based curriculum.  In fact, it has been asserted by many that there is a considerable bias in law school hiring against experienced practitioners.[3]

Therefore, the recommendation for law schools to teach more skills-based courses is not a challenge that the current professorship model is even capable of meeting and, absent a change in the hiring process for most law schools, this is a problem that is unlikely to be resolved even over time.  Law school hiring for tenure track positions is typically a democratic process with significant input by the current professorship[4] and so even efforts by law deans to steer the hiring decisions will make little difference and law schools will continue to hire new professors that look an awful lot like younger versions of their current professors.  If law schools are going to take this recommendation to heart then they will either have to drastically change their hiring practices, which is unlikely, or they will have to utilize adjunct faculty to fill out more of their curricular needs.  Given the significant financial pressure on law school budgets and the incredible bargain law schools receive by hiring adjunct faculty, I would anticipate law schools going with the latter option and filling course needs with tenured and existing faculty.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. This article is the third of a four-part series considering the ABA Task force’s recommendations for the future of legal education. See Part 1: The Funding Mechanism for Law School and Part 2: Accreditation & Innovation.  
  2. See Generally Report and Recommendations, Task Force On the Future of Legal Education (American Bar Association, January, 2014) 
  3. See At law schools, age bias co-exists with outdated practices, by Nicholas J. Spaeth, Esq.  
  4. Id.

Top 16 Law Schools for Producing Government Attorneys

The George’s are the big winners in the government placement contest, combining to place over 200 attorneys from the class of 2012 in government positions.

The following are the top 16 law schools for placing students in government positions upon graduation based on the employment data from the class of 2012. I have also included the state where the school is located and the percentage of the law school class working in government positions.[1]

Placement in Government Positions by Law School (2012 Grads)

LAW SCHOOL NAME State Where Law School is Located Grads in Government Positions % of Class in Government Positions
#1 GEORGE WASHINGTON DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 118 21%
#2 GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 93 15%
#3 THOMAS M. COOLEY LAW MICHIGAN 86 8%
#4 FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY FLORIDA 65 23%
#5 AMERICAN UNIVERSITY DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 64 14%
#6 UNIVERSITY OF DENVER COLORADO 62 20%
#7 JOHN MARSHALL LAW SCHOOL ILLINOIS 62 15%
#8 UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI FLORIDA 60 13%
#9 STETSON UNIVERSITY FLORIDA 59 17%
#10 FLORIDA COASTAL FLORIDA 58 11%
#11 MCGEORGE SCHOOL OF LAW (PACIFIC) CALIFORNIA 58 19%
#12 FORDHAM UNIVERSITY NEW YORK 53 11%
#13 SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY MASSACHUSETTS 53 10%
#14 CALIFORNIA-HASTINGS, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 52 12%
#15 INDIANA UNIVERSITY – INDIANAPOLIS INDIANA 51 17%
#16 WILLIAM AND MARY LAW VIRGINIA 48 24%

Clearly schools in the District of Columbia have a significant advantage for these positions and, not surprisingly, D.C. law schools occupy three of the top five spots on the list, including the top two. If your goal is to become a government attorney, then Georgetown and George Washington are great law schools to attend.

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  1. Based on data reported by the law schools to the ABA.