Top Ten Ranking Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings
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 ¶  Supreme Court Clerkship Placement, 1991 Through 2005 Terms
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Writing Essays

Posted January 16, 2006

Because of the small number of clerks chosen in a given year; because clerks are only chosen from the very top of any law school's class; because current clerks participate in the process of selecting new clerks; and because the Justices themselves have particular school loyalties,[1] gross numbers are probably more informative, and so the ranking below is based on the total number of clerks placed on the Supreme Court.  For informational purposes, the approximate size, rounded to the nearest 50, of recent graduating classes is listed in the final column.

This includes all clerks on the Supreme Court from the 1991 term through the current 2005 term.  The late Chief Justice Rehnquist's clerks were accepted by the new Chief Justice John Roberts, and so are counted; the clerks C.J. Roberts brought with him from the D.C. Circuit were not counted, since they were selected in a less competitive process.

Rank School Total number
of clerks
Typical Class Size
1 Harvard University 128 550
2 Yale University 100 200
3 University of Chicago 65 200
4 Stanford University 42 150
5 Columbia University 32 400
6 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 21 350
7 University of Virginia 19 350
8 New York University 16 400
9 University of California, Berkeley 12 250
10 University of Texas, Austin 11 450
11 Northwestern University     9 200
12 Duke University     7 200
12 Georgetown University     7 600
14 University of Notre Dame     6 150
15 George Washington University     5 400
15 University of Pennsylvania     5 250
17 University of California, Los Angeles     4 250
18 Brigham Young University     3 150
18 University of Kansas     3 150
18 Vanderbilt University     3 200
21 University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign     2 250
21 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill     2 250

The following schools each graduated one student who secured a U.S. Supreme Court clerkship between 1991 and 2005:  Boston College; Cornell University; Ohio State University; Oxford University; Pepperdine University; Rutgers University, Newark; State University of New York, Buffalo; University of Arizona; University of Georgia; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; University of Missouri, Columbia; and University of Southern California.


[1] Justice Stevens, for example, taught at Northwestern, and often hires Northwestern clerks; the same is true for Justice Breyer and Harvard; Justice Ginsburg and Columbia; and Justice Scalia and Chicago.  Justice Scalia is also partial to Notre Dame.

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