Top Ten Ranking Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings
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 ¶  Supreme Court Clerkship Placement, 2000 Through 2008 Terms
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Writing Essays

Posted January 12, 2009

This study covers the 2000 through 2008 terms (the 2000-2007 results are here), and reports the total number of clerks hired from each law school by an active justice of the Court.

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. The class size (rounded to the nearest 25) is taken from the most recent ABA guide data on matriculating students. This is misleading in one important respect, since class size may have been different over the period of time during which the clerks were selected. The total number of clerks divided by recent class size is not a measure of the likelihood of getting a Supreme Court clerkship, but rather some indication of the relative success of schools in placing graduates as Supreme Court clerks taking into account their size.

The changes in rank from the 1991-2005 inclusive ranking of placement in Supreme Court clerkships (here) give some indication of which schools are becoming more successful, and which less successful, at placing their graduates in these highly competitive (though also increasingly politicized) positions.

Rank

School

Total number of clerks

Recent Class Size (rounded to nearest 25)

Total Number of Clerks Divided by Recent Class Size (rounded to two places) (the higher the number, the better the success rate)

Rank Based on Total 1991-2005 Clerkships

1

Harvard University

83

550

.15

1

2

Yale University

65

200

.33

2

3

University of Chicago

31

200

.16

3

4

Stanford University

23

175

.13

4

5

Columbia University

18

375

.05

5

6

New York University

15

450

.03

8

7

University of Virginia

13

375

.04

7

8

University of California , Berkeley

11

275

.04

9

9

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

9

375

.02

6

10

Northwestern University

6

250

.02

11

11

Georgetown University

5

575

.01

12

12

George Washington University

4

525

.01

15

 

University of Texas, Austin

4

450

.01

10

13

Brigham Young University

3

150

.02

18

 

University of Georgia

3

200

.02

23

 

University of Kansas

3

150

.02

18

 

University of Notre Dame

3

175

.02

14

 

University of Pennsylvania

3

250

.01

15

18

Duke University

2

200

.01

12

 

University of Illinois , Urbana-Champaign

2

200

.01

21

The following schools each graduated one student who secured a U.S. Supreme Court clerkship between 2000 and 2008: Boston College; Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University; Cornell University; Creighton University; George Mason University; Ohio State University; Pepperdine University; Rutgers University, Camden; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Missouri, Columbia; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of Wisconsin, Madison; Vanderbilt University.

[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. All the BYU graduates were hired by Justice Alito..

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