Top Ten Ranking Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings
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 ¶  Placement in Law Teaching, 2006
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Writing Essays

May 25, 2006 (minor revisions July 25, 2006)

Brian Leiter's Best Law Schools for the "Best" Jobs in Law Teaching

This study examined which schools are most successful at placing their graduates in "top" law school teaching positions. "Top" law schools for this purpose meant schools that either (1) are ranked in the top 50 by U.S. News with some frequency, or (2) are ranked in the top 40 for faculty quality by various academic measures in my rankings. The following schools, therefore, were in the sample:

Arizona State University; Baylor University; Cardozo Law School/Yeshiva University; Boston College; Boston University; Brigham Young University; Brooklyn Law School; Case Western Reserve University; Chicago-Kent College of Law; Columbia University; Cornell University; Duke University; Emory University; Florida State University; Fordham University; George Mason University; Georgetown University; George Washington University; Harvard University; University of California-Hastings College of Law; Indiana University, Bloomington; New York University; Northwestern University; University of Notre Dame; Ohio State University; Rutgers University, Camden; Rutgers University, Newark; Southern Methodist University; Stanford University; Tulane University; University of Alabama; University of Arizona; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Davis; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Chicago; University of Cincinnati; University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Connecticut; University of Florida; University of Georgia; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; University of Iowa; University of Maryland; University of Miami; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; University of Minnesota; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of Pennsylvania; University of Pittsburgh; University of San Diego; University of Southern California; University of Texas, Austin; University of Virginia; University of Washington; University of Wisconsin, Madison; Vanderbilt University; Wake Forest University; Washington & Lee University; Washington College of Law, American University; Washington University, St. Louis; College of William & Mary; Yale University.

The educational background of all tenure-track (but not tenured) faculty at these schools, according to school websites, was recorded during Spring 2006. This data was supplemented by data collected by me (www.leiterlawschool.typepad.com) and Larry Solum (http://lsolum.blogspot.com/archives/2006_05_01_lsolum_archive.html#114129865560132000) about the educational background of tenure-track hires for the 2006-07 academic year. Because the study was confined to current untenured, but tenure-stream, academic faculty, it gives the most up-to-date picture of which schools are best at producing successful young law teachers.

Because of the many variables affecting placement in law teaching, no ordinal ranking of schools makes sense. Instead, five “clusters” of schools were identified in terms of their success at producing law teachers at top schools. The clusters factored in the following considerations: (1) the total number of graduates who secured “top” teaching jobs; (2) the typical size of the student body (based on the most recent ABA data on matriculants in the first-year class); (3) the quality of the jobs secured by graduates (with some discount for schools “hiring their own”); (4) the number of graduates who needed to earn an additional degree before securing a teaching position.

As the sample size grew smaller, the ability to draw meaningful distinctions becomes shakier. For example, Duke, with four grads in “top” jobs, looks quite a bit better than Cornell, a school of about the same size, with only two; yet 75% of the Duke grads had advanced degrees, compared to just 50% of the Cornell grads—but those numbers might change significantly with just one more placement! Hence, Duke and Cornell are in the same cluster. In summary form, here they are (schools are listed alphabetically within each cluster):

Group 1 (1)
Yale Law School

Group 2 (2-4)
Harvard Law School
Stanford Law School
University of Chicago Law School

Group 3 (5-8)
Columbia Law School
New York University School of Law
University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law
University of Michigan Law School

Group 4 (9)
University of Virginia Law School

Group 5 (10-17)
Cornell Law School
Duke University School of Law
Georgetown University Law Center
Northwestern University School of Law
University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
University of Minnesota Law School
University of Pennsylvania Law School
University of Texas School of Law

Here is a more detailed chart with the underlying data.

School Number of Grads in "Top" Jobs Most Recent Class Size (rounded to nearest 25)

Total Number of Grads in Top Jobs Divided by Recent Class Size

Number of Grads who Earned an Add'l Degree (% of total placement) [rank among top 18—higher rank means fewer grads earned degrees beyond JD] Sample of Best Jobs Secured by Grads (max. of 8 listed)
Group 1 (1)

Yale Law School

92 200 .46 53 (58%) [#12] Yale, Harvard (3), Stanford, Chicago (2), NYU (2), Columbia (3), Michigan (6), Virginia (5)

Group 2 (2-4)

Harvard Law School 78 550 .14 32 (41%)[#6] Harvard (2), Stanford, Chicago (2), Columbia (2), Berkeley (3), Michigan (4), Penn (2), Texas

Stanford Law School

21 175 .12

15 (71%)[#14]

Columbia (2), Virginia, Texas, Cornell, Georgetown, UCLA, USC, Washington, North Carolina

University of Chicago Law School

26 200 .13

10 (39%) [#4]

Chicago (2), Columbia, Texas, Virginia (3), Minnesota, Emory, George Mason (2), Fordham

Group 3 (5-8)

Columbia Law School 24 375 .06 11 (46%) [#7] Columbia, Michigan, Virginia, Cornell, UCLA, Wisconsin (2), Washington, Illinois

New York University School of Law

14 450 .03

4 (29%) [#1]

NYU, UCLA, Vanderbilt, UC Davis, Wash U/St. Louis, Tulane (3), Arizona, Maryland (2)

University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law

13 275 .05

11 (85%)[#17]

Penn, Duke, UCLA, Wisconsin (2), Emory, Iowa, William & Mary (2), UC Davis

University of Michigan Law School

18 375 .05

7 (39%)[#4]

Chicago (2), Michigan, Minnesota, GW, Arizona, Emory, UC Davis (2), Boston College
Group 4 (9)

University of Virginia School of Law

8 375 .02

4 (50%)[#8]

Harvard, Virginia (2), Emory, William & Mary, Georgia, Rutgers-Camden, Arizona State

Group 5 (10-17)

Cornell Law School 2 200 .01

1 (50%)[#8]

Iowa, Arizona

Duke University School of Law

4 200 .02

3 (75%)[#15]

Vanderbilt, Tulane (2), Florida State

Georgetown University Law Center

3 575 .01 1 (33%)[#2] Wisconsin, Indiana, Georgia
Northwestern University School of Law 4 250 .02

3 (75%)[#15]

Minnesota, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama

University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

4 325 .01

1 (33%)[#2]

Colorado, San Diego, George Mason, Wash U/St. Louis

University of Minnesota Law School

2 275 .01 1 (50%)[#8] Wisconsin, Colorado

University of Pennsylvania Law School

3 250 .01

2 (66%)[#13]

Arizona State, Rutgers-Camden, Wake Forest
University of Texas School of Law 4 450 .01 2 (50%)[#8] Illinois, Washington, Tulane, Cincinnati
Notable Showings in this Study, But Atypical from Earlier Periods
University of Illinois College of Law 2 200 .01 2 (100%) Georgia, Utah
University of Maryland School of Law 3 250 .01 2 (66%) Washington & Lee, Maryland, Utah
Brigham Young University School of Law 2 150 .01 1 (50%) Georgia, Florida State
Tulane Law School 2 300 .01 0 (0%) Georgetown, Washington & Lee
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