Top Ten Ranking Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings
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 ¶  Where Current Law Faculty Went to Law School
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Writing Essays

March 17, 2009

This study is based on the educational credentials of all tenure-track and tenured law faculty as of Spring 2008.  (The underlying data comes from this interesting article.)  This excludes adjuncts, legal writing instructors, and other 'faculty' who are not in tenure-stream positions.  But it still covers more than 7,000 faculty at AALS-member law schools. 

Bear in mind that faculty in this sample graduated from law school over a very long period of time, from the 1950s through to nearly the present; schools whose reputations were stronger long ago may do better here than they would in a study confined only to recent hiring, while schools whose reputations have improved over time will likely fare worse here.    Circa 1960, for example, it would have been common to think of Yale, Harvard, and Columbia as clearly the top three law schools, with Penn, Michigan, and perhaps Chicago just a notch below.  Stanford rose to prominence during the 1950s and 1960s, and Chicago's competitive position improved significantly with the rise of law-and-economics in the 1970s, where it was the primary innovator.  NYU and Georgetown both became far more prominent schools starting in the 1970s as well.  (You can get some sense of the small reputational shifts since the 1970s from this data.)   Columbia slipped out of the "top 3" during the 1960s, Penn slipped out of "the top five" by the 1970s, and Michigan did the same in the 1990s.  Thus, the data below to some extent reflects the large time period covered, which mostly explains the differences (where there are differences) with data focusing on more recent placement in law teaching.

There are two rankings, below.  The first is an attempt to take account of the fact that schools differ quite a bit in the number of students they graduate.  I call it a 'per capita' measure, but that's not what it really is:  it is just an attempt to adjust the results to reflect differences in the pool of graduates each school produces.  (The formula used was to divide the total number of graduates in law teaching by the average number of graduates of the school [rounded to the nearest 25] in recent graduating classes.)  The second ranking is based on the total number of graduates of each school in law teaching.  Gross numbers have some importance too:  alumni in teaching often favor (or at least look favorably upon) graduates of their school, and schools with large numbers of graduates in law teaching are ones whose graduates hiring schools expect to be looking at every year.

Because the 'per capita' figure is a rough measure (based on estimates of class size), I've created more ties as the numbers became smaller in order to give a more realistic sense of peer clusters. 

I.  Ranking by "Per Capita" Number of Graduates in Law Teaching ("per capita" here really means the total number of graduates divided by the average size of a recent graduating class rounded to the nearest 25)

Rank

School

“Per Capita” Rate

Total

1

Yale University

3.56

712

2

Harvard University

1.99

993

3

University of Chicago

1.44

288

4

Stanford University

1.24

217

5

Columbia University

0.82

308

 

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

0.82

309

7

University of California, Berkeley

0.73

201

8

University of Pennsylvania

0.60

152

9

New York University

0.54

245

10

Cornell University

0.42

83

 

Duke University

0.46

91

 

Northwestern University

0.44

111

 

University of Virginia

0.41

154

14

Boston University

0.22

67

 

Georgetown University

0.27

154

 

University of California, Los Angeles

0.29

87

 

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

0.30

59

 

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

0.23

57

 

University of Texas, Austin

0.25

111

 

University of Wisconsin, Madison

0.30

82

II.  Ranking by Total Number of Graduates in Law Teaching

Rank

School

Total Number of Graduates

“Per Capita” Rate

1

Harvard University

993

1.99

2

Yale University

712

3.56

3

Columbia University

308

0.82

 

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

309

0.82

5

University of Chicago

288

1.44

6

New York University

245

0.54

7

Stanford University

217

1.24

8

University of California, Berkeley

201

0.73

9

Georgetown University

154

0.27

 

University of Pennsylvania

152

0.60

 

University of Virginia

154

0.41

12

Northwestern University

111

0.44

 

University of Texas, Austin

111

0.25

14

Duke University

91

0.46

15

University of California, Los Angeles

87

0.29

16

Cornell University

83

0.42

 

University of Wisconsin, Madison

82

0.30

18

Boston University

67

0.22

19

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

59

0.30

 

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

57

0.23

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