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Top BigLaw Feeder Schools Named; Penn Is Ranked No. 1

Posted Feb 27, 2012 10:06 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The University of Pennsylvania’s law school is ranked seventh by U.S. News & World Report, but it tops a list of the institutions that send the highest percentages of grads to the nation’s top 250 law firms.

The National Law Journal compiled the rankings, and TaxProf Blog added the U.S. News ranking. For 2011, the top five were:

1) University of Pennsylvania, sending 56.9 percent of its grads to large firms (ranked seventh by U.S. News). The school was also ranked tops for best value for BigLaw hiring by the NLJ. Its tuition of $48,362 is the tenth highest among the 50 schools.

2) Northwestern University, sending 52.1 percent of its grads to large firms (ranked 12th by U.S. News).

3) Columbia, sending 51.7 percent of its grads to large firms (ranked fourth by U.S. News).

4) Harvard, sending 48.9 percent of its grads to large firms (ranked second by U.S. News).

5) Stanford, sending 48.1 percent of its grads to large firms (ranked third by U.S. News).

Overall, large law firms hired fewer associates in 2011 than 2010, according to the NLJ’s survey of the 50 schools most popular with hiring firms. Twenty-two percent of graduates at these schools were hired as associates in 2011, down from 27 percent in 2010.

Yale, ranked first by U.S. News, was 15th on the list, sending 29.8 percent of its grads to BigLaw. It the past, law schools further down on the list have pointed out that a large percentage of their grads go on to prestigious judicial clerkships.

Out of the 50 law schools, the University of California at Berkeley charged the highest tuition, at $52,245, and Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School charged the least, at $20,560.

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