Best Law Schools According to Recruiters

by Vault Education Editors | March 07, 2011

  • My Vault

Law firm recruiters favor Harvard Law grads over all other law school grads—even Yale—at least when making intuitive judgments based on the sole criterion of an institution’s academic reputation.

U.S. News has for the first time released a ranking of law schools based on the opinions of hiring professionals at top law firms. Recruiters from 750 firms were asked (14 percent responding) to rate institutions on a scale of 1 to 5. As the article notes:

"Unlike the main U.S. News rankings of law schools, which take into account many factors, including selectivity, faculty resources, and success in placing graduates in jobs, the rankings by recruiting professionals are strictly reputational in nature based upon their assessment of each school's academic quality."

Yale, which holds the top spot in U.S. News’ Best Law School rankings, was considered second best—tied with Stanford—by the recruiters.  One of the recruiting heads surveyed suggests in the article that Harvard’s high regard among recruiters might have something to do with the school’s relatively ginormous class, which is nearly three times that of Yale’s and Stanford’s:

"'Harvard and Yale are both outstanding schools.' Primis notes that Harvard has many more law students than Yale, which could account for its popularity among recruiters at the top firms. He advises students weighing a school that 'once you are inside the top 10 or 15 law schools, it is much more important to have an outstanding academic record' than to fret over whether one got into the No.1 or No. 3 school."

Only the top 25 have been posted so far. The complete list will be released on March 15.


1. Harvard University - 4.9
2. Stanford University - 4.8
2. Yale University - 4.8
4. Columbia University - 4.7
4. University of Michigan--Ann Arbor - 4.7
6. New York University - 4.6
6. University of Virginia - 4.6
8. Cornell University - 4.5
8. Duke University - 4.5
8. Northwestern University - 4.5
8. University of California--Berkeley - 4.5
8. University of Chicago - 4.5
13. Georgetown University - 4.4
13. University of Pennsylvania - 4.4
15. Vanderbilt University - 4.3
15. Washington University in St. Louis - 4.3
17. University of Texas--Austin - 4.2
18. Boston University - 4.1
18. Emory University - 4.1
18. University of California--Los Angeles - 4.1
18. University of Minnesota--Twin Cities - 4.1
18. University of Notre Dame - 4.1
18. University of Southern California - 4.1
18. Washington and Lee University - 4.1
25. Boston College - 4.0
25. University of Iowa - 4.0
25. University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill - 4.0

[U.S. News]

Related: Top 5 Law Schools by Employment: The Best Program for Where You Live

Filed Under: Education

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