Which Law Schools Dominate Judicial Clerkships?

by Vault Law Editors | May 02, 2011

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Got your eyes set on a federal clerkship post law school? You may want to look beyond the top ten law schools then. U.S. News recently released its ranking of law schools with the highest percentage of students pursuing federal clerkships. Not surprisingly, Yale Law topped the list at number one. The Bulldogs were joined by their usual rankings-neighbors Stanford and Harvard. But the top of the list also included a few schools outside of the top ten (and even top twenty) of U.S. News’ “Best Law School” rankings, such as University of Arizona (Rogers) and University of Georgia. The top federal-clerkship-feeder schools according to U.S. News are:

1.Yale Law
2.Stanford Law
3.Harvard Law
4.University of Washington
5.University of Arizona (Rogers)
6. Duke University
7.University of Georgia
8.University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
9.University of Virginia
10.University of Pennsylvania

While many of the “Best Law School” top tenners have claimed spots on this federal clerkship ranking, several are missing, including Columbia Law, Chicago Law, NYU Law, and Berkely Law. Perhaps these schools’ locations in major cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco attract students seeking to stay in these areas. And with other law school graduates flooding into these popular cities, the federal clerkships in these locales may be more sought-after and competitive. Or maybe these schools place more focus on other career paths, attracting students who are less focused on the clerkship road. Another interesting aspect of the ranking is that it measures the number of graduates from the class of 2009 pursuing clerkships—what about those attorneys who work for several years before hopping over to clerkships? Could a higher percentage of the students from the top law schools be pursuing clerkships several years out? Or is it just the case that the law schools topping the U.S. News federal clerkship ranking have the best strategies for placing students pursuing federal clerkships?

What do you think?

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