August 12, 2011
Location, Location, Location: Feeder Law Schools for BigLaw Associate Hiring and Promotion to Partnership
Two B-school profs, Paul Oyer and Scott Schaefer, have published the results of their study at American BigLaw Lawyers and the Schools that Produce Them: A Profile and Rankings:
We profile the lawyers that work at the largest 300 American law firms as of the Summer of 2008. We show how gender, years of experience, prestige of law school, and other qualities vary across lawyers of different rank and firms of different prestige. Geography is an important determinant of where lawyers work, with many going to undergraduate school and law school near where they ultimately practice. Geography is less important, however, at more prestigious firms and for graduates of higher ranked firms. We then go on to rank law firms based on the prestige of the law schools they attended and we rank law schools based on their success at placing lawyers at BigLaw firms. Chicago, Harvard, and Yale law schools are the clear leaders in placing graduates at BigLaw firms. We provide important caveats about these rankings
First, our rankings are sufficiently close to other rankings that it is clear, as one might expect, that whatever leads a school to be successful in other rankings also leads them to be successful in placing lawyers at BigLaw firms. Second, we find that the University of Chicago, Yale, and Harvard law schools are clearly the most successful at placing lawyers at BigLaw schools. Finally, we show that BigLaw firms have a bias towards East Coast schools -- West Coast schools rank lower by our measure than by previous rankings.
(Emphasis added.) Hat tip to Leiter's Law School Reports.
Which law schools produce the largest numbers of partners at national law firms? This article reports the results of a nationwide study of junior and mid-level partners at the 100 largest U.S. law firms. It identifies both the top 50 feeder schools to the NLJ 100 nationwide and the top 10 feeder schools to those same firms in each of the country’s ten largest legal markets. U.S. News rank turns out to be an unreliable predictor of feeder school status. Hiring and partnering by the NLJ 100 are remarkably local; law school rank is much less important than location. Perhaps surprisingly, Georgetown emerges as Harvard’s closest competitor for truly national status.
Comparing Seto's study with Oyer and Schaefer's makes for interesting reading. [JH]