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Ranking the Most Prestigious Law Schools

Awards & recognition

There are several factors to consider when choosing which law school to attend to fit your individual needs, such as location, financial aid, the size of the law school, the program, and the support services, the list is extensive. 

This is why here at Schmidt & Clark, we wanted to examine the law schools regarded as the 'highest-ranking schools' in the United States and compared several factors to establish the best and worst of the most prestigious law schools in the US. 

Methodology

We explored which are regarded as the 'top law schools' in the United States and compared this with a range of data to discover how many law professionals the school has produced. 

We looked at the alumni pages for each law school and found the percentage of how many of the total alumni work in the 'legal' sector, and how many of that studied law between 1990 and 2022. 

We then took some of the most popular law-related skills to find out how many alumni working in the legal sector are listed as being skilled at. 

We collected data for many ranking factors for each law school and assigned each a number out of 175.

We wanted to highlight the following information to help prospective students make the most informed decision for their applications:

  • Most Recent Acceptance Rate
  • Total LinkedIn Alumni
  • Number of Alumni Working in the 'Legal’ sector
  • Percentage of Alumni Working in Legal
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Research
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Writing
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Advice
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Litigation
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Corporate Law
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at International Law

We also explored the alumni pages for each law school on LinkedIn and found the total percentage of those alumni now working in the 'legal' sector, and out of that percentage, those that studied law between 1990 to 2022, This was to ascertain where the best schools are for producing lawyers in the United States.

Some Interesting Findings

After exploring the alumni data from LinkedIn we did not anticipate that Yale, Stanford, and Harvard, the top three schools in the United States, had the lowest percentages of alumni working in the legal sector when filtered by ‘percentage. 

Following Law, alumni working in the legal sector also studied ‘Political Science and Government’, the second most popular area of employment for alumni after law, was ‘Business Development’, followed by ‘Education’.

Where Are the Top Five of the Most Prestigious Law Schools?

best law schools for producing lawyers copy

1. University of Chicago Law School

The University of Chicago Law School scored 149 out of 175 and is among the best and most prestigious law schools in the world. Chicago law school was established in 1902 and has produced famous alumni in the judiciary, academia, government, politics, and business.

  • Most Recent Acceptance Rate: 19%
  • Total LinkedIn Alumni: 8,965
  • Number of Alumni Working in the 'Legal’ sector: 3,214
  • Percentage of Alumni Working in Legal: 36%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Research: 87%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Writing: 87%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Advice: 29%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Litigation: 83%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Corporate Law: 79%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at International Law: 21%

2. University of Columbia Law School

Columbia Law School which is part of Columbia University and is a private Ivy League research university in New York City scored 147 out of 175. Columbia Law School is generally regarded as among the most prestigious law schools in the world and always ranks in the top five law schools in the United States by US News and the World Report.

  • Most Recent Acceptance Rate: 16%
  • Total LinkedIn Alumni: 21,707
  • Number of Alumni Working in the 'Legal’ sector: 7,941
  • Percentage of Alumni Working in Legal: 37%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Research: 77%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Writing: 71%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Advice: 38%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Litigation: 62%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Corporate Law: 72%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at International Law: 34%

3. Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law was founded in 1859 and scored 146 out of 175. It is located in Chicago, Illinois. Northwestern Law is widely known as one of the top law schools in the United States. Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law is also ranked number 9 in the latest U.S. News & World's Best Law School report.

  • Most Recent Acceptance Rate: 14%
  • Total LinkedIn Alumni: 12,499
  • Number of Alumni Working in the Legal sector: 4,412
  • Percentage of Alumni Working in Legal: 35%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Research: 87%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Writing: 84%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Advice: 33%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Litigation: 74%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Corporate Law: 72%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at International Law: 22%

4. Georgetown University Law Center

Georgetown University Law Center which is located in Washington scored 143 out of a possible 175. The graduate law school of Georgetown University D.C. was established in 1870 and is the second-largest law school in the United States, according to enrollment numbers. It also receives more full-time student applications than any other law school in the country

  • Most Recent Acceptance Rate: 13%
  • Total LinkedIn Alumni: 40,566
  • Number of Alumni Working in the 'Legal’ sector: 14,814
  • Percentage of Alumni Working in Legal: 37%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Research: 84%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Writing: 80%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Advice: 26%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Litigation: 67%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Corporate Law: 56%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at International Law: 26%

5. New York University School of Law

Finally, New York University School of Law, located in New York, scored 137 out of 175. New York University School of Law was established in 1835, making it the oldest law school in the city of New York. 

  • Most Recent Acceptance Rate: 22%
  • Total LinkedIn Alumni: 30,656
  • Number of Alumni Working in the 'Legal’ sector: 10,677
  • Percentage of Alumni Working in Legal: 35%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Research: 83%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Writing: 78%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Advice: 33%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Litigation: 67%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Corporate Law: 70%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at International Law: 25%

Where Are the Bottom Five of the Most Prestigious Law Schools?

law classroom

1. Yale Law School

Yale Law School located in New Haven, Connecticut, unexpectedly scored 28 out of 175. Yale was established in 1824 and has been ranked by US News World Report Magazine as the top-ranked law school in the United States. Since the magazine commenced publishing law school rankings in the 1980s, Yale has consistently remained at the top every year.

  • Most Recent Acceptance Rate: 7%
  • Total LinkedIn Alumni: 10,367
  • Number of Alumni Working in the 'Legal’ sector: 3,132
  • Percentage of Alumni Working in Legal: 30%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Research: 32%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Writing: 31%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Advice: 10%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Litigation: 29%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Corporate Law: 21%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at International Law: 9%

2. Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School, located near Palo Alto, California scored 52 out of 175, which we certainly did not foresee. The law school is part of Stanford University and is a private research university. It was established in 1893 and is ranked as one of the top three law schools in the United States.

  • Most Recent Acceptance Rate: 10%
  • Total LinkedIn Alumni: 8,906
  • Number of Alumni Working in the 'Legal’ sector: 3,135
  • Percentage of Alumni Working in Legal: 35%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Research: 39%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Writing: 38%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Advice: 13%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Litigation: 35%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Corporate Law: 30%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at International Law: 11%

3. Harvard Law School

Harvard Law school, located in Cambridge Massachusetts, scored 55 out of 175. The law school was founded in 1817, making it the oldest continuously operating law school in the United States. Despite ranking so low, it is among the most prestigious law schools in the United States. 

  • Most Recent Acceptance Rate: 12%
  • Total LinkedIn Alumni: 43,146
  • Number of Alumni Working in the 'Legal’ sector: 12,231
  • Percentage of Alumni Working in Legal: 28%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Research: 35%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Writing: 34%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Advice: 19%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Litigation: 31%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Corporate Law: 30%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at International Law: 11%

4. University of North Carolina School of Law

The University of North Carolina School of Law scored 58 out of 175 and is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. UNC School of Law was founded in 1845 and has been approved by the American Bar Association since 1928.

  • Most Recent Acceptance Rate: 22%
  • Total LinkedIn Alumni: 5,731
  • Number of Alumni Working in the 'Legal’ sector: 2,710
  • Percentage of Alumni Working in Legal: 47%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Research: 47%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Writing: 46%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Advice: 6%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Litigation: 35%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Corporate Law: 18%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at International Law: 3%

5. University of Notre Dame

Finally, Notre Dame Law School scored 59 out of a possible 175 and is located in Indiana. Notre Dame was established in 1869, making it the oldest Catholic law school in the United States. The law school’s approach to education is centered around and inspired by the Calothic faith.

  • Most Recent Acceptance Rate: 24%
  • Total LinkedIn Alumni: 6,706
  • Number of Alumni Working in the 'Legal’ sector: 3,173
  • Percentage of Alumni Working in Legal: 47%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Research: 42%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Writing: 42%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Legal Advice: 7%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Litigation: 38%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at Corporate Law: 22%
  • Percentage in the Legal Sector Skilled at International Law: 6%

Why Do Some of the Most Prestigious Law Schools Have Some of the Lowest Percentages of Alumni Working in the Legal Sector?

This is a difficult question and may have several answers. A simple explanation could be that graduates from the more prestigious law schools may consider working in alternative fields, such as administration, recruitment, or writing for magazines and journals.

Furthermore, attending a “prestigious” law school opens doors that would otherwise have remained closed, but is not, however, a defining factor. 

Many successful individuals working in the law sector have not attended “prestigious” law schools. In fact, some have proposed that graduates from less prestigious schools are eventually more successful.

We hope that we have made your choices slightly easier when deciding on which law school you wish to attend. For those not looking to study law, we hope that we have provided you with some interesting statistics on which law schools produce the least and the greatest alumni working in the legal sector. 

If you require legal aid, get in touch. We are one of the leading and most highly recognized law firms in the USA, specializing in representing individual plaintiffs and their families.

Sources:

  • https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings
  • https://www.linkedin.com/