The 2010-11 academic year represented a milestone of sorts for law schools: Annual tuition at seven schools topped $50,000.

With no end in sight to tuition increases, The National Law Journal looked at which schools offer the biggest bang for their tuition buck when it comes to landing a job at a large law firm. We identified the schools sending the highest percentage of their class of 2011 to associate jobs at NLJ 250 firms for the lowest tuition price.

The best value this year goes to the University of Pennsylvania Law School, which sent a higher percentage of its most recent graduating class to NLJ 250 firms — 57 percent — than any other school. At $48,362, Pennsylvania’s annual tuition is the 10th highest, meaning that nine other schools charged more but had lower placement rates at the country’s largest law firms. Stanford Law School, Harvard Law School, and Northwestern University School of Law also landed near the top of the list in the cost-benefit analysis.

The National Law Journal‘s Go-To Law School Special report, published Feb. 27, ranked the law schools that the nation’s 250 largest firms recruited from most heavily to fill their first-year associate classes. Tuition amounts were based on data for full-time, non-resident students obtained from the 2011 ABA/LSAC guide.

The most expensive school on the 50 Go-To Law Schools list was the University of California, Berkeley School of Law with an annual tuition of $52,245. The school with the lowest tuition was Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School at $20,560.

— Karen Sloan

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