The new associate hiring picture at large law firms improved for the third straight year in 2014, but that growth wasn’t due to firms enlarging the size of the first-year associate classes. Instead, a smaller cohort of new law graduates meant that a higher percentage of them could land associate jobs at the largest 250 law firms in the country, even though those firms hired roughly the same number of new associates as in 2013.
We’ve ranked the top 50 law schools by percentage of 2014 juris doctors who took jobs at the largest 250 firms by lawyer head count—as identified in The National Law Journal’s annual survey of the nation’s 350 largest law firms. We also identified the schools that saw the most alumni promoted to partner, and highlighted the 20 schools that outperform their U.S. News & World Report ranking when it comes to large firm hiring. We take an even deeper dive into our annual law school report in our special interactive feature. —Karen Sloan
COLUMBIA LEADS IN SENDING GRADS INTO BIG LAW
It wasn’t a return to the go-go days before the recession, but first-year associate hiring picture improved at the nation’s largest law firms during 2014. Columbia Law School retained its place as the top provider of law graduates hired by those big firms, and the University of Pennsylvania jumped from fifth to second place on our annual Go-To Law Schools list.
Ten law schools came tantalizingly close to landing on the Go-To Law Schools list for 2015, making for a tight race at the bottom. Overall, the cutoff rose this year —evidence of the slightly improved entry-level job market as a smaller pool of graduates vied for jobs in 2014.
They say that everything is bigger in Texas. So, apparently, is the University of Texas School of Law’s influence on the state’s law firms.
BY THE NUMBERS
THE TOP 50 GO-TO LAW SCHOOLS
These schools sent the highest percentage of new graduates to the largest 250 law firms.
The schools that NLJ 250 firms most relied upon for first-year associates.
ASSOCIATES TO PARTNER
The schools that saw the most alumni promoted to partner during 2014.
INTERACTIVE: EXPLORE THE DATA
For the third year in a row, we are making all of the data from our Go-To Law Schools report on large firm associate hiring available in a searchable format. And check out our cost benefit analysis chart to find out which of our top 50 Go-To Law Schools offer the best bang for the buck when it comes to getting a job at an NLJ 250 firm.
FROM THE EXPERTS
LANDING THE BIG LAW JOBS
From on-campus interviewing to summer clerkships, landing an associate job at a large law firm is a marathon—not a sprint. We’ve asked partners involved in hiring at eight of the country’s largest firms to offer their best advice for students.
GROUND FOR MEASURED OPTIMISM
Increased hiring and reduced law school enrollment could spell happy futures for graduates, according to NALP director James Leipold.
METHODOLOGY: Data for this Go-To Law Schools special report were provided to The National Law Journal by the 250 largest law firms in the country. For firms that did not submit new associate numbers, we relied on data from ALM Media LLC’s RivalEdge database and independent reporting. The rankings do not reflect law graduates who took jobs as judicial clerks following graduation.