Thursday, February 26, 2009

NLJ: "Go To Schools" Ranking; Law Firm Hiring Remains Strong

The National Law Journal has just come out with its list of schools to "go to" - on the basis of the percentage of graduates at those schools that get jobs at NLJ 250 firms.
  1. Columbia University (70.5)
  2. University of Chicago (68.6)
  3. University of Pennsylvania (67.7)
  4. New York University (65.4)
  5. Northwestern University (62.9)
  6. University of California-Berkeley (62.6)
  7. Cornell University (62.0)
  8. Duke University (61.8)
  9. Harvard University (57.5)
  10. University of Virginia (57.2)
  11. Stanford University (56.3)
  12. University of Michigan (55.0)
  13. Georgetown University (49.0)
  14. University of Southern California (47.6)
  15. Boston College (45.8)
We don't entirely agree with their conclusions - looking at placements as a percentage of the class has its usage, but these rankings exclude people who clerk and then go to a firm - it only accounts for graduates who go directly to a NLJ 250 firm. Given that so many UVA students clerk and then go on to work at top firms, we think this skews the school's numbers and rankings downward. It also explains why Yale - arguably the most competitive law school in the country - is absent from the list entirely, and why Stanford - a small school where are a large proportion of its grad obtain prestigious clerkships - isn't ranked as high as one would think.

Don't go to Yale if you want a firm job ... So says the National Law Journal's data!!

One thing that this data does show is that at least in terms of raw percentage of the class there may be some advantage in going to a smaller law school: Cornell and Duke (smaller schools) edge out Harvard and Georgetown - but again, it's tough to draw any meaningful conclusions when the data excludes clerkships.

In related news (news always being a relative term here), the NLJ has an aritcle titled "Hiring From Top Schools Remains Steady in 2008". O RLY?:
Despite the economic nosedive that began gaining momentum in 2008, the nation's biggest law firms hired just about the same percentage of graduates from top schools last year as they did the year before.

At the same time, firms among The National Law Journal's 2008 survey of the nation's 250 largest law firms brought aboard more graduates from the 20 schools that they relied on the most, which themselves had larger classes.

The development suggests that law firms were not well-positioned for the recession they now face. It also suggests that although firms relied on the most prestigious schools to about the same degree in 2008, they pulled back their recruiting at schools outside the top 20.

Some 54.6% of students graduating from the 20 law schools recruited most heavily by NLJ 250 firms accepted positions as first-year associates in 2008, a nominal decline from the 2007 figure of 54.9%.
Indeed that may be true - but that data is for the class of 2008 - and the relevant data is the hiring that firm summer programs were doing; that is, how the class of 2010 is doing, since the vast majority students who receive full-time offers at major law firms when they graduate spent their 2L summer with that firm. And as we all know, that was problematical. There's some good (again, relative) information on Above The Law regarding the decline in law firm summer program hiring. Not for the faint of heart.

It seems like the latest bit of bad news is that people are having the length of their summer programs shortened. That's a drag. But - as many people will be quick to jump to say - a shortened summer job is still better than no job at all. The money that the firm saves - [number of summer associates] * [$3,100] * [# of weeks shortened] * [overheard/perks cost] - could save someone's job, maybe even your own.

No comments: