Michael Sullivan, a student at Calvin College, has undertaken the Herculean labor of updating my 2003 study of the law school's with the most national placement at top firms. Mr. Sullivan's new study is here. I have not undertaken to double-check all his work, but he provides the underlying data, and the spot checks make me think Mr. Sullivan has done a careful job.
Here are the top 15 law schools based on success in placing graduates at top firms nationwide; the name of each school is followed by its normalized score, and then its rank in the 2003 study:
1. Harvard University (100) (1)
2. University of Chicago (96) (2)
2. University of Virginia (96) (4)
4. Yale University (93) (3)
5. Stanford University (89) (6)
6. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (86) (5)
7. Columbia University (82) (7)
7. Duke University (82) (9)
9. New York University (80) (11)
9. University of Pennsylvania (80) (10)
11. Georgetown University (77) (8)
11. University of Texas, Austin (77) (12)
13. Cornell University (76) (15)
14. University of California, Berkeley (73) (16)
15. George Washington University (71) (17)
15. Vanderbilt University (71) (14)
No significant changes here from the 2003 study, except, perhaps, the relatively weak performance by Northwestern, which was 13th in my 2003 study, and falls just outside the top 15 in Mr. Sullivan's study, with a normalized score of 66 (tied with Boston University at 17th, a school I had not studed in 2003).
Be sure, of course, to read with some care the caveats attached to my original study, which apply equally here.
There is more data and detail at Mr. Sullivan's site, which will surely be of value to prospective law students. I hope they will join me in thanking him for undertaking the compilation and analysis of this data. Since there is much talk among students, employers, and academics about which law schools are "national" and which are not, it is useful to have some actual factual basis for such characterizations.