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Monday, May 23, 2011

Entry Level Hiring: JD Schools

One of the questions this year's entry level hiring post addresses is, "How many people who got their JD from School X were hired on this year’s entry-level market?" Brian Leiter has done a definitive study on this question over time for graduates since 1995 who are teaching at the top 43 law schools. I thought it might be interesting to the look at this question for entry-level hiring reports from 2004 to this year. The below represents data pulled from Larry Solum's entry level hiring reports for 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004 (I omitted 2010 because not much data was collected that year), and from this year's hiring report to date.

N.B.: This is as reported on the entry level hiring reports only. I cannot emphasize enough how incomplete this is. To get a real picture of entry level hiring over time, one would have to take Leiter's approach and look at the faculty of various law schools. This is a report on entry level hiring reports, not on entry level hiring.

That said, here's what I found (if you click on the picture, it will get bigger):


Each year, Harvard and Yale together are the source of the initial JD of between 25% and 35% of the hires listed on the entry level hiring report; the group of NYU, Michigan, Chicago, Columbia, Stanford, Berkeley, and Virginia (I selected these schools because these were the schools that had provided at least five hires in more than one year) provide the JDs for 30% to 40%; and all other schools represent 35% to 40%. All this seems pretty stable across the last seven years (though perhaps I am missing something).

Here's the spreadsheet I used to generate this graph. There are three tabs: some schools broken out, schools combined into the graph categories, and the graph itself. Some of the schools broken out (Texas, UCLA, Georgetown) ended up in the "other" category because they didn't represent more than five hires reported in more than one year. 

As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts, comments, suggestions, etc.

Also, remember: this is very incomplete and wrong as a report of entry level hiring, because it is based on years of incomplete data. If you want to know about real entry level hiring, I commend to you Brian Leiter's report and the Katz et al. article. This is just a report about entry level hiring reports. 

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on May 23, 2011 at 10:03 AM in Entry Level Hiring Report | Permalink


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i agree completely with pj. there is no academic profession that is nearly as elitist as ours about graduating institution.

Posted by: anonprof | May 24, 2011 11:05:52 AM

Why are legal academics so focused on the school in hiring? I've been involved in hiring decisions for a prestigious law firm for many years, and have hired lawyers from dozens of school, including Harvard and Yale. We've had some good lawyers from those schools, but a LOT of total duds as well. If you're trying to hire lawyers who write well and think creatively, it's laughable to focus on whether they got their JD from Harvard or Yale. The real superstars come from all sorts of backgrounds.

Posted by: pj | May 24, 2011 10:48:11 AM

Yes, yes, yes to Brian and Greg McNeal. With regard to the latter comment, yes, the AALS has this data (including how many people from each school who were on the market, as the first commenter asks). This is what the AALS releases:


They give us a breakdown of Gender, Race and Ethnicity, and Educational Degrees (e.g., PhD, LL.M.) from the FAR forms, but not JD schools. Also, because the entry level hiring reports are so extremely incomplete, I don't feel comfortable treating what we have in, say, the 2009 report as actual entry level hiring and comparing it to the information the AALS provides, which is actually complete. (For example, to pick some absurd numbers to make clear that THIS IS JUST AN EXAMPLE, if the AALS told us that in 2009, 20% of candidates were men and 80% were women, and then we saw in the entry level hiring report that 10% of people reported as hired were men and 90% were women, we could conclude nothing, because we might just be missing the data on so many people that the numbers were off.)

They do provide JD schools and subject areas for current faculty, but I couldn't figure out a useful way to pull data about hiring from this (the change in a number between one year and the next is partly due to hiring, partly due to retirement, death, etc.). (Also, the most recent year is 2009, but that's actually not too bad.)

For the time being, the only systematic way to do this is to take Brian Leiter's approach and actually go investigate the faculty school by school.

Anyway, to make an argument to the AALS about why they should release the information (about JD schools), we would need to have an argument about why this is important information, and I can't figure it out. Thoughts?

Posted by: Sarah Lawsky | May 24, 2011 9:33:02 AM

I'm always struck by how our professional association (AALS) does not collect this information. They seem like the body --given their control of most of the appointments process-- that would be best positioned to gather and distribute the data.

Posted by: Greg McNeal | May 24, 2011 1:14:40 AM

The Solum data from the earlier years was wildly incomplete, to the point of being useless (no fault of Larry's, too many folks just didn't report to him). At one time, I tried utilizing it, but then heard from so many folks that had been omitted, that I pulled it.

Posted by: Brian | May 23, 2011 3:46:21 PM

Is there any way to tell how many people from each school were on the market?

Posted by: anonlawyer | May 23, 2011 3:35:24 PM

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