What law schools do legal academics come from?


A guest poster combined the spreadsheets from the 2012-2020 PrawfsBlawg "entry level hiring report" series and did a post based on the results which he then gave us permission to blog. This is very helpful as it aggregates the years 2012-2020 for legal academics (the vast majority of which are tenure track) and we are grateful for their hard work. The numbers and analysis are below.

First, the raw numbers for the T14:

What does this mean? Some quick take-aways:

  • Almost a third of all legal academics in the last 8 years came from YLS or HLS.
  • 58% came from the T6 (with NYU overperforming its rank).
  • 77% came from the T14.
  • 5 other schools placed 5 or more graduates each: Hebrew U (13), Texas (9), Vanderbilt (9), UCLA (8), and Iowa (5). Including those 5, that's about 80% of all legal academics that come from 19 schools.
  • 503 of those hired had other graduate degrees, including 226 PhDs, 70 LLMS (about half of which were from NYU or GULC), about 40 JSD/SJDs (mostly from T6 schools), and a dozen BPhils or DPhils from Oxford.
  • Of those 138 with non-T14 JDs, 73 had an LLM or JSD/SJD from a T14, leaving 66 (about 8%) who never passed through a T14 law school during their legal education. All but 2 of the 138 had some additional graduate degree.
  • Among the 105 hired by T14 schools, 39 came from YLS, 20 from HLS, and 10 from NYU. SLS, Chicago, CLS, Penn, Michigan, Berkeley, and NU placed between 2 and 7 graduates into T14s, and UVA, Duke, Cornell, and GULC didn't place any graduates in T14 schools.
  • 11 of those hired by T14s came from non-T14s. Of the 11, 7 had an LLM or JSD/SJD from YLS, HLS, NYU, or GULC. That leaves 4 people hired by T14 schools who had never attended one.

Relative to class-size, HLS and NYU are a bit less impressive than their raw numbers suggest, and SLS and Chicago a bit more. Michigan, Berkley, and GULC also have larger-than-average class sizes, and Duke a bit smaller. I didn't want to dig through ABA reports and add up graduating class sizes from the last 8 years, but given the general trends they appear to divide up roughly into tiers, in terms of per capita academic placement:

  1. YLS
  2. SLS, HLS, Chicago, NYU
  3. CLS, UVA, Michigan, Berkeley, Duke, NU, GULC
  4. Penn, Cornell, Hebrew U, Vandy, Texas, UCLA, Iowa
  5. Everywhere else