Law Vs. Business: Who Wins The Jobs?

How we did the analysis: First, we isolated the law schools with the best at-graduation placement records of 2011 and ranked them in order of the percentage of JDs with full-time jobs requiring Bar passage. Then, we looked at the latest 2012 placement stats at the business schools on the same campuses.

The first two numbers in the table are for grads with jobs at graduation. The second two numbers reflect jobs nine months later at law schools and jobs three months later at business schools.

JDs vs. MBAs: How Law Schools Compares Against B-Schools in Employment


  1. University of Virginia97.3%81.5%96.0%90.9%
  2. Stanford University93.2%71.3%95.8%87.8%
  2. Columbia University93.2%77.0%95.4%91.6%
  4. Harvard University90.9%77.4%93.7%89.3%
  5. Yale University90.7%66.5%91.2%85.5%
  6. University of Chicago90.6%84.1%95.1%92.3%
  7. University of Penn83.6%79.7%91.2%91.7%
  8. George Washington Univ.81.7%55.7%88.0%85.2%
  9. Northwestern University77.4%76.9%84.7%91.7%
10. Duke University72.9%86.5%87.4%91.7%
11. UC-Berkeley72.6%74.4%82.6%92.7%
12. University of Michigan70.7%74.3%85.8%81.4%
13. Cornell University69.7%82.0%76.1%89.6%
14. University of Alabama66.5%77.3%87.8%90.7%
15. Vanderbilt University65.2%71.1%76.3%87.2%
16. Georgia State University64.5%NA77.4%NA
17.. University of Minnesota64.0%83.6%66.3%90.9%
18.. Georgetown University63.7%67.9%71.1%88.8%
19. Indiana University62.1%76.1%73.3%89.4%
20. University of Texas-Austin62.0%80.7%76.7%92.5%
21. University of Houston58.0%55.3%75.8%76.6%
22. University of Maryland57.6%58.5%62.3%88.1%
23. University of Louisville57.5%NA86.6%NA
24. University of Georgia56.8%65.8%66.5%86.8%
25. Rutgers (data for Camden law)55.0%60.0%65.3%93.3%

Source: Law & business schools reporting to U.S. News & World Report

  • Jerad Graham

    I’d like to see some information on not top-25 schools. This goes for more than just this articl. Most of the articles on the internet seem to focus on the elite schools, despite the fact that the reality for the large majority of the people wouldn’t be capable of attending top schools (JD or MBA) even if they tried. Additional note for readers: law school stats are delayed because studying for and taking the bar is a 3 month process, so reporting at 3 months out would be pointless.

    • JohnAByrne


      Me, too. We currently rank the top 50 but plan to expand to 100 relatively soon. It may also help to have regional rankings for the very point you make. Thanks for writing in.

    • Andrew P

      That’s a tough thing to do, I suspect the statistics would be dismal once you got out of the mainstream or elite schools.

      One of the main issues I think you might be trying to point to here is that too many schools (Whether for profit or not) try to sell a dream to students who will never attain it…. “Wow come to (Insert no name school here) get your MBA / JD and have a successful career making well over $100k/yr” Unfortunately most of the time you see students go back to their old careers or worse..

      Going along with your request above, I would challenge P&Q to develop an article about when it’s just not worth going to either (JD/MBA) and sticking with your current career. I know there have been articles in the past about specific individuals rationale “Why I’m not getting an MBA” but I’m talking hard data around those non-elite schools…

      Could be interesting!


      • JohnAByrne


        Funny you should say that. I just asked one of our staff writers to tackle the JD/MBA dual degree story this morning. Expect to have it in a week or so.


      • cONTRARIAN

        You might well be right, and it might just be the contrarian in me, but I suspect the opposite. Although there are exceptions, the focus in the more elite schools tends to be on working for a large law firm, where the nosedive in legal employment has occurred. But I wonder if the jobs aren’t in the tiny practices in the less urban areas, the kinds of places that might be served by the lower-tier schools. People are still getting arrested, making out wills, declaring bankruptcy, and having their taxes done, and small-town firms still have lawyers getting ready to retire and looking for new lawyers willing to take over their practices or pick up some of the work they would rather not do anymore. The salaries many of these small-town lawyers earn would stun law school grads (not to mention the lower cost of living).

  • Guest

    I don’t know if this is also a consideration for JDs, but at many of the top business schools it is common for people to leave with a goal of starting their own company or doing a network-based job search to get a job within a start-up company, which will take more time. Therefore, I think it’s possible some of the employment at graduation statistics for top MBAs are understated.

  • Correct Principles

    Everyone should know that the farther down the list of top tier schools you go the better an MBA compares to an JD. If you can’t get into a top 100 Law School you’re wasting your time going to another one with the exception of people picking up a law degree to compliment another job focus. Or if you plan on going into business for yourself. So if you are a mediocre student avoid Law School.

  • Gerry Battersby

    This doesn’t take into account the number of business school graduates going into entrepreneurial ventures. I suppose that might be out of scope given that this is about job placement, but it is worth noting.