Law Schools Sneakily Boost Placement Rates


Law School Placement Rates: The Real Figures


Sure, rankings are important, but in the end, students are investing three years (and six figures) for a return. And that return can be summed up in one word: Jobs.

So which schools are the best (and worst) at helping students land them? This week, Gary Rosin, a professor of law at the South Texas College of Law, answered that question.

In a series of posts on The Faculty Lounge, Rosin clarifies an employment rubric for entry-level attorneys in the ABA’s “Bar passage required, full-time, long-term” category. By this, the ABA means these positions require 35 or more hours of work per week and don’t have fixed end dates. In other words, it isn’t temporary contract work.

From working with this data, which was supplied by the ABA for the Class of 2012, Rosin noticed something: The employment rates included law school-funded jobs. For example, George Washington Law reported an 81% full-time employment rate for new grads. However, Rosin’s research found that 21% of those positions were funded by George Washington Law. As a result, 2012 grads of George Washington technically have a net employment rate of 60%.

Rosin notes that two-thirds of law schools don’t fund these internal positions. However, he adds that 10 schools increased their placement rates by 5% or more by folding in school-funded positions. The University of Virginia, NYU, Columbia, and the University of Chicago used this method to increase their employment rates by 14.8%, 12%, 8.1%, and 7.9% respectively.

So which schools have the highest net placement rates? Here are the top 10 performers:

RankSchoolReportedFunded Net
1.University of Pennsylvania94%3%92%
2.Stanford University91%2%89%
3.University of Chicago95%8%87%
4.University of California-Berkeley86%0%86%
5.Columbia University93%8%85%
5.Cornell University86%1%85%
5.Duke University85%0%85%
5.Harvard University87%3%85%
9.University of California-Irvine84%0%84%
10.University of Michigan82%1%82%


Please note that this chart doesn’t weigh other variables, such as starting salaries. The numbers are also rounded to the nearest whole number.

And which schools performed the worst? Here are the bottom 10 schools:

RankSchoolReportedFunded Net
187TWhittier College34%0%34%
187TWestern New England University34%0%34%
189Western State University33%0%33%
190University of Detroit-Mercy30%0%30%
191TThomas Jefferson School of Law29%0%29%
191TThomas M. Cooley Law School29%0%29%
193TNorth Carolina Central University26%0%26%
193TDistrict of Columbia26%0%26%
195TUniversity of Massachusetts-Dartmouth30%7%23%
195TUniversity of San Francisco23%0%23%
197Golden Gate University22%0%22%


To see how your law school fared, click here.

Sources: Faculty Lounge, Faculty Lounge