America’s Most Liberal And Conservative Law Schools
Take a moment to think about former presidents of the United States. Now think about some senators and representatives active on a national and state level. What were their previous jobs before becoming politicians? More presidents were lawyers than any other profession. In fact, the majority of senate members are still lawyers. And that begs the question: How important are the political leanings for law schools in influencing our nation’s decision-makers?
This week, Quartz reported on Harvard research that examined a large dataset that tracks how much people donate to certain political candidates. The Harvard researchers then cross-referenced that dataset with a similar list that identifies all lawyers in the United States and calculated a “CFScore” to produce a -2 (extremely liberal) to 2 (extremely conservative) scale for a ranking of most liberal and most conservative law schools.
Overall, law schools trended on the liberal side. The average for all law schools was about -.5 and on the scale of famous politicians, was in-line with Bill Clinton (Alan Grayson was the extreme liberal and Ron Paul was extremely conservative). In fact, only 31 of the 200 schools examined had a more conservative graduate leaning.
The most liberal school based on donor behavior is the Charlotte School of Law with a score of -1.32. Next was Northern Illinois University at -1.26, which was followed by Howard University at -1.17. The most conservative school was Brigham Young University by a lot. BYU scored .828. The second-most conservative school was Florida-based Ave Maria University with a .555. Third was the University of Wyoming with a score of .426.
All of the Tier 14 schools had liberal leanings, but the majority fell outside of extremely liberal. The University of California, Berkeley had the most liberal leaning out of the top schools (4th overall), with a score of -1.15. A slew of top schools were further down the liberal list with Yale, Columbia, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania ranking as the 18th, 20th, 21st, and 23rd most liberal schools, respectively.
If political leaning is a factor in your law school pursuits, the results clearly point to geographic regions. The majority of the schools ranked on the conservative list either come from the Bible Belt of the South or have religious affiliations. Meanwhile, the majority of the liberal schools to make the list come from the Northeast and West Coast.
Here is a list of the most liberal and conservative law schools: