Which Schools Produce The Most Super Lawyers?

The Winners
Let’s start with these Top 20 powers: The University of Texas at Austin and Georgetown. Although Texas-Austin ranks #15 on U.S. News, they’ve graduated enough super lawyers to hit #3. Similarly, Georgetown comes in a spot ahead of Texas-Austin on U.S. News and #5 on the Super Lawyers list. While Michigan barely makes the top 10 according to U.S. News, it ranks behind only Harvard when it comes to the number of alumni recommended by their legal peers. You can safely bet that the adcoms at these schools, present and past, are smiling right now.
Of course, other law schools have plenty of reason to grin too. George Washington may not have made U.S. News’ top 20, but they’re a cut above powerhouses like Stanford, Northwestern, UCLA, and Vanderbilt when it comes to churning out super lawyers. And there were ten schools not ranked among U.S. News’ Top 30 who made Super Lawyers’ Top 30 list.
What’s more, the University of Florida, the University of Miami, the University of California-Hastings, and Boston College are all considered top 20 schools according to the attorneys who recommend their peers to Super Lawyers. In fact, Florida ranks #8, ahead of #1 ranked Yale on the U.S. News rankings. Special props go out to the University of Miami, which ranks #76 on U.S. News and #20 based on Super Lawyers data. And don’t forget Loyola of California. Despite being #68 on U.S. News, they slip into the Super Lawyers Top 30 at #29.
The Conclusion
Certainly, you could argue that some top attorneys could care less about being recognized by Super Lawyers (or nominating their peers, for that matter). The highest-ranked schools may also send more graduates into public service, in-house counsel, or academia, where they may not receive such recognition from fellow attorneys. Even more, the rankings are subjective, reflective of a popularity contest and even awareness of the Super Lawyers brand.
Still, they may indicate something more: The assessments of the elite academics, judges, and attorneys – on whom U.S. News relies for assessments – may be out-of-step with the rank-and-file attorneys who work (and compete) with each other every day. Nominating fellow attorneys as a super lawyer entails respect for their skill, demeanor, and integrity. And that comes more from the right training and experience than from mastering cases or the Socratic Method.
Is it any surprise that three of U.S. News’ top eight trial advocacy schools (Temple, Loyola, and Georgetown) had far higher peer rankings from Super Lawyers?  The same is true of the top clinical training programs, where two of the top six schools (Michigan and Georgetown) were ranked #2 and #5 respectively by Super Lawyers. These schools don’t just teach legal theory. They prepare flesh-and-blood lawyers.
If anything, the Super Lawyers data reminds us of one truth: It’s not where you start, but where you end up that truly matters. Pedigree may get graduates into the door. Ultimately, it’s performance that earns the respect and trust of peers.

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