Earning a law degree was once a sure-fire path to a successful and lucrative career. Law school enrollment remains high, but an oversaturation of lawyers has left graduates struggling in the job market. Even the grads who find jobs aren’t guaranteed a six-figure salary, leaving many stuck under a mountain of student debt.
Which is why Business Insider’s recently released list of the 50 best law schools in the country focused on the institutions that lead to top jobs in the legal world. The ranking primarily homed in on the percentage of graduates who land full-time, long-term, highly coveted jobs, which we narrowed down to two things: positions at big law firms and federal clerkships.
Landing a spot at a large firm all but guarantees financial success — big firms pay significantly more than small ones. And the mega firms tend to play follow-the-leader when it comes to compensation: After a prominent New York City firm raised its base starting salary to $180,000 last month, many other big names followed suit.
We culled data from the American Bar Association to find the schools that funnel the highest percentage of graduates into the largest law firms — those with more than 500 employees. We used overall rank on our main list as a tiebreaker. Read on to see which law schools send the most graduates these companies.
Additional reporting by Kaitlyn Yarborough and Alexa Pipia.
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25. Emory University
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Percent of graduates who secure jobs at law firms with over 500 employees: 17%
Bar passage rate: 89%
Median LSAT score: 165
Seventy-five percent of Emory Law’s more than 300 graduates secured long-term, full-time jobs requiring bar passage. The private school, which is known for its public service law program, costs $51,510 per year.
24. University of Notre Dame
Location: South Bend, Indiana
Percent of graduates who secure jobs at law firms with over 500 employees: 20%
Bar passage rate: 84%
Median LSAT score: 164
The University of Notre Dame law school encourages students to extend their education outside of the US and offers several opportunities to study abroad, including stays at Notre Dame’s programs in London, Chile, or Italy. Grads join the ranks of successful alumni, such as Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano.
23. Washington University in St. Louis
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 32%
Bar passage rate: 86%
Median LSAT score: 167
Post-graduation, a full 100% of Wash U Law graduates who were seeking a job secured one last year, with 76% of those positions requiring a law degree. This can be chalked up in part to Wash U’s myriad of opportunities for students to gain real-world experience, including a selection of nine externship opportunities, 18 clinical courses, and six trial teams and moot courts where students can put their skills to the test.