Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

What the "Super Lawyer" Ranking of Law Schools Would Look Like...

...if the editors had not been drinking theThomas Cooley kool aid that rewards big schools for being, well, big.   Amazingly, they produced a list of schools that graduated the most "super lawyers" without making any effort to take account of the fact that, e.g., Harvard has graduated more than twice as many lawyers as Yale over the past thirty years.  The list has another peculiarity, which is that it is not a list of "super lawyers" per se but of "super" lawyers in each region of the country, thus any law school that dominates its region (and doesn't get much competition from the elite law schools) fares, shall we say, surprisingly well.

Relatively few schools have changed their class size radically over the past generation, though some got bigger in the 1960s and 1970s, while others scaled back a bit more recently.   Still, if we use as a rough control for class size the recent class sizes rounded to the nearest 50, we get a top fifteen for graduating "super lawyers" (total number of super lawyers divided by the recent class size figure) as follows:

1.  Harvard University (6.44)

2.  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (5.89)

3.  University of Texas, Austin (5.81)

4.  Yale University (5.43)

5.  University of California, Berkeley (5.25)

6.  University of Virginia (5.20)

7.  University of Chicago (4.83)

8.  University of Minnesota (4.55)

9.  Duke University (4.18)

9.  Stanford University (4.18)

9.  University of Pennsylvania (4.20)

12.  Vanderbilt University (4.08)

13.  Boston University (3.91)

13.  University of California, Los Angeles (3.93)

15.  University of Florida, Gainesville (3.81)

Columbia clocks in with a 3.57, NYU with a 3.40, Cornell with a 3.65, Northwestern with a 3.58, Georgetown with a 2.88, SMU with a 3.73, Hastings with a 3.06, Boston College with a 3.64, and George Washington with a 1.78.

Make of this what you will!

UPDATE:  A reader points out that Northwestern Law Dean David Van Zandt also produced a "per capita" ranking, though I've no idea how he was calculating the per capita figure given the results he got.  More shocking is the entirely self-serving decision to limit his listing to the nonsense "top 14" category, which had the effect of excluding a lot of schools--including peer schools like Texas--that would have ranked ahead of Northwestern.  Wow! 

http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2009/11/what-the-super-lawyer-ranking-of-law-schools-would-look-like.html

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Tracked on Nov 19, 2009 4:37:48 PM