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Northwestern, Chicago Law Schools Tops for New Grads Landing Jobs at Big Firms

The National Law Journal said that in 2011, fewer graduates went to the nation's largest firms than the previous year.

February 28, 2012
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Two Chicago-area law schools were in the top 10 in the nation for the percentage of recent graduates who went on to work at the country's largest law firms.


Northwestern University's School of Law ranked second in the National Law Journal's list, which was released this week. The rankings showed that 52.1 percent of its 2011 graduates were hired as first-year associates at one of the 250 largest firms in the nation. The National Law Journal compiles its largest law firms lists based on headcount.


University of Chicago's Law School was ranked No. 7 with a 45.3 percent placement rate for graduates going to the nation's largest firms.


University of Pennsylvania's Law School topped the list with 56.9 percent of its 2011 graduating class getting jobs at the biggest firms.


Chicago was the 2010 top seed, when 58.97 percent of its 2010 law graduates were hired by one of nation's largest firms. Northwestern ranked eighth in 2010 with a 44.37 percent rate.


The ratings do not reflect a school's overall placement record. The National Law Journal ranking excludes the number of graduates who get clerkships, go into academia, are hired by small firms or enter public service.


(In 2010, Northwestern's job placement rate was 94 percent. University of Chicago boasted a nearly 98 percent rate for 2010 law school graduates.)


The National Law Journal said that in 2011, fewer graduates went to the nation's largest firms than the previous year. Only 22 percent of students from the 50 schools that are the most popular recruiting bases for the largest firms were hired as first-year associates, compared with 27 percent in 2010.


University of Illinois, University of Notre Dame and University of Wisconsin also made the list. University of Illinois was ranked No. 29 with a 11.1 percent placement rate at large firms, while University of Notre Dame was No. 23 with 13.7 percent. University of Wisconsin came in at No. 44 with 7.1 percent.

Filed by Lorene Yue of Crain’s Chicago Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email


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