America’s Top Legal Recruiter Ranks the Top Law Schools

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An expert legal recruiter ranks the top law schools based on his experiential assessment of the long-term employability of the schools’ graduates.

LawCrossing, one of the Internet’s largest legal job boards, has released a list of the best law schools measured in terms of the long-term employability of the schools’ graduates at law firms. View the article at

The list was authored by Harrison Barnes, an attorney of 20 years and owner of several successful legal recruiting companies. Barnes’ list ranks eleven law schools that are considered by many to be the best legal institutions in the United States. The list deliberately veers away from the usual metrics of hiring percentages and annual peer reviews such as those published by U.S. News, National Jurist and others.

Barnes’ list is based on the premise that law firm recruiters seek to hire graduates that plan on pursuing a long career with the firm and that have skill sets and personalities that complement the firm. Law firm recruiters do not necessarily want to hire graduates who are banking solely on their academic achievement and absent any other skills or experiences. Law school programs that train students regarding the practical habits and skills of being a licensed attorney, as well as encourage students to be business oriented are proven ways to receive a law firm recruiter’s attention.

Many of the law schools listed on these rankings are not strangers to these “Top Law Schools” lists, but what is important is not necessarily where they rank but why they are ranked in their current position. These rankings focus on the law school graduates’ abilities to assimilate into a law firm environment and provide high quality work product as part of a collaborative effort. In addition, the schools that put out graduates that work the hardest, that are the most intelligent, and that are capable of working effectively in a law firm environment in the long-run, are ranked the highest. Conversely, the graduates of top schools who are less prepared for working at a law firm or who have personality traits (due in part to the culture of the law school) that are not conducive to long-term productivity in that environment are ranked the lowest.

Among traditionally intellectual powerhouses, Stanford has ascended to first place along with Harvard at a close second, Columbia in fifth and Yale at a distant eighth. Although Yale has habitually reserved the top spot in many annual law school rankings by various publications, it fell to eighth on this list because of a perception Barnes has observed (that many in the legal community harbor) that some Yale graduates are not as employable as those from other top schools because of ego, a sense of entitlement, and an expectation of being coddled.

The University of Pennsylvania, another Ivy League school, was ranked seventh. New York University (ranked fourth) and the University of Chicago (ranked sixth) were ranked highly not only because of their excellent academic curricula, but also because the schools occupy strategic positions in large urban centers that provide their students with immediate access to the nation’s largest and most prestigious law firms.

Of increasing regional importance in the South, the University of Virginia has elevated all the way to third in this new ranking. In addition, the University of Michigan and Duke University, which rank ninth and eleventh respectively, are similar to the positions other publications rank these schools each year. Also on the list was the University of California Berkeley, which was ranked tenth.

Overall, the “Top Law Schools” according to Harrison Barnes and posted on are as follows:

1.    Stanford                 
2.    Harvard
3.    University of Virginia
4.    New York University
5.    Columbia
6.    University of Chicago
7.    University of Pennsylvania
8.    Yale
9.    University of Michigan
10.    University of California Berkeley
11.    Duke

About LawCrossing:

LawCrossing is an affiliate of Employment Research Institute, a powerful and comprehensive organization dedicated to helping professionals, as well as first timers, find jobs that will enhance their careers. LawCrossing consolidates every legal job opening it can find into one convenient location. LawCrossing has been on the Inc. 500 twice, which is an annually published list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. LawCrossing also offers a three-day free trial to new members.

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Andrew Ostler
Harrison Barnes PLC