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Northwestern Law Ranks No. 1

School holds top spot for percentage of graduates hired by big law firms

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February 24, 2010 | by Hilary Hurd Anyaso
CHICAGO --- The Northwestern University School of Law ranks No. 1 among the top 50 law schools for sending the highest percentage of graduates to first-year jobs at the country's largest firms.

"While the difficult economy continues to present immediate challenges to students hitting the job market, our placement in the top spot on this list is a testament to our strong reputation," said David Van Zandt, dean of the Northwestern University School of Law.

Northwestern Law sent 55.9 percent of its 2009 graduates to the country's 250 largest law firms, according to the National Law Journal (NLJ), which published its annual rankings earlier this week. This is the third consecutive year that the law school has appeared in the top five, ranking fifth in 2008 and second in 2007.

The current economy has created a challenging environment for both recent law school graduates and practicing attorneys. NLJ reports that in 2008 the highest percentage of graduates heading to the largest firms was 70.5 percent (Columbia Law School), adding that the 2009 percentages include associates whose start dates have been deferred. Therefore, an even smaller group actually went to work last year.

"During the past decade, a major component of our strategy has been to study the changes in the legal marketplace, to solicit employer feedback, and to adapt our programs and policies to ensure that our graduates are prepared for their careers better than those of any other law school," said Van Zandt.

NLJ's annual "Go-To Law School" list was compiled from recruiting information that law firms provided on the 2009 NLJ 250, the journal's annual survey of the nation's largest law firms.

Following are the top 10 law schools, as ranked by NLJ, and the corresponding percentages of their 2009 graduates hired by NLJ 250 law firms:

1.Northwestern University School of Law 55.9%
2. Columbia Law School 54.4%
3. Stanford Law School 54.1%
4. University of Chicago Law School 53.1%
5. University of Virginia School of Law 52.8%
6.  University of Michigan Law School 51%
7. University of Pennsylvania Law School 50.8%
8. New York University School of Law 50.1%
9. University of California, Berkeley School of Law 50%
10. Duke Law School 49.8%
Topics: University