Destinations of Top 5 Law School Grads by Firm, Location and Practice Area

Where do recent graduates (’17 – ’19) of Yale, Harvard, Stanford, University of Chicago, and Columbia end up?  Check out the interactive graphs below to find out.  All data provided by Firm Prospects, LLC.

Law Firms

As displayed in Figure 1. below, Skadden ranks in the top 5 for all schools evaluated, with almost 8% of recent graduates tracked by Firm Prospects* from both Stanford and University of Chicago, and greater than 5% of all recent grads from the remaining 3 schools, at the firm. Davis Polk ranks in the top 5 for three of the schools evaluated, Yale, Columbia and Stanford.  Wachtell shows an affinity for Yale grads, in a tie for second with Davis Polk at almost 7% of the grads from New Haven while Cravath hires 5% of grads from Harvard and Columbia.  For more info, click and scroll through the interactive graph below.

Figure 1.


As to location of preference, Figure 2. below reveals, not unexpectedly, that New York City is the most common major metropolitan destination, by far, for the the students of these five law schools.  The data reveal, however, that there is also a correlation between where the school is located and where the students end up.  For example, almost 80% of recent graduates from Columbia are in New York City, as opposed to Yale and Harvard graduates, which sent 54% and 48% of their recent grads, respectively, to the Big Apple.  Similarly, 52% of recent Stanford grads stay in California, whereas only about 15% of recent Harvard grads head to the West Coast.

Figure 2.

Practice Areas

As shown in Figure 3. below, for all law schools evaluated, corporate and litigation are by far the most commonly chosen practice areas, due in no small part to those two areas making up a majority of the practices at large law firms in general. What is interesting to see, though, is that most of the schools have a relatively even split between corporate work and litigation, except for Yale, where nearly 56% of its recent grads went into a litigation practice while less than 14% went into a corporate practice.  Other practice areas that round out the top spots are: IP, tax, banking and bankruptcy.

Figure 2.

*The percentages listed above include only graduates tracked by Firm Prospects into one of the ~2,700 firms covered by it’s database, which includes secondary moves from clerkships or non-law firm positions, but it does not include graduates outside of its database.