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Top Feeders to Law School (JD Programs)

Updated June 2020

Aspiring lawyers know that excellent undergraduate grades and superb LSAT scores are the primary keys to getting into an elite law school. However, the undergraduate school that you attend can also play a role in the law school admissions process. Attending an elite law school can be particularly important because many of the best clerkships and post-graduation offers of employment will go to alumni with a prestigious academic resume.

The two lists that follow showcase the top 30 “feeder” schools into the most highly-ranked JD programs. On the first list, for each school, we look at the raw number of students who go on to attend elite JD programs, as well as the two JD programs enrolling the most graduates from that undergraduate school. The second list looks at the top 30 producers when adjusted for a school’s undergraduate enrollment, which allows us to highlight schools that may be smaller in size, but that still send a consistent flow of graduates to the world’s premier law schools.

In order to identify "top feeder” colleges, we relied on publicly available data from LinkedIn, a professional networking site featuring profiles of approximately 170 million workers across the United States. Specifically, we identified and analyzed the undergraduate backgrounds of more than 4700 individuals who enrolled at 14 of America’s most reputable JD programs, including those at Yale University, Stanford University, Harvard University, Columbia University, University of Chicago, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, Northwestern University, University of California Berkeley, University of Michigan, Duke University, Cornell University, and Georgetown University.

Top Feeder Rankings (by total graduates enrolled)

Rank (Total)Institution#JD GraduatesTop Law School (#1)Top Law School (#2)
1University of California, Berkeley156UC Berkeley School of LawStanford Law School
2Harvard University128Yale Law SchoolHarvard Law School
3Yale University127Yale Law SchoolStanford Law School
4University of California, Los Angeles118UC Berkeley School of LawHarvard Law School
5Cornell University117Cornell Law SchoolUniversity of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
6University of Pennsylvania99University of Pennsylvania Carey Law SchoolStanford Law School
7University of Michigan96University of Michigan Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
8Duke University95Duke University School of LawStanford Law School
9Georgetown University87UC Berkeley School of LawHarvard Law School
10Columbia University86Columbia Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
11University of Virginia86University of Virginia School of LawColumbia Law School
12Stanford University78Stanford Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
13Northwestern University78Northwestern University Pritzker School of LawHarvard Law School
14New York University75University of Pennsylvania Carey Law SchoolNew York University School of Law
15Princeton University74New York University School of LawColumbia Law School
16University of Chicago72University of Chicago Law SchoolColumbia Law School
17University of Southern California63University of Chicago Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
18The University of Texas at Austin63UC Berkeley School of LawDuke University School of Law
19Washington University in St. Louis60University of Michigan Law SchoolUniversity of Chicago Law School
20Brown University50Harvard Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
21Vanderbilt University49Duke University School of LawGeorgetown University Law Center
22University of Florida48New York University School of LawCornell Law School
23George Washington University46University of Virginia School of LawHarvard Law School
24University of Notre Dame45University of Michigan Law SchoolHarvard Law School
25Emory University44New York University School of LawUniversity of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
26University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill43Duke University School of LawUniversity of Virginia School of Law
27Brigham Young University43University of Chicago Law SchoolHarvard Law School
28University of Maryland43University of Virginia School of LawGeorgetown University Law Center
29Dartmouth College41Harvard Law SchoolStanford Law School
30University of California, San Diego38UC Berkeley School of LawCornell Law School

 

Top Feeder Rankings (adjusted for undergraduate enrollment)

Rank (Adjusted)Institution#JD GraduatesTop Law School (#1)Top Law School (#2)
1Yale University127Yale Law SchoolStanford Law School
2Amherst College28UC Berkeley School of LawYale Law School
3Duke University95Duke University School of LawStanford Law School
4Princeton University74New York University School of LawColumbia Law School
5Harvard University128Yale Law SchoolHarvard Law School
6Georgetown University87UC Berkeley School of LawHarvard Law School
7Stanford University78Stanford Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
8University of Chicago72University of Chicago Law SchoolColumbia Law School
9Columbia University86Columbia Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
10Pomona College16UC Berkeley School of LawStanford Law School
11Yeshiva University27New York University School of LawColumbia Law School
12Dartmouth College41Harvard Law SchoolStanford Law School
13Claremont McKenna College12Stanford Law SchoolNew York University School of Law
14Northwestern University78Northwestern University Pritzker School of LawHarvard Law School
15University of Pennsylvania99University of Pennsylvania Carey Law SchoolStanford Law School
16Washington University in St. Louis60University of Michigan Law SchoolUniversity of Chicago Law School
17Cornell University117Cornell Law SchoolUniversity of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
18Bowdoin College14Columbia Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
19Washington and Lee University14University of Virginia School of LawHarvard Law School
20Wesleyan University22New York University School of LawUC Berkeley School of Law
21Rice University29University of Chicago Law SchoolStanford Law School
22Vanderbilt University49Duke University School of LawGeorgetown University Law Center
23Brown University50Harvard Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
24Bates College13University of Pennsylvania Carey Law SchoolYale Law School
25Swarthmore College11Yale Law SchoolColumbia Law School
26Williams College14Yale Law SchoolUniversity of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
27Barnard College17New York University School of LawGeorgetown University Law Center
28Middlebury College16Harvard Law SchoolDuke University School of Law
29Emory University44New York University School of LawUniversity of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
30Brandeis University22New York University School of LawHarvard Law School

 

Does institutional selectivity matter?

When applying to law school, yes, it appears that institutional selectivity does in fact play a role. In our sample, of the students who went on to enroll at America’s best JD programs, approximately 57% graduated from colleges categorized as “Most Selective” or “Extremely Selective.” However, 23% of elite law school students in our sample did graduate from schools indicated as minimally selective or non-selective, suggesting that attendance at a highly selective undergraduate college or university isn’t a prerequisite to earning a top-flight JD. Click here to see how we group colleges by selectivity.

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