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Top Feeders to Law School (JD Programs)

Updated July 2021

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 nearly 8,000 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, Berkeley236UC Berkeley School of LawStanford Law School
2Cornell University222Cornell Law SchoolUniversity of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
3Harvard University216Yale Law SchoolHarvard Law School
4Yale University215Yale Law SchoolStanford Law School
5University of Michigan180University of Michigan Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
6University of Pennsylvania175University of Pennsylvania Carey Law SchoolStanford Law School
7University of California, Los Angeles173UC Berkeley School of LawHarvard Law School
8Columbia University166Columbia Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
9Georgetown University147UC Berkeley School of LawHarvard Law School
10University of Chicago143University of Chicago Law SchoolColumbia Law School
10Duke University 143Duke University School of LawStanford Law School
12Princeton University136New York University School of LawColumbia Law School
13University of Virginia135University of Virginia School of LawColumbia Law School
14New York University130University of Pennsylvania Carey Law SchoolNew York University School of Law
15Stanford University129Stanford Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
16Northwestern University126Northwestern University Pritzker School of LawHarvard Law School
17University of Southern California112University of Chicago Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
18Washington University in St. Louis104University of Michigan Law SchoolUniversity of Chicago Law School
19University of Florida99New York University School of LawCornell Law School
20Brown University92Harvard Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
21University of Texas at Austin90UC Berkeley School of LawDuke University School of Law
22Vanderbilt University85Duke University School of LawGeorgetown University Law Center
23University of Maryland, College Park75University of Virginia School of LawGeorgetown University Law Center
24Emory University70New York University School of LawUniversity of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
24University of Notre Dame70University of Michigan Law SchoolHarvard Law School
24Boston College70Duke University School of LawGeorgetown University Law Center
27Dartmouth College67Harvard Law SchoolStanford Law School
27George Washington University67University of Virginia School of LawHarvard Law School
29University of California, San Diego66UC Berkeley School of LawCornell Law School
29University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill66Duke University School of LawUniversity of Virginia School of Law

 

Top Feeder Rankings (adjusted for undergraduate enrollment)

Rank (Adjusted)Institution#JD GraduatesTop Law School (#1)Top Law School (#2)
1Yale University215Yale Law SchoolStanford Law School
2Princeton University136New York University School of LawColumbia Law School
3Amherst College41UC Berkeley School of LawYale Law School
4Harvard University216Yale Law SchoolHarvard Law School
5University of Chicago143University of Chicago Law SchoolColumbia Law School
6Duke University143Duke University School of LawStanford Law School
7Columbia University166Columbia Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
8Georgetown University147UC Berkeley School of LawHarvard Law School
9Pomona College31UC Berkeley School of LawStanford Law School
10Yeshiva University50New York University School of LawColumbia Law School
11Stanford University129Stanford Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
12Claremont McKenna College24Stanford Law SchoolNew York University School of Law
13Swarthmore College26Yale Law SchoolColumbia Law School
14Barnard College40New York University School of LawGeorgetown University Law Center
15Dartmouth College67Harvard Law SchoolStanford Law School
16University of Pennsylvania175University of Pennsylvania Carey Law SchoolStanford Law School
17Cornell University222Cornell Law SchoolUniversity of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
18Northwestern University126Northwestern University Pritzker School of LawHarvard Law School
19Williams College30Yale Law SchoolUniversity of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
20Wesleyan University43New York University School of LawUniversity of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
21Rice University56University of Chicago Law SchoolStanford Law School
22Washington University in St. Louis104University of Michigan Law SchoolUniversity of Chicago Law School
23Brown University92Harvard Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
24Vanderbilt University85Duke University School of LawGeorgetown University Law Center
25Bowdoin College22Columbia Law SchoolUC Berkeley School of Law
26Washington and Lee University22University of Virginia School of LawHarvard Law School
27Tufts University64Georgetown University Law CenterNorthwestern University Pritzker School of Law
28Brandeis University40New York University School of LawHarvard Law School
29Colgate University31New York University School of LawUniversity of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
30Bryn Mawr College14New York University School of LawColumbia 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 56% graduated from colleges categorized as “Most Selective” or “Extremely Selective.” However, 24% 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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