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What are the Most Liberal and Most Conservative Elite Law Schools?
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Summary: We have a list of the most liberal and most conservative elite law schools in today’s post. 


In an effort to determine which elite law schools are conservative and which ones are liberal, FiveThirtyEight Politics used two sets of data that included current and former law clerks and justice ideology.

Those who work as clerks for justices typically earn roughly $75,000 per year performing multiple duties. These duties include culling thousands of petitions for certiorari and help with the research and drafting of opinions.

To read more about clerkships, click here.

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But, those who clerk for justices typically acquire signing bonuses of $300,000 when moving to big law firms.

The top 11 law schools based on the number of clerks produced shows that clerkships are concentrated in a handful of the country’s elite law schools.

The top six law schools on the list account for a little more than two-thirds of all the clerkships with the United States Supreme Court.

The law schools at Harvard and Yale account for more than 42 percent of all the clerkships listed in this table.

The other data set is from Andrew Martin at the University of Michigan and Kevin Quinn at the University of California, Berkeley. The two men are political scientists. They created the Martin-Quinn scores, which quantify the ideologies of the Supreme Court justices on a spectrum of left-right politics. The justices are graded based on the opinions they submitted during their tenure.

To read more about the Supreme Court, click here.

The data pretty much says what Justice Clarence Thomas has said in the past, “I won’t hire clerks who have profound disagreements with me. It’s like trying to train a pig. It wastes your time, and it aggravates the pig.”

According to the data compiled by FiveThirtyEight Politics, Berkeley is the most liberal law school among the elite group. The most conservative law school among the elite is that of University of Virginia.

The top 11 law schools that produced the most clerks are as follows:

  1. Harvard: 432 clerks and 19 Supreme Court justices
  2. Yale: 316 clerks and 10 Supreme Court justices
  3. Chicago: 136 clerks and 0 Supreme Court justices
  4. Stanford: 116 clerks and 2 Supreme Court justices
  5. Columbia: 98 clerks and 7 Supreme Court justices
  6. Virginia: 93 clerks and 2 Supreme Court justices
  7. Michigan: 72 clerks and 3 Supreme Court justices
  8. Berkeley: 45 clerks and 1 Supreme Court justice
  9. NYU: 42 clerks and 0 Supreme Court justices
  10. Northwestern: 37 clerks and 2 Supreme Court justices
  11. Penn: 37 clerks and 1 Supreme Court justice

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Image credit: Harvard Law School



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