Which Law Schools Are the Most Liberal and Conservative?
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A new study reveals the relationship between law schools and their alumni’s political ideologies.

Summary: A recent study reveals the relationship between law schools and their alumni’s political ideologies.

In August 2015, Harvard’s Kennedy School published a study, “The Political Ideologies of Lawyers.” The study was the first of its kind to examine the political ideologies of attorneys and their alma maters.


Researchers examined the largest database of federal campaign contributions made by individuals since 1979 and compared it to the biggest database of attorneys in the United States–the Martindale-Hubbell directory. According to National Jurist, many were surprised to learn that law schools are not as divided as previously believed.

Per the report, “American lawyers lean to the left of the ideological spectrum. This places the average American lawyer’s ideology close to the ideology of Bill Clinton.”

Study shows most attorneys are liberal.

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Based on the type and size of the political donations made by its graduates, the most liberal schools in the country are Charlotte School of Law, Northern Illinois University and Howard University School of Law. Most of the country’s top schools also lean to the left.

For example, UC Berkeley came in at number 4; New York University was number 12; Yale Law School was number 18; Columbia Law School was number 20; Stanford was number 21; and the University of Pennsylvania was number 22.

The study adds, “Not only do all of the [top 14 law] schools lean to the left, the skew is fairly extreme in several of the schools. The most liberal schools are comprised of several of the top ranked law schools. . . . This suggests that many of the elite law schools are more liberal than law schools on average.”

Read about the political ideologies of elite schools here.

The study is aptly called “The Political Ideologies of American Lawyers,” and was conducted by professors from Stanford University, Harvard University, and the University of Chicago.

Adam Chilton, one of the authors and an assistant professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School, has commented that the results confirmed his predictions. He explains, “When we started the study, we assumed the evidence would suggest that lawyers in general are liberal. The study confirmed that. . . . Our data suggest that there are schools or firms that are conservative relative to others, but most of those institutions are liberal.”



According to TippingtheScales.com, just 31 out of the 200 schools surveyed leaned more to the right.

Two of the country’s top 14 law schools have a considerable chunk of conservative alumni. They are the University of Virginia School of Law, with 37 percent showing conservative campaign finance scores, and Duke Law, with 35 percent demonstrating conservative scores.

In 2012, the University of Iowa Law School was sued by a former student for liberal bias.

The study also looked at political beliefs and geography, practice specializations, and how law compares to other professions.

Are you surprised at these results?

View Results

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The most liberal and the most conservative law schools are:

Most Liberal Law School Graduates:

  1. Charlotte School of Law
  2. Northern Illinois University
  3. Howard University School of Law
  4. UC Berkeley School of Law
  5. UC Hastings
  6. Northeastern University
  7. Lewis & Clark Law School
  8. University of Oregon
  9. University of Maine
  10. University of Washington
  11. Texas Southern University
  12. New York University
  13. University of San Francisco
  14. Golden Gate University
  15. UCLA Law
  16. Seattle University
  17. Boston University
  18. Yale Law School
  19. University of Minnesota
  20. Columbia Law School
  21. Stanford Law School
  22. University of Pennsylvania
  23. University of Illinois
  24. University of New Mexico
  25. USC Gould School of Law

Most Conservative Law School Graduates:

  1. Brigham Young University
  2. Ave Maria School of Law
  3. University of Wyoming
  4. University of Mississippi
  5. Samford University (Cumberland)
  6. Charleston School of Law
  7. Louisiana State University
  8. Regent University
  9. Texas Tech University
  10. University of North Dakota
  11. University of Idaho
  12. Mississippi College
  13. University of South Carolina
  14. Mercer University
  15. Oklahoma City University
  16. Nashville School of Law (state accredited)
  17. Appalachian School of Law
  18. University of St. Thomas – Mn.
  19. University of Alabama
  20. University of Oklahoma
  21. University of South Dakota
  22. Ohio Northern University
  23. St. Mary’s University
  24. Texas A&M Law
  25. Baylor University

Source: National Jurist

Photo credit: care2.com, law.uchicago.edu (Chilton)





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