Want to Make Partner in a Big Law Firm? Get a Law Degree from This School
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Summary: Big Law Business looked at the newly promoted partners at high ranking law firms to determine if the source of their law degrees made a difference into being promoted or not.

The assumption that a prestigious law degree is what it takes to be successful at a large law firm may be correct. With the number of new partner classes being announced at law firms, the timing was perfect to look into how many held law degrees from prestigious law schools.


The examination of the numbers seems to show that there is a connection between the school you go to and your chances of making partner in a big law firm. Big Law Business looked at 299 lawyers that are being promoted to partners at AmLaw 100 and 200 firms between October 1 2015 and Jan 2016. Of the new partners at the top-grossing law firms, seven percent have law degrees from Harvard, which turns out to be the top university of choice among the firms that enlisted these advancing lawyers. The second top choice was New York University School of Law, which made up five percent of the new partners.

Stumping the assumption is the fact that four percent of the new partners come from schools that are ranked 100 or below on the U.S. News and World Reports law school rankings for this year. These schools include Gonzaga University, Columbus School of Law at Catholic University, DePaul University, Suffolk University, Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Widener University School of Law and more.

The promotions looked at are from Kirkland & Ellis with 90 associates being promoted, White & Case with 31, Latham & Watkins with 25, King & Spalding with 24, Morgan Lewis & Bockius with 24, Polsinelli with 24, Goodwin Procter with 23, Ropes & Gray with 17, Bryan Cave with 11, Covington & Burling with nine, Cleary Gottlieb with seven, Fenwick & West with six, Sullivan & Cromwell with six, and two at Wiley Rein.

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While Kirkland & Ellis skews the data with three times as many being promoted to their non-equity partner class, there are other factors that need to be looked at to fully understand the importance of where a lawyer’s law degree is acquired.

Overall, highly ranked law schools do seem to determine whether or not a law firm with higher profitability take a look at the graduates or not.

On the other hand, where you went to law school is not always the most important thing law firms look at. Learn more in the following article:

10 Factors That Matter to Big Firms More Than Where You Went to Law School: Why the Law School You Went to Ultimately Does Not Matter as Much as You Think It Does to Major Law Firms




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