Law Students

Washington D.C. Area Law School Students More Interested in Big Law Firms
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Washington D.C.

Summary: More law students from the Washington D.C.-area law schools are becoming interested in large law firms as a career over government and public service.

Top Washington D.C. law schools are reporting that more of their students are interested in careers outside of government and public interest. According to ALM data, these students are turning to Big Law and work with corporations generally attracting business graduates.

Where reports that over 40 percent of Georgetown Law’s graduates last year entered into positions with the nation’s 100 largest law firms. Georgetown Law believes that number will continue to rise. Georgetown Law’s assistant dean for career strategy Marcia Pennington Shannon said, “We’re seeing our numbers climb in our interest in large law firms in Big Law. We do put a big emphasis on [Big Law careers] because we know it’s something that our students want.”

Last year Georgetown Law had over 270 graduates join Big Law firms. Georgetown Law had the largest group of these students go to Latham & Watkins, a total of 20 graduates. Latham & Watkins had a big year last year as well, becoming the first law firm to exceed $3 billion in annual revenue. Georgetown ended up being the firm’s largest feeder school in 2017 with Harvard Law coming in second. Shannon explained, “Latham’s been very involved here, so our students are seeing them and engaging with them.”

Students at Georgetown are immediately introduced to large law firms when they first arrive on campus. They have walk-around programs and receptions for the first-year law students to meet with the top law firms in the nation’s capital. This opportunity gives the students an ability to connect on a personal level with practicing lawyers at the firms. Shannon also explained that as a result of the program, more firms have made personal approaches to the students and these students have grown more concerned over the culture of the firms.

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Georgetown is not the only law school whose students are eyeing Big Law firms as an ideal career. George Washington University Law School students are also interested in Big Law. ALM data reports that last year, 18 percent or 108 of their graduates went to a top 100 law firm and that 33 percent are interested in Big Law as their career of choice.

GW Law director of employment outreach Katherine White said, “One trend we have noticed over the last several years is that a growing number of students are pursuing careers with employers that have historically recruited students from MBA programs, such as consulting firms, financial institutions and corporations.”

The firms were most GW Law students went were Kirkland & Ellis, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Howard University School of Law had 20 percent of their graduate’s last year end up with Big Law firms. Assistant Dean of career services Neil Dennis confirmed that the numbers for their second- and third-year students indicate that there are likely to be even more students opting for Big Law.

Why do you think Washington D.C. law students have become more interested in Big Law firms? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about the future of law schools and BigLaw, read these articles:




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