Remember that kid from first grade who just couldn’t get his act together and start reading like the rest of us? Apparently that kid grew up to be The National Law Journal. In an article entitled Hiring from top schools steady in ’08, the Journal provides some watershed facts:
Despite the economic nosedive that began gaining momentum in 2008, the nation’s biggest law firms hired just about the same percentage of graduates from top schools last year as they did the year before.
At the same time, firms among The National Law Journal’s 2008 survey of the nation’s 250 largest law firms brought aboard more graduates from the 20 schools that they relied on the most, which themselves had larger classes.
Bigger classes? MORE hiring? Sounds good to me! But the Journal delivers its shocking conclusion:
The development suggests that law firms were not well positioned for the recession they now face.
Find out where the Journal has been living, after the jump.
While the tentativeness of the Journal’s conclusion suggests that the Journal, has, in fact, been living on the moon for the past several months, the article does provide some interesting information about alma maters that might be the worst hit by law firm layoffs:
Once again, Columbia Law School took the No. 1 spot as the school sending the highest percentage of its graduates directly to NLJ 250 firms. Among its 396 juris doctor graduates in 2008, 70.5% went to NLJ 250 law firms. In 2007, Columbia Law School sent 74.8% of its graduates to NLJ 250 law firms, and in 2006, 69.9% of the school’s students joined NLJ 250 firms directly after graduation.
Of course, just because Columbia sends the most graduates to law firms does not mean that those people are the ones being laid off. Or maybe it does. I actually have no idea. In any event, looks like all alma maters are being hit with layoffs, as firms have different hiring preferences:
Several top law firms showed a penchant for certain schools in their recruiting. For example, Harvard Law School was a big favorite for New York-based Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; it recruited 27 of its first-year associates from Harvard. Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis also recruited heavily from Harvard, bringing aboard 16 from the school, as did Washington-based Hogan & Hartson, which hired 13 Harvard graduates. O’Melveny & Myers hired 10 graduates from the school.
University of California at Los Angeles School of Law was a favorite of Latham & Watkins, which recruited 21 associates from that school. The nation’s largest law firm, DLA Piper, saw its highest concentration of first-year associates from University of Washington School of Law. Sidley Austin showed a preference for Fordham University School of Law, which provided the firm with 14 first-year associates. Baker & McKenzie and New York-based Dewey & LeBoeuf were popular destinations for New York University School of Law graduates. Baker & McKenzie brought on 10 graduates from there, and Dewey & LeBoeuf hired 12. Columbia Law School was a favorite of New York-based Weil, Gotshal & Manges, which recruited 14 of its graduates; O’Melveny & Myers, which hired 10; and Jones Day, which gave jobs to nine.
This is somewhat good news for students at places where firms do not recruit, such as Thomas M. Cooley Law School. After all, if you never get hired, you can never be fired.