Cleary

Why is he smiling? He landed a job at a top law firm.

If your goal in life, or at least your near-term career objective, is to land a job at a large law firm, which law schools would best suit your needs? When it comes to minting Biglaw associates and partners, not all law schools are created equal.

The National Law Journal has just come out with its annual survey of which schools the NLJ 250 law firms relied on most heavily when filling their first-year associate classes. The results are interesting — and also a little depressing.

We’ll start with the depressing part: hiring of top law school graduates continued to decline. As noted by Leigh Jones of the NLJ, “Hiring of graduates of the top law schools by the nation’s largest law firms slid by 10% during 2010 compared with 2009…. In 2010, the top 50 schools sent 3,822, or 27.3%, of their juris doctor graduates to NLJ 250 firms, compared with 30.3% of their 2009 graduating classes. The top 50 schools produced 13,989 graduates during 2010.”

Let’s look at the top 10 law schools, ranked by the percentage of their 2010 graduates who landed jobs at NLJ 250 firms (i.e., “Biglaw”)….

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This news shouldn’t come as a shock, since all the cool kids are doing it. But for the record, Cleary Gottlieb will be paying spring bonuses, following the top-of-the-market Cravath scale.

Cleary had previously announced spring bonuses on the Sullivan & Cromwell scale. In fact, CGSH was one of the first firms to follow S&C’s lead. But now that S&C’s spring bonus scale has been eclipsed, Cleary is stepping up to the plate and matching Cravath.

The news was announced today at an associate lunch, where Above the Law got a little shout-out….

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