Chicago Leads Again: The Law Schools That Defined Federal Clerk Hiring in 2023

In the realm of legal academia, the University of Chicago Law School has reaffirmed its dominance, clinching the top spot yet again as the premier producer of federal judicial clerks. In a landscape shaped by prestige and competition, Chicago Law’s achievement stands as a testament to its enduring excellence.

According to freshly released data from the American Bar Association, Chicago Law propelled an impressive 25.35% of its 2023 juris doctor graduates into coveted federal clerkships. This marks a triumphant return for the institution, reclaiming its throne after a brief hiatus at the third position in 2022.

Yale Law School, a perennial contender, secured the runner-up position in 2023, boasting a commendable 24.11% clerkship rate. Following closely behind was Stanford Law School, with 20.77% of its graduates making their mark in federal clerkships. Not to be overlooked, the University of Notre Dame Law School and the University of Michigan Law School rounded out the top five, each contributing significantly to the elite echelon of federal clerks.

Federal clerkships, coveted for their prestige and as stepping stones to esteemed positions such as judgeships and law professorships, remain elusive opportunities in the legal landscape. Despite comprising just 3.4% of the 35,215 JD graduates nationwide in 2023, these positions are disproportionately monopolized by a select few law schools.

In a testament to their influence, the top 10 law schools accounted for a staggering one-third of all federal clerks nationwide. Notably, Harvard Law School, while not claiming the top spot in percentage, produced the largest absolute number of federal clerks in 2023, further solidifying its status as a powerhouse in legal education.

Yet, amidst the accolades, the landscape is not devoid of controversy. Conservative federal circuit court judges, James Ho and Elizabeth Branch, made headlines with their decisions to boycott Yale and Stanford law students as clerks following protests of conservative speakers. However, these boycotts did not extend to students who graduated in 2023, as most hiring decisions were made prior to the implementation of the boycotts.

As the legal arena continues to evolve, the saga of federal clerk hiring underscores the enduring influence of a select cadre of law schools, where excellence converges with opportunity on the grand stage of legal academia.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Scroll to Top