Law Schools with the Most Improved Employment Rates

  • Angelica Cancel was one of the growing number of students at Pace University to land a full-time, long-term job.

Pace, Drexel and CUNY have improved their employment rates the most since 2011. We took a look at what these and other top schools are doing to help their students land jobs.

It was the last week of July after her second year of law school, and Angelica Cancel’s summer internship at the Manhattan law office of Fried Frank was coming to an end. In a few weeks she would return to The Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University for her third and final year of law school.

But before she left, her supervisors had one more thing for her: an offer for full-time employment after graduation, which she, of course, accepted.

Landing a big law job prior to graduation was no easy feat, Cancel admits. In fact, she did not know if it would even be possible. When Cancel enrolled at Pace Law, the employment rate for recent graduates was only 62 percent, and Pace is not one of the go-to schools from which the nation's biggest law firms usually recruit.

“Of course I had concerns,” Cancel said. “I knew that I wanted to get a big law job, and doing that would be an uphill battle coming from Pace.”

As Cancel worked hard to increase her employability through internships and on-campus activities, Pace Law staff worked equally as hard to ensure its students would have better employment opportunities after graduation. While Cancel was enrolled, the schools employment rate rose to 82 percent. Pace Law is still not a top law school for employment, but this percentage earns it the accolade of the most improved school of employment nationwide. In five years, Pace Law’s employment rates improved by more than 28 percent.

Cancel’s success in securing employment prior to graduation is due to her strong work ethic and her willingness to seize upon new opportunities; however, she gives much credit to Pace Law’s career services office. Through on-campus interviews, informational meetings and networking events, Cancel was able to deftly approach new opportunities with the support of law school staff.

“It is so important to develop relationships with faculty and career services,” Cancel said. “When you are looking for a job, you want to have people in your corner.”

Pace Law is not unique in increasing employment outcomes for graduates. As the legal market continues to rebound closer to pre-recession levels, law schools big and small are bolstering employer outreach efforts and reconsidering their curriculum to strengthen graduate employability.

Looking at this year’s employment statistics to find the most improved employment rates, the National Jurist took into consideration all forms of post-graduation employment. The ratings were weighted, giving the most heft to full time jobs requiring bar passage. Other jobs, such as JD advantage jobs and other professional fields, received considering but with less emphasis.  What was most surprising was the number of law schools that have made significant leaps in employment outcomes. 

To see which schools made the biggest improvements in employment outcomes, and how they did it, read the full article here in the National Jurist Back to School 2017 issue.