Most liberal and conservative law schools

Which law schools are the most liberal and which are the most conservative?

For the first time, a study provides a clear picture of the political ideologies of lawyers and their alma maters. And legal education is not as bipartisan as one might have thought.

“American lawyers lean to the left of the ideological spectrum,” the study reads. “This places the average American lawyer’s ideology close to the ideology of Bill Clinton.”

Researchers matched the largest database of federal campaign contributions made by individuals since 1979, with the Martindale-Hubbell directory, the largest database of lawyers in the country.

Charlotte School of Law, Northern Illinois University and Howard University School of Law are the most liberal law schools in the study. Many of the nation’s most prestigious law schools also skewed heavily to the left.

UC Berkeley School of Law ranked fourth in the study, followed by New York University at No. 12; Yale Law School at No. 18; Columbia Law School at no. 20; Stanford at No. 21; and University of Pennsylvania at No. 22.

“Not only do all of the [top 14 law] schools lean to the left, the skew is fairly extreme in several of the schools,” the study reads. “The most liberal schools are comprised of several of the top ranked law schools … This suggests that many of the elite law schools are more liberal than law schools on average.”

The study, titled “The Political Ideologies of American Lawyers,” comes from professors of political science, law and public policy from Stanford University, University of Chicago and Harvard University respectively. Adam Chilton, one of the study’s authors and an assistant professor law at the University of Chicago Law School, said the study’s results confirmed his initial hypothesis.

“When we started the study, we assumed the evidence would suggest that lawyers in general are liberal,” he said. “The study confirmed that … Our data suggest that there are schools or firms that are conservative relative to others, but most of those institutions are liberal.”

Two of the top 14 law schools have a sizeable percentage of graduates with conservative alumni. For University of Virginia School of Law alumni, 37 percent have conservative campaign finance scores, while 35 percent of Duke Law alumni have conservative scores.

Of the top conservative schools, 10 are religiously affiliated. The majority of these schools are located in traditionally conservative geographical areas. 

The study also examined political ideologies of attorneys based on practice specializations, geography and in comparison to other professional fields. New graduates interested in Big Law can use this data to evaluate which law firms would be best aligned their own political values. 

Most Liberal Law School Graduates:

  1. Charlotte School of Law
  2. Northern Illinois University
  3. Howard University School of Law
  4. UC Berkeley School of Law
  5. UC Hastings
  6. Northeastern University
  7. Lewis & Clark Law School
  8. University of Oregon
  9. University of Maine
  10. University of Washington
  11. Texas Southern University
  12. New York University
  13. University of San Francisco
  14. Golden Gate University
  15. UCLA Law
  16. Seattle University
  17. Boston University
  18. Yale Law School
  19. University of Minnesota
  20. Columbia Law School
  21. Stanford Law School
  22. University of Pennsylvania
  23. University of Illinois
  24. University of New Mexico
  25. USC Gould School of Law

Most Conservative Law School Graduates:

  1. Brigham Young University
  2. Ave Maria School of Law
  3. University of Wyoming
  4. University of Mississippi
  5. Samford University (Cumberland)
  6. Charleston School of Law
  7. Louisiana State University
  8. Regent University
  9. Texas Tech University     
  10. University of North Dakota
  11. University of Idaho
  12. Mississippi College
  13. University of South Carolina
  14. Mercer University
  15. Oklahoma City University
  16. Nashville School of Law (state accredited)
  17. Appalachian School of Law
  18. University of St. Thomas – Mn.
  19. University of Alabama
  20. University of Oklahoma
  21. University of South Dakota
  22. Ohio Northern University
  23. St. Mary's University
  24. Texas A&M Law
  25. Baylor University

 

 

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