These law schools aced the job market in 2022

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Students study in the Reading Room at Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington in Seattle Washington
Students study in the Reading Room at Suzzallo Library on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, Washington, U.S., September 20, 2018. Picture taken on September 20, 2018. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson
  • University of Virginia, Duke and Columbia sent the most recent graduates into law jobs
  • Public law schools also had a strong showing last year

(Reuters) - The University of Virginia School of Law had a banner year on the jobs front in 2022.

More than 95% of the school’s 2022 juris doctors secured permanent, full-time jobs that require passing the bar — the most among all 197 American Bar Association-accredited law schools, new figures show.

Virginia, with 95.41% of 2022 graduates in legal jobs, unseated Columbia Law School, which held the top spot for jobs among 2021 law graduates. It was a tight race at the top. Duke Law School, at 95.33%, and Columbia, at 95.21% came within a half-percentage point of Virginia's results. The University of Georgia School of Law and New York University School of Law round out the top five, with employment rates of 94.79% and 94.50%, respectively.

"Our students did an amazing job navigating the challenging market changes during the pandemic," said Kevin Donovan, senior assistant dean for career development at Virginia Law.

The ABA on Tuesday released a wealth of data on the class of 2022’s employment outcomes, and the numbers reflect a strong job market for those graduates. Nearly 78% of last year’s new juris doctors found employment that requires bar passage within 10 months of leaving campus — up from about 76% among the class of 2021. That employment rate was higher than the class of 2019, which was the last cohort to enter the job market before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reuters analyzed the ABA's numbers to determine which law schools’ grads fared the best on the entry-level job market. Eight of the so-called T-14 schools, ranked in the top 14 by U.S. News & World Report, were among the 20 schools with the highest percentage of 2021 graduates in permanent, full-time jobs that require bar passage. That’s down from 10 the previous year.

Public universities outside the T-14 made a particularly strong showing in 2022. Joining Georgia in the top 20 were the University of Kansas School of Law; the University of Iowa College of the Law; the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law; the University of Minnesota Law School; University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law; and Indiana University Maurer School of Law—Bloomington. Each posted a fulltime legal jobs rate of more than 90%.

Read more:

New lawyer hiring was up in 2022. Will 2023 law grads be so lucky?

These law schools crushed the job market in 2021

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Karen Sloan reports on law firms, law schools, and the business of law. Reach her at karen.sloan@thomsonreuters.com