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Over 90 percent of 2017 Penn Law graduates are employed in jobs that require passing the bar exam, a higher rate than many top law schools, according to this year's annual American Bar Association report on law school employment outcomes.

The American Bar Association reported that of the 256 members of Penn Law’s 2017 graduating class, 232 now have jobs that require passing the bar. This 90.6 percent rate is far above the national average of 69 percent and surpasses that of several other top law schools. 

Credit: Lucy Ferry

The Bar Association also reported that two Ivy League law schools have employment rates above 90 percent: 93.3 percent of Columbia Law School’s 2017 graduates have jobs that require passing the bar, as do 92.1 percent of Cornell Law graduates. However, only 86.9 percent of Harvard Law School graduates and 75.4 percent of Yale Law School graduates are employed in bar-required positions. 

Credit: Lucy Ferry

Based on the Bar Association’s reports, other universities with law school employment rates above 90 percent include Duke University, with a rate of 93.8 percent; University of Chicago, with a rate of 92.1 percent; University of Virginia, at 91.2 percent; and University of Michigan Ann Arbor, with a rate of 90.1 percent. 

The Bar Association also reported that 28 Penn Law graduates from 2017 are now pursuing federal clerkships, compared to 97 from Harvard, 67 from Yale, 15 from Columbia, and 11 from Cornell. Additionally, over 50 percent of 2017 law school graduates from Penn, Harvard, Columbia, and Cornell are employed at large law firms with over five hundred members, which are generally considered more prestigious.

Credit: Lucy Ferry

Besides surpassing the national average, Penn Law’s 90.6 percent employment rate is far above that of other Philadelphia law schools, Philly Voice reported. In comparison, 79.2 percent of Temple law graduates, 75.4 percent of Villanova law graduates, and 71 percent of Drexel law graduates from 2017 are employed in bar-required positions.

Penn Law’s high employment rate is in line with trends from previous years. The Bar Association reported that Penn Law’s employment rate was 89.5 percent in 2016, 89.8 percent in 2015, 95 percent in 2014, and 91.5 percent in 2013. 

Credit: Lucy Ferry

  When calculating employment percentages, the Bar Association did not include graduates employed in university-funded positions or in jobs where having a law degree is considered an advantage but bar passage is not required. When these two areas are taken into account, Penn Law has a full-time employment rate of 98.8 percent. 

Dean Theodore Ruger attributed graduates' success to Penn Law's unique program, which includes both "traditional classroom education," "experiential learning opportunities," and "professional coaching and counseling services." 

"I’m proud of our new graduates and the great work they are doing in law and related fields," Ruger said. "It is gratifying to see data like this that shows the measure of our graduates’ success and range of career trajectories." 

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