I have always cautioned against putting too much emphasis on certain statistics and national rankings, but two statistics have long been worth noting for the University of Houston Law Center and are undoubtedly factors in the latest favorable national ranking.
The Law Center is located in the nation's fourth largest city, soon to boast one of the largest law firms in the world with the merger of Fulbright & Jaworski and Norton Rose. Houston's abundant legal opportunities and relatively low cost of living are key factors for the school's second long-standing statistic in that the majority of our graduates stay in the greater Houston area to live and work. Both undoubtedly play a role in a newly released survey that found Houston ranks third nationally in relative "buying power" of first-year associates based on median salary and cost of living.
Using New York City as a benchmark, the survey conducted by the National Association of Legal Career Professionals found the median salary for members of the Class of 2011 was $115,000 while a salary of only $65,670 was needed to yield the relative buying power of working and living in NYC. The survey attempts to quantify where new lawyers get the best bang for their buck, translating to more discretionary income and greater lifestyle options.
Legal opportunities here from firms large and small as well as the city's position as both the energy capital of the world and home to the world's largest medical complex are both a cause and effect of so many of our alumni staying close to home. That translates into plentiful networking opportunities for both students and recent graduates. Internships are available and alumni contacts help our newly-minted lawyers at least get a foot in the door for advice or an interview.
All of this underscores the strong relationship between the city of Houston and the University of Houston Law Center and convinces me that some statistics and surveys are indeed well worth noting.
Click here to see a complete list of rankings.