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Where the Fortune 500 CEOs Went to Law School

Columbia, Harvard, Southern Methodist, and Virginia doled out the most law degrees to Fortune 500 CEOs.

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Of the 498 chief executive officers listed on the 2012 Fortune 500 list, 46 hold legal degrees. All 46 hold J.D.'s, and Michael I. Roth, of Interpublic Group (No. 358 on the Fortune list), is the only CEO to also have earned a legal master's (LL.M.) degree. (Two chief executive officers hold CEO positions at multiple Fortune 500 companies, which is why there are 498 rather than 500.)

Roth's LL.M. is from New York University's School of Law, and he holds a J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Those were two of the 24 law schools that granted degrees to the Fortune 500 CEOs. Eight of the CEOs are Harvard Law School alumni, while Columbia University's School of Law, Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law, and the University of Virginia's School of Law can each claim three different CEOs on the list among their alumni.

[Check out where the Fortune 500 CEOs went to school.]

One CEO, Richard H. Anderson of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (No. 83 on the Fortune list), holds a J.D. from South Texas College of Law, which is the only law school whose rank U.S. News did not publish that awarded a law degree to a Fortune 500 CEO. Honorary legal master's or doctoral degrees were excluded from this data, which U.S. News pulled from Marquis Who's Who, a database of biographies published since 1899; CEOs' official biographies; and college and university websites.

Four other CEOs received degrees from schools outside U.S. News's top 100 ranked law schools. Those schools are the University of Akron's School of Law (ranked 119th in U.S. News's Best Law Schools ranking), Villanova University's School of Law (tied for 101st), and West Virginia University's College of Law (tied for 101st), which counts two Fortune 500 CEOs among its ranks.

The companies that employ the CEO law degree-holders span the spectrum of the Fortune 500 list, and 15 were part of the Fortune 100 list. The CEOs with law degrees at the highest ranked Fortune 500 companies include Brian T. Moynihan of Bank of America Corp. (No. 13 on the Fortune 500 list), David B. Dillon of Kroger (No. 23), Charles E. Haldeman Jr. of Freddie Mac (No. 25), Steven A. Kandarian of MetLife (No. 34), and Francis S. Blake of Home Depot (No. 35).

[View the colleges that made them CEOs in pictures.]

Below is a partial list of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies who earned law degrees:

CEO Company (Fortune 500 rank) Law school (name) (state) Degree (year, if known) U.S. News law school rank
Alexander, Anthony J. FirstEnergy (160) University of Akron (OH) J.D. (1975) 119
Anderson, Richard H. Delta Air Lines, Inc. (83) South Texas College of Law J.D. (1981) RNP
Blake, Francis S. Home Depot (35) Columbia University (NY) J.D. (1976) 4
Blankfein, Lloyd C. Goldman Sachs Group (80) Harvard University (MA) J.D. (1978) 3
Braly, Angela F. WellPoint (45) Southern Methodist University (Dedman) (TX) J.D. (1985) 51
Burke, Kevin Consolidated Edison (209) Fordham University (NY) J.D. (1977) 29
Chambers, John T. Cisco Systems (64) West Virginia University J.D. (1974) 101
Chenault, Kenneth I. American Express (95) Harvard University (MA) J.D. (1977) 3
Conway, John W. Crown Holdings (296) Columbia University (NY) J.D. (1970) 4
Crane, David W. NRG Energy (284) Harvard University (MA) J.D. 3

Check out the full list of Fortune 500 CEOs who went to law school.

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