10 Best Law Schools In The US

Every year, thousands of students across the country enroll in one of the 205 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association in the United States. This article discusses the best law schools in the US, and what makes them the best. Anyone contemplating attending law school should consider applying to the schools discussed in this article.

Law School FAQ

1. What Is Law School?

 2. Who Goes to Law School?

How We Reviewed the Best Law Schools

best law schools

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The following law schools were reviewed based on their various features that include their acceptance rates, the median undergraduate GPA and LSAT score of their most recent incoming class, their employment at graduation and their students’ bar passage rates. These factors determine a school’s level of prestige and ranking. The best law schools have low acceptance rates, high LSAT and GPA requirements, and terrific post-graduate employment opportunities. Other factors examined are the school’s location and price.

 Overall Price Range of Law School

 Law school, like any graduate study program, is no inexpensive endeavor. The price of tuition varies between private and public schools and for in-state and out-of-state students. The average cost of tuition and fees at a private law school for 2017-2018 was close to $47,000, while the average cost of tuition and fees at a public school for out-of-state students was close to $40,000 and $26,000 for in-state students. It is important to note that these prices vary greatly across the 200 plus law schools in the country, and can be exacerbated by expensive costs of living in certain cities.

Schools We Reviewed

  • University of California Berkeley School of Law
  • University of Virginia School of Law
  • University of Michigan Law School
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • New York University School of Law
  • Columbia University Law School
  • University of Chicago Law School
  • Harvard University Law School
  • Stanford University Law School
  • Yale Law School

University of California Berkeley School of Law

University of California Berkeley School of Law as the best law schools

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Features

The median undergraduate GPA of the most recent incoming class was 3.80 and the median LSAT score was 168. The average acceptance rate is 23%. In evaluating the recent graduating classes, 84.5% of graduates were employed at graduation and 83.1% passed the bar. This high bar passage rate is impressive as most Berkeley students take the California State Bar Exam, recognized as one of the most difficult in the country.

The 83.1% passage rate makes Berkeley one of the best law schools in the country. Berkeley Law has been innovative in offering specialized curriculum in the areas of environmental law and intellectual property law.

Pros

  • Beautiful location
  • Unique opportunities in specialized fields 

  Cons

  • Expensive location
  • Expensive cost of attendance

Tutitions 

The cost of tuition and fees for one school year is $49,364 per year for in-state students and $53,315 for out-of-state students.

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University of Virginia School of Law

University of Virginia School of Law as the best law schools

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Features

The median undergraduate GPA of the most recent incoming class was 3.89 and the median LSAT score was 169. The average acceptance rate is 18%. In evaluating the recent graduating classes, 87.9% of graduates were employed at graduation and 93.2% passed the bar. UVA Law offers exciting semester abroad programs in New Zealand, Germany, Israel, and England. It also features 20 in-house clinics and unique curriculum like an animal law program.

Pros

  • Exciting study abroad programs    
  • Varied hands-on clinic opportunities

  Cons

  • Expensive tuition and fees
  • High student to faculty ratio

Tutitions 

The cost of tuition and fees for one school year is $58,300 per year for in-state students and $61,300 for out-of-state students.

University of Michigan Law School

University of Michigan Law School as the best law schools

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Features

The median undergraduate GPA of the most recent incoming class was 3.78 and the median LSAT score was 169. The average acceptance rate is 23%. In evaluating the recent graduating classes, 86.5% of graduates were employed at graduation and 97.9% passed the bar. Students at this law school have the opportunity to start their curriculum in the summer or spend the semester at Amsterdam Law School, Waseda University Law School in Japan, or Bucerius Law School in Germany. The University of Michigan Law School also has a host of unique student organizations like the Law School Hockey Team and rock climbing club.

Pros

  • Exceptionally high bar passage rate     
  • Vibrant student life
  • Study abroad program offerings

  Cons

  • Expensive cost of attendance

Tutitions 

The cost of tuition and fees for one school year is $57,262 per year for in-state students and $60,508  for out-of-state students.

University of Pennsylvania Law School

University of Pennsylvania Law School as the best law schools

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Features

The median undergraduate GPA of the most recent incoming class was 3.89 and the median LSAT score was 170. The average acceptance rate is 18%. In evaluating the recent graduating classes, 94.6% of graduates were employed at graduation and 97.6% passed the bar. The most recent incoming class is fairly diverse, with 52% of students being women, 36% being minorities, and 18% identifying as LGBT.

Penn Law offers various dual degrees that can be earned in three years like the joint Juris Doctor and Masters in Business Administration or joint Juris Doctor and Masters in Bioethics. Penn Law also has a strict rule that requires students to accumulate 70 hours of pro bono work before they can graduate.

Pros

  • Diverse student body     
  • Ivy league prestige
  • Dual degree opportunities

  Cons

  • Strict pro bono work requirement
  • Expensive cost of attendance

Tutitions 

The cost of tuition and fees for one school year is $63,364.

New York University School of Law

New York University School of Law as the best law schools

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Features

The median undergraduate GPA of the most recent incoming class was 3.8 and the median LSAT score was 170. The average acceptance rate is 27%. In evaluating the recent graduating classes, 90.7% of graduates were employed at graduation and 97.3% passed the bar. NYU Law also offers thirty in-house clinics and fifty student organizations along with various dual degree programs.

While NYU Law graduates compete with Columbia Law graduates for employment opportunities, the New York City legal market has room for each school's excellent students. This access to the New York legal market puts NYU Law on the list of best law schools in the country. 

Pros

  • High bar passage rate      
  • Exciting location
  • Vibrant student life

  Cons

  • Expensive cost of living 
  • Expensive tuition and fees

Tutitions 

The cost of tuition and fees for one school year is $63,986.

Columbia University Law School

Columbia University Law School as the best law schools

Photo credit by: law.columbia.edu

Features

The median undergraduate GPA of the most recent incoming class was 3.7 and the median LSAT score was 171. The average acceptance rate is 20%. In evaluating the recent graduating classes, 93.3% of graduates were employed at graduation and 96.1% passed the bar. Columbia University Law has exceptional programs in international law and environmental law.

Columbia’s location provides its graduates incredible post-graduate employment opportunities and access to one of the largest legal markets in the country in New York City. This level of access makes Columbia one of the best law schools in the country.

Pros

  • Ivy league prestige
  • Exciting location

  Cons

  • Expensive tuition and fees
  • Expensive cost of living

Tutitions 

The cost of tuition and fees for one school year is $67,564.

University of Chicago Law School

University of Chicago Law School as the best law schools

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Features

The median undergraduate GPA of the most recent incoming class was 3.89 and the median LSAT score was 171. The average acceptance rate is 21%. In evaluating the recent graduating classes, 93.5% of graduates were employed at graduation and 97.7% passed the bar. The University of Chicago Law School offers its students access to one of the most elite legal markets. This level of access puts Chicago high on the list of best law schools in the country. The school’s exciting post-graduate employment opportunities, however, are contrasted by the relatively dull student life.

Pros

  • Great location 
  • Well known post-graduate employment opportunities

  Cons

  • Poor student life
  • Expensive tuition and fees

Tutitions 

The cost of tuition and fees for one school year is $62,865.

Harvard University Law School

Harvard University Law School as the best law schools

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Features

The median undergraduate GPA of the most recent incoming class was 3.9 and the median LSAT score was 173. The average acceptance rate is 12.8%. This extremely low acceptance rate reflects the world’s opinion of Harvard Law School as one of the best law schools in the country. In evaluating the recent graduating classes, 91.6% of graduates were employed at graduation and 95.8% passed the bar. The student body is fairly diverse, the most recent incoming class represented by 49% women and 44% people of color.

HLS’s Student Practice Organizations allow first year law students to gain rare hands-on experience before peers at other schools. Harvard also has the most in-house legal clinics in the country, offering its students a wealth of experience. Harvard Law students are also required to log 40 hours of pro bono work before graduation.

Pros

  • Ivy league prestige      
  • Superb clinic and experiential opportunities
  • Study abroad offerings

  Cons

  • Cut-throat competitive environment
  • Expensive tuition and fees

Tutitions 

The cost of tuition and fees for one school year is $62,792.

Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School as the best law schools

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Features

The median undergraduate GPA of the most recent incoming class was 3.9 and the median LSAT score was 171. The average acceptance rate is 9.92%. In evaluating the recent graduating classes, 91.3% of graduates were employed at graduation and 91.0% passed the bar. Stanford Law School is located on one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.

Stanford certainly stands out on the list of the best law schools based on its gorgeous location. With one of the most selective admissions processes, Stanford Law has a relatively small and close-knit student body. The law school also puts great emphasis on public interest pursuits, offering students various opportunities to serve indigent and low-income communities.

Pros

  • Beautiful campus
  • Close-knit student community

  Cons

  • Expensive cost of living
  • Expensive tuition and fees

Tutitions 

The cost of tuition and fees for one school year is $60,270.

Yale Law School

Yale Law School as the best law schools

Photo credit by: law.yale.edu

Features

The median undergraduate GPA of the most recent incoming class was 3.92 and the median LSAT score was 173. The average acceptance rate is 8%. In evaluating the recent graduating classes, 83.3% of graduates were employed at graduation and 99% passed the bar.

Yale has a unique grading system. First-year students receive no grades, and afterward, students receive only honors, pass, low pass, credit or failure ratings. Class sizes are small across the board, with the average class maxing out at twenty students. The law school is also home to twenty legal clinics and fifty student organizations.

Yale is the top law school for those pursuing a career in academia. It is also known for opening the best employment opportunities to its graduates. Yale has produced some of the most important legal minds and politicians in the last century: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor are alumni.

Pros

  • Innovative grading system
  • Ivy league prestige
  • Small class sizes
  • Superb bar passage rate

  Cons

  • Expensive tuition and fees

Tutitions 

The cost of tuition and fees for one school year is $62,170.

The Verdict

While Stanford, Harvard, and Yale have battled it out over the years for the title of best law school in the United States, Yale Law School has emerged victorious for another year. With the most stringent admissions process and some top legal minds emerging from the school, Yale Law School has solidified itself at the top of the list of the best law schools in the US.

 

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