Best Law Schools in the U.S.

The best law schools in the United States stand out for their exceptional academic programs, faculty members, law clinics and simulations, and student resources. These law schools also have consistently high rates of bar passage and graduate employment in the legal profession. Admission to these schools is selective and generally requires a high undergraduate GPA and LSAT score.

With over two hundred ABA-accredited law schools in the U.S., finding the right school for your interests and goals can be a challenge. Start exploring your options with our evaluations and rankings of the nation's best law schools.

01
of 20

Yale Law School

Yale Law School
sshepard / Getty Images

Yale University consistently tops the national rankings of U.S. law schools. Located in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale Law consistently tops the national rankings of U.S. law schools. The Ivy League school is also the most selective law school in the United States.

Yale Law's six hundred students choose from 12 areas of interest, including constitutional law, environmental law, IT and media law, law teaching, and human rights law. One of Yale Law School's great strengths is its clinical program. As early as their first year, law students can meet with clients to resolve real legal issues under the supervision of senior faculty. The list of more than 30 clinics includes the Ethics Bureau, the Environmental Protection Clinic, and the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic.

Yale Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 6.85%
Median LSAT Score 173
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.92
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
02
of 20

University of Chicago Law School

University of Chicago Law library

Bruce Leighty / Getty Images

The University of Chicago Law School celebrates the life of the mind and emphasizes the idea that "legal education should devote itself to learning for learning's sake, not just for earning's sake." This conviction is illustrated by UChicago Law's robust interdisciplinary offerings, including programs in Law and Economics, Law and Philosophy, Legal History, and Law and Business. Law students are also encouraged to take courses in other departments and professional schools across the University of Chicago.

Located in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, UChicago Law offers students a wide variety of opportunities to get hands-on experience. In fact, the university has more seats available for clinics and simulations than it has students. The clinical programs are run through seven specialized units, each with its own faculty and staff. Options include the Exoneration Project Clinic, Corporate Lab Clinic, Legal Aid Clinic, and Immigrant Child Advocacy Clinic. UChicago Law is also known for its record of clerkships, with an estimated 16-30% of each graduating class completing a judicial clerkship.

UChicago Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 17.48%
Median LSAT Score 171
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.89
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
03
of 20

Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School

 Hotaik Sung / iStock / Getty Images

Located in Palo Alto, California, Stanford Law School encourages innovation and interdisciplinary learning, and its educational offerings reflect this philosophy. The Law and Policy Lab, for example, is a policy incubator in which students work with experienced faculty members and real-world clients to develop policies in areas like energy, technology, education, and public enterprises in developing countries.

At the Mills Legal Clinic, Stanford Law students gain practical experience by working full-time for an academic quarter. The Stanford Program in Law, Science, and Technology brings together students, faculty, and alumni to explore big questions about the intersection of law and technology. Stanford Law graduates have a high success rate; 97% of the class of 2018 found employment within nine months of graduation.

Stanford Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 8.72%
Median LSAT Score 171
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.93
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
04
of 20

Harvard Law School

Harvard Law School

Brooks Kraft / Corbis News / Getty Images

Founded in 1817, Harvard Law School is the oldest continuously operating law school in the United States. With close to 2,000 students and over 250 faculty members, it is also the largest. Harvard Law's student body is made up of students from over 70 countries, and hundreds of HLS students work, study, and research around the globe each year.

At Harvard Law, clinical work is open to all second- and third-year law students. Students can choose an in-house clinical placement or an externship clinic; the latter offers placement opportunities in public and private sectors around the country. Students may also opt to create their own clinical placements.

Notable HLS alumni include President Barack Obama and U.S. Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Elena Kagan, Anthony Kennedy, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Harvard Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 12.86%
Median LSAT Score 173
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.90
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
05
of 20

University of Virginia Law School

The Lawn at the University of Virginia

Allen Grove

Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the United States. UVA Law offers more than 250 courses and seminars annually, including hands-on clinical programs, public speaking courses, and externship opportunities.

Located in Charlottesville, UVA Law frequently receives the No. 1 rank on lists of the best public law schools. Other distinctions include a student-faculty ratio of 6.5 to 1, ten student-run academic journals, and 60 student organizations. UVA Law awards full-tuition scholarships to approximately 100 of the school's 900+ students.

UVA Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 15.33%
Median LSAT Score 169
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.89
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
06
of 20

Columbia Law School

Low Library at Columbia University
Low Library at Columbia University. Allen Grove

Columbia Law School is located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. The New York City location creates unique opportunities for hands-on engagement with legal issues across many fields, from the Human Rights Institute to the Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership.

At Columbia Law, practical legal experience begins with the Foundation Year Moot Court program, in which all first-year students write a legal brief and present an oral argument to a panel of judges. Additional hands-on learning takes place in clinics, simulation courses, and policy labs. Through the policy labs, Columbia Law students have a unique opportunity to work with faculty, government officials, and community leaders to solve complicated, interdisciplinary, real-world problems. Clinic students become members of Morningside Heights Legal Services, Inc., Columbia's own public interest law firm.

Columbia Law School emphasizes public service and social justice. Students who wish to spend a summer conducting a public interest or public service internship can receive up to $7,000 through Columbia's Guaranteed Summer Funding Program.

Columbia Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 16.79%
Median LSAT Score 172
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.75
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
07
of 20

New York University Law School

New York University
New York University.

大頭家族 / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Located in New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood, NYU Law offers a legal education in the center of a global financial capital. The law school has a robust list of law and business offerings, and law students can take courses at NYU's Stern School of Business. At the Guarini Institute for Global Legal Studies, students can explore the field of international law; study abroad is also available through NYU-administered programs in Buenos Aires, Paris, and Shanghai.

NYU Law guarantees funding for law students who wish to work in government or public interest positions during the summer. Graduates who work in public service and fulfill certain qualifications can participate in NYU Law's Loan Repayment Assistance Program.

NYU Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 23.57%
Median LSAT Score 170
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.79
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
08
of 20

University of Pennsylvania Law School

University of Pennsylvania
Margie Politzer / Getty Images

One of five members of the Ivy League on this list, the University of Pennsylvania Law School is located on the northern edge of the main campus in West Philadelphia. New York City and Washington D.C. are both an easy train ride away.

One of Penn Law's defining features is its cross-disciplinary approach to legal education. The school believes that exceptional lawyers need to know more than law, so students receive additional training in fields such as health, business, technology, international studies, and education.

Students who wish to develop their research, analysis, and writing skills can join one of the school's six law journals. Students can also get involved through one of the school's eleven centers and institutes, including the Center for Asian Law, Institute for Law & Philosophy, and the Center for Tax Law & Policy.

Penn Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 14.58%
Median LSAT Score 170
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.89
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
09
of 20

Duke University School of Law

DUKE UNIVERSITY CHAPEL, DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA, USA
Don Klumpp / Getty Images

Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University School of Law consistently ranks among the top law schools in the United States. At Duke Law, all first-year J.D. students complete the Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing Program, a year-long course focused on fundamental legal writing skills. Students must also complete a two-credit course in ethics and a substantial research and writing project.

Outside the classroom, Duke Law offers a variety of experiential learning opportunities through clinics, simulation courses, or externships. The Duke Legal Clinics operate as a collective public interest law firm housed on Duke's campus. Through the clinics, students gain hands-on experience in any of eleven practice areas, including the Wrongful Convictions Clinic, Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, Children's Law Clinic, Start-Up Ventures Clinic, and International Human Rights Clinic.

Duke Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 20.15%
Median LSAT Score 169
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.78
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
10
of 20

Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Northwestern University

Amy Jacobson

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law is located on the university's 20-acre Chicago campus about 12 miles south of Northwestern University's main campus in Evanston, Illinois. The city location allows students to easily visit local law firms, courts, and corporations.

The School of Law presents students with a range of rewarding educational opportunities. All first-year students take a year-long course focused on legal reasoning, collaboration, and group projects. The course also includes a moot court experience. In the second year, Northwestern law students can choose to pursue a general course of study, or select one of six areas of concentration: Appellate Law, Environmental Law, Business Enterprise, International Law, Law and Social Policy, or Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution.

For students with international interests, Northwestern Law has study abroad programs in Australia, Belgium, Amsterdam, Israel, Singapore, and Argentina. Short-term travel is also possible through participation in an International Team Project, a team-based research and travel opportunity.

Northwestern Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 19.33%
Median LSAT Score 169
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.84
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
11
of 20

University of Michigan Law School

University of Michigan Law School

uschools / E+ / Getty Images

The law quadrangle at the University of Michigan has a reputation as one of the best living and learning environments for legal education in the world. Indeed, Michigan Law is seamlessly integrated into the university's main campus, so students have easy access to all the academic opportunities the university has to offer.

The university is located in the small city of Ann Arbor, which frequently ranks among the best college towns in the United States. Despite not being located in an urban center, Michigan Law offers an abundance of experiential learning opportunities. In fact, each year, the school has hundreds more law clinic seats than students to fill them.

Michigan Law takes pride in its outcomes. 98% of the class of 2017 is employed or pursuing further education, and The Princeton Review ranked Michigan Law among the top three law schools for career prospects. Since 1991, at least one Michigan Law graduate has clerked for a U.S. Supreme Court justice every year.

Michigan Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 19.60%
Median LSAT Score 169
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.77
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
12
of 20

Cornell Law School

Cornell University Law School

 Eustress / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Cornell Law, an Ivy League law school, occupies a hillside campus overlooking Lake Cayuga. Cornell's location of Ithaca, New York ranks among the nation's best college towns. For students who wish pursue a highly-regarded law degree surrounded by trees and wildlife rather than in the bustle of an urban center, Cornell could be an excellent choice.

At Cornell Law, all first-year students enroll in the Lawyering Program, a yearlong course focused on the professional skills required to be a practicing attorney. Through the course, students develop and practice skills such as legal writing, legal analysis, legal research, client counseling and interviewing, and oral presentation.

Many Cornell Law students participate in clinics, including the Death Penalty Project, Gender Justice Clinic, Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide, LGBT Clinic, and Farmworker Legal Assistance. Students may pursue optional concentrations in Advocacy, Public Law, Business Law and Regulation, or General Practice. In addition, students with a particular interest in international law can apply to the Berger International Legal Studies Specialization.

Cornell Law School reports a high degree of graduate success, with 97% of graduates passing the New York State Bar and 97.2% finding employment within 9 months of graduation.

Cornell Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 21.13%
Median LSAT Score 167
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.82
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
13
of 20

UC Berkeley Law

University of California Berkeley

Geri Lavrov / Stockbyte / Getty Images

University of California at Berkeley often tops the list of the nation's best public universities, and Berkeley Law fares similarly well in national rankings. At Berkeley Law students can choose from six areas of study: Social Justice and Public Interest, Law and Technology, Business and Start-Ups, Criminal Justice, Environmental Law, Law and Economics, or Constitutional and Regulatory Law.

Berkeley Law is a major research center, and experiential learning is a hallmark of the school's approach to legal education. Students have opportunities to work hands-on with clients as early as their first year. The university is home to six clinics, and students will find another eight clinics in the surrounding community. Berkeley Law also hosts over a dozen research centers where students can collaborate with professionals on important issues facing the region and the world.

Berkeley Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 19.69%
Median LSAT Score 168
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.80
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
14
of 20

The University of Texas at Austin School of Law

University of Texas at Austin

Amy Jacobson

Texas Law takes pride in providing its students with a supportive atmosphere, free of the cutthroat stereotypes typically associated with a legal education. Texas Law's first-year society and mentoring programs support students during the transition to law school while also building a sense of community.

The Texas Law curriculum allows flexibility so that students can craft the education that best suits their interests and career goals. Law students can take advantage of the school's position within a large, top-ranked research university by taking classes in other fields or choosing a dual degree program. Texas Law also has a range of study-abroad options for students with international interests.

Experiential learning plays an important role in a Texas Law education, and the school has 15 clinics in different legal areas, a strong internship program, a range of pro bono opportunities, and many educational experiences grounded in simulated legal settings.

Texas Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 20.95%
Median LSAT Score 167
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.74
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
15
of 20

Vanderbilt University Law School

Vanderbilt University

 SeanPavonePhoto / iStock / Getty Images

Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt Law is one of the smaller law schools on this list, with a student population of approximately 550. However, despite its relatively small size size, Vanderbilt Law offers a wide range of rigorous specialized programs, including intellectual property, law and government, corporate law, and litigation and dispute resolution. The law school also offers several dual degree programs and a Ph.D in Law and Economics.

Vanderbilt Law's four student-run academic journals include Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law andVanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. Students gain real-world experience through Vanderbilt Law's eight clinics, including the First Amendment Clinic and the Intellectual Property and the Arts Clinic.

Vanderbilt Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 23.66%
Median LSAT Score 167
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.80
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
16
of 20

Washington University in St. Louis School of Law

Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis.

Christopher A. Jones / Moment / Getty Images 

Home to nearly 700 law students, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law offers courses in 12 areas of interest, including tax law, environmental law, technology, and criminal justice. Students can complement their law degrees with certificates for concentrated study in public interest law, business and corporate law, and international and comparative law. Other options include joint degrees in law and business and law and social work.

At WashULaw, all students must complete at least six units of experiential credits and an upper-level research and writing seminar. For even more writing and research experience, first-year students can compete to earn a place on one of the university's four student-edited law journals.

WashULaw Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 29.97%
Median LSAT Score 168
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.81
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
17
of 20

Georgetown University Law Center

Georgetown University
Georgetown University. Kārlis Dambrāns / Flickr / CC by 2.0

At Georgetown University Law Center, located in Washington, D.C., law students study within walking distance of the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court. Thanks to the D.C. location, students enjoy opportunities to engage with major research centers and institutes, including the Center for Congressional Studies, Georgetown Climate Center, the Institute of International Economic Law, and more. In addition, through the Moot Court Program, students can observe attorneys as they prepare to argue before the Supreme Court.

Experiential learning begins in the first year, with a four-day legal simulation course called Week One. Georgetown Law guarantees all students the opportunity to earn credit through project-based practicum courses, externships, and participation in the school's 19 legal clinics.

Georgetown Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 21.23%
Median LSAT Score 167
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.80
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
18
of 20

UCLA School of Law

UCLA School of Law South Entrance
UCLA School of Law South Entrance.

Coolcaesar / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

 

University of California Los Angeles Law School, a public university, takes pride in its accessibility to students of all backgrounds. UCLA Law has lower tuition fees than most top-tier law schools, and more than 75% of students receive some form of grant aid.

UCLA Law has a long history of embracing clinical education and hands-on learning experiences. Its location makes the opportunities for clinics as diverse as the city itself, and students may find themselves working with filmmakers, immigration clinics, criminal defendants, or military veterans. Students can find experiential learning opportunities in any of the school's 16 areas of interest including Gender Studies, Intellectual Property, Public Law, and Environmental Law.

UCLA Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 22.52%
Median LSAT Score 168
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.72
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
19
of 20

USC Gould School of Law

University of Southern California Law School

Pbgr / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Founded in 1900, the USC Gould School of Law is the oldest law school in Southern California, with over 10,000 alumni around the world. Located just south of downtown Los Angeles, USC Gould offers its students unique access to the second-largest legal market in the U.S. Students make the most of this location through experiential learning, including externships at entertainment agencies, district attorneys' offices, and the ACLU of Southern California.

As part of a large, private research university, USC Gould offers students the benefits of a large, private research university. Students can take courses in other fields to enrich their legal educations or opt to enroll in one of fifteen dual-degree programs. Over 85% of graduates pass the California Bar, and 88% are employed in a law-related position within 10 months of graduation. 500 alumni have served as state or federal judges.

USC Gould Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 19.24
Median LSAT Score 166
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.78
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure
20
of 20

Notre Dame Law School

University of Notre Dame Law School

Michael Fernandes / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 

Located in South Bend, Indiana, the University of Notre Dame Law School takes pride in its small classes, compact campus, and tight-knit community. A Notre Dame legal education often spans the nation and even the globe. Through a first-year elective called Galilee, for example, students design and execute their own legal education immersion program in any U.S. city. Study abroad is also popular; Notre Dame has a campus in London as well as exchange programs in Italy, Switzerland, Chile, China, and Ireland.

Notre Dame Law School makes experiential learning central to its educational model. All J.D. students must complete at least six credit hours of hands-on learning in courses such as law clinics, simulations, and field placements. All students must also complete a significant upper-level writing requirement.

Notre Dame Law Admissions Statistics (2018 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate 25.15%
Median LSAT Score 165
Median Undergraduate GPA 3.71
Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure