Best Law Schools in California

Access thousands of exclusive scholarships
for free

Award$25,055
Deadline19 days left to apply
Create Free Bold.org Account
In this article

Law is one of the world's most respected and highly regarded professions. It is a field that requires in-depth knowledge, analytical thinking, and strong problem-solving skills. Different types of lawyers specialize in different legal fields, such as corporate law, environmental law, tax law, family law, criminal law, and intellectual property law. Completing law school gives you the knowledge and skills to pass the bar exam.

If you want to become a lawyer, you should plan on completing law school to earn your Juris Doctor (J.D.). This degree is typically a three-year program. Besides a J.D. degree, there are two other degrees offered by some law schools. One is the J.S.D. or S.J.D. degree (Doctor of Science of Law), a research-focused degree comparable to a Ph.D. in law. The other degree is an LL.M., an advanced graduate degree only available to those who already hold a basic law degree, either domestic or from an overseas jurisdiction.

California is home to several top-ranked law schools that attract students from all over the country and worldwide. The American Bar Association accredits 18 law schools in California. Whether you're interested in practicing law in the public sector, or the private sector, or pursuing an academic career, many schools in California can provide you with the education and skills you need to succeed.

In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the best law schools in California. This list was created using the information collected from each school website and the U.S. News. If you are considering going to law school and need tuition assistance, Bold.org has plenty of scholarships to help you get your degree. Create a profile and start applying for our scholarships on our website.

Stanford Law School

Stanford University is a higher education institution located in Stanford, California. Stanford Law School is one of the best law schools in the U.S. Very few law schools have the prestige that Stanford Law has, and only 6.28 percent of applicants are accepted.

Only 575 students are accepted into Stanford Law School every year. It offers a highly selective J.D. program and a variety of advanced degrees, including LL.M. and J.S.D. programs that focus on a broad range of legal topics, including constitutional law, international law, and intellectual property law.

Students who attend Stanford's Law School must pay a yearly tuition of $66,924. Financial assistance is determined based on demonstrated financial need. Approximately 75 to 80 percent of students receive some form of financial aid.

University of California, Berkeley School of Law

University of California, Berkeley School of Law

U.C. Berkeley is one of the public schools in California's school system. U.C. Berkeley's School of Law, also called Boalt Hall, has 1,088 students. U.C. Berkeley School of Law's yearly tuition is $62,432 for in-state students and $74,825 for out-of-state students.

Boalt Hall is known for its strong emphasis on public interest law. The law school offers a highly-ranked J.D. program that allows students to work on issues related to social justice, civil rights, and environmental law. In addition to its J.D. program, Boalt Hall offers LL.M. and J.S.D. programs that attract students from around the world. The law school also offers a Public Interest Law and Policy program that provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to work in the public sector.

University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

Located in Los Angeles, UCLA School of Law is known for its strong programs in entertainment law, critical race studies, and public interest law. It offers a highly-ranked J.D. program and several advanced degrees. The yearly cost of attending law school at UCLA law school is $56,511 for California residents and $68,756 for non-residents.

With a total enrollment of 1,038 students, UCLA School of Law offers a highly-ranked J.D. program focusing on practical training and interdisciplinary education. Students can earn joint degrees through departments such as the Anderson School of Management or the UCLA Center for African American Studies.

University of Southern California (U.S.C.) - Gould School of Law

University of Southern California (U.S.C.) - Gould School of Law

University of Southern California Gould School of Law is a private law school in Los Angeles. The total enrollment at U.S.C. Gould's School of Law is 613. The tuition costs $76,438 per year.

The law school offers a J.D. program and LL.M. and J.S.D. programs. One of the unique features of the U.S.C. Gould School of Law is its location in Los Angeles, which provides students with ample opportunities to work with entertainment companies and law firms. Students can also pursue interdisciplinary research and take courses in other fields.

Get Matched to Thousands of Scholarships

Create your Bold.org profile to access thousands of exclusive scholarships, available only on Bold.org.

Create Free Profile

University of California (U.C.) Davis School of Law

The University of California Davis School of Law, also known as King Hall, is a public law school in Davis, California. UC Davis School of Law has an enrollment of 668 students and a yearly tuition of $53,093 for in-state and $65,094 for out-of-state students.

UC Davis School of Law offers a highly-ranked J.D. program with a strong clinical program, with students participating in clinics providing legal services to clients in areas such as environmental law, immigration law, and intellectual property law.

One of the unique features of UC Davis School of Law is its Public Interest Law Program which provides students with opportunities to work on public interest projects and to participate in pro bono legal services. The law school also offers a Public Service Law Program, which provides loan repayment assistance to graduates pursuing public service careers.

University of California (U.C.) Irvine School of Law

University of California (U.C.) Irvine School of Law

The University of California, Irvine School of Law (UCI Law) is a public law school in Irvine, California. Established in 2008, UCI Law is the newest law school in the University of California system and has quickly established itself as one of the top law schools in the country. Attending the U.C. Irvine School of Law costs $54,103 for in-state students and $64,218 for out-of-state students.

With an enrollment of 443 students, UCI Law offers a highly-ranked J.D. program that emphasizes practical skills and interdisciplinary education. The law school has a strong clinical program, with students participating in clinics that provide legal services to clients in intellectual property law, immigrant rights, and civil rights.

Chapman University - Fowler School of Law

Chapman University's Fowler School of Law is a private law school in Orange, California. The law school has a total enrollment of 438 students.

Chapman Law offers a highly-ranked J.D. program emphasizing practical training and hands-on experience. In addition, Chapman Law has a strong commitment to innovation and technology, with many students pursuing careers in these fields after graduation. The cost of tuition for students at the Fowler School of Law is $57,873.

Loyola Marymount University Loyola Law School

Loyola Marymount University Loyola Law School (Loyola Law) is a private law school in Los Angeles, California. With an enrollment of 878 students, Loyola Law School offers advanced degrees that will provide any lawyer with the necessary skills. The cost to attend U.C. Irvine School of Law is $60,860.

Loyola Law offers a highly-ranked J.D. program emphasizing practical training and social justice. The law school has a strong clinical program, with students participating in clinics that provide legal services to clients in areas such as immigration law, criminal justice, and juvenile justice. Loyola Law strongly commits to the public interest and pro bono work, with many students pursuing careers after graduation.

University of San Diego School of Law

University of San Diego School of Law

The University of San Diego School of Law (USD Law) is a private law school in San Diego, California. With an enrollment of 701 students, USD Law has a strong reputation for producing top lawyers and legal scholars. The cost to attend the San Diego School of Law is $58,821.

USD Law offers a highly-ranked J.D. program emphasizing practical training and interdisciplinary education. The law school has a strong clinical program, with students participating in clinics that provide legal services to clients in areas such as immigration law, tax law, and civil rights. In addition, USD Law strongly focuses on international and comparative law, with many students participating in study abroad programs and international externships.

University of California College of the Law, San Francisco

The University of California College of Law, San Francisco (U.C. Hastings) is a public law school in San Francisco. Founded in 1878, UC Hastings is the oldest law school in California and one of the first law schools in the country. They enroll a total of 1,087 students.

U.C. Hastings offers a highly-ranked J.D. program and a strong clinical program that allows students to provide legal services to clients in areas such as criminal defense, civil justice, and international human rights. In addition to its J.D. program, U.C. Hastings offers several advanced degree programs, including an LL.M. program, a Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.) program for non-lawyers, and a Master of Science in Health Policy and Law program. The cost of tuition at the University of California College of the Law is $51,273 for in-state students and  $57,693 for out-of-state students.

Pepperdine University - Caruso School of Law

Pepperdine University's Caruso School of Law is a private law school in Malibu, California. With an enrollment of 543 students, Pepperdine Law has a reputation for combining rigorous academic training with a commitment to Christian values. The University of California College of the Law costs approximately $61,270.

Pepperdine Law offers a highly-ranked J.D. program emphasizing practical training and hands-on experience. The law school has a strong clinical program, with students participating in clinics that provide legal services to clients in areas such as immigration law, business law, and criminal justice. In addition, Pepperdine Law strongly focuses on dispute resolution, with many students participating in the law school's renowned Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.

Frequently asked questions about the best law schools in California

Frequently asked questions about the best law schools in California

How do I get accepted to a California law school?

In order to get accepted to a California law school, you usually have to have a good LSAT score and GPA. Each school may have different requirements, like letters of recommendation or essays, so check each school's website. Some colleges may also have an interview process, so make sure that you prepare ahead of time.

For more information on getting accepted to college, Bold.org has plenty of blog posts to help students discover how to get into college.

Which law schools in California offer part-time programs?

Several law schools in California offer part-time J.D. programs. U.C. Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), U.C. Davis School of Law, and University of California College of the Law offer part-time public programs. Loyola Marymount University Loyola Law School, University of San Francisco School of Law, and Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law also offer part-time programs.

It's important to note that part-time programs may take longer to complete than full-time programs. Additionally, some law schools may have specific admissions requirements or application deadlines for their part-time programs. Prospective students should consult with each law school for specific details and requirements.

Do law schools give scholarships?

Yes, law schools do give scholarships. By filling out the FAFSA, you can discover many scholarships and other financial aid the government or your university can provide. If you do not receive enough aid, though, other options like private scholarships can help. On Bold.org, there are even some scholarships exclusively for law school students.