Best Law Schools in the South

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The Southern states are home to a distinct culture of unique cuisines, musical styles, and architecture. Amidst this tapestry of culture are a variety of competitive law schools located in the South. These top law institutions enable prospective students to specialize their legal education according to their professional interests. In this Bold article, we will explore the best law schools the South offers, what criteria to look for when choosing a law school, and financing your legal education to attend law school.

Here at Bold.org, we are committed to helping students eliminate student debt. Check out our Scholarship Blog for more information and learn how to apply for scholarships today!

law schools in the south

What Makes a Top Law School

Every law school offers its own distinct approach to legal education and pedagogy. Some institutions take an interdisciplinary approach to legal education, while others encourage specialization along specific tracks depending on the type of law a student intends to practice. It is essential to understand law programs' offerings to understand which institution will best support your academic and professional goals.

Law schools also utilize different forms of practical learning, like clinics and moot courts. A well-designed legal curriculum provides law students with a blend of experiential learning opportunities in addition to theoretical coursework. Narrowing your law school search according to the criteria you most value in your legal education will help you avoid overpaying for unnecessary application fees.

Suppose you are certain about what type of law you wish to practice in the future. In that case, it is essential to tailor your law school research according to the reputation of the school for that specialty, as well as nearby employment opportunities. It is easier to pursue entertainment law, for example, at law programs located in cities known for their music, film, or sports scenes, because there are more professional opportunities for students and graduates in these entertainment hubs.

Another factor to consider is in what city and state you would prefer to begin your professional career and practice law in the future after graduation. Attending an institution with a robust lawyer alumni network, mentoring program, campus, or satellite campus in the city that you want to live and work in in the future will help you establish connections before graduating.

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Duke Law School at Duke University

Duke Law School at Duke University, located in the city of Durham, North Carolina, is ranked highly in the country for its programs in criminal law, intellectual property law, tax law, constitutional law, business and corporate law, and environmental law. As one of the best law schools nationwide, this T14 institution offers an intensive and collaborative approach to legal education in order to prepare law students for responsible and productive lives in the legal profession.

Duke Law School offers a range of dual degree programs, the three most popular being the J.D.-L.L.M. in International and Comparative Law, the J.D.-L.L.M. in Law and Entrepreneurship, and the J.D.-M.A. in Bioethics and Science Policy. Duke Law School students may also combine a J.D. with a graduate degree in Business Administration (J.D.-M.B.A.), Medicine (J.D.-M.D.), Environmental Management (J.D.-M.E.M.), Public Policy (J.D.-M.P.P.), or Divinity (J.D.-M.T.S.).

Duke Law School has an L.L.M. program for international students wishing to attain legal certification in the United States. The institution also has Master of Judicial Studies and Doctor of Juridical Science programs.

Duke Law School's Duke in D.C. program offers law students interested in public policy the opportunity to engage in hands-on law practice through a full-time externship experience in Washington, D.C.

Duke Law's clinical program offers 12 clinical courses and a robust externship offering so law students can gain practical experience during their studies. Current students can participate in student life through seven journals and over sixty student organizations.

All first-year law students compete in the Hardt Moot Court competition, and those that score highest are invited to join the prestigious student-run Moot Court Board. Upper-level students can apply to complete research-intensive Capstone Projects.

Duke is consistently ranked among the top 14 law schools in the nation by World Report and dominates the top law colleges of the Southeast region, so admissions are competitive. At Duke Law School, the median undergraduate GPA is 3.85, while the median LSAT score is 170, and the acceptance rate is 10.7%.

school of law

School of Law at the University of Virginia

Located in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, the School of Law at the University of Virginia is known as one of the best law schools in the country for offering excellent education in tax law, constitutional law, criminal law, and business and corporate law. As one of the oldest law schools in the nation, this public institution offers reduced tuition rates for residents of Virginia.

There are many dual degree programs at the UVA School of Law, including J.D.-M.A. programs with UVA's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, enabling law students to achieve Masters in English, Environmental Science, Government, Foreign Affairs, History, and Philosophy. The UVA School of Law also offers a joint J.D.-M.B.A. program with the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

For law students interested in medicine, UVA's School of Medicine offers a unique accelerated J.D.-M.D. program to achieve both degrees in six years. The School of Medicine and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences also offer a dual J.D.-M.P.H. degree in public health, with concentrations in generalist practice and research and health policy, law, and ethics.

This institution also offers unique opportunities for second and third-year law students to study law abroad through semester exchange programs in New Zealand, Germany, Israel, and England. Third-year law students can attain a dual degree with France's Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne Law School and Institut d'Études Politiques (Sciences Po in Paris) and sit for the French bar exam.

The UVA School of Law offers about 20 different legal clinics for law students to hone their legal skills in practical settings. UVA law students can compete in appellate moot court and trial advocacy competitions nationwide beginning in their second year of study. There are more than 60 on-campus organizations and ten legal journals for law students to get involved with.

The median undergraduate GPA at the UVA School of Law is 3.94, while the median LSAT score for all law program entrants is 171. The acceptance rate is 12.9%.

vanderbilt law school

Vanderbilt Law School at Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt Law School at Vanderbilt University offers renowned legal education in criminal law, environmental law, contract law, business and corporate law, constitutional law, and international law, based in the city of Nashville, TN. As one of the top law schools, Vanderbilt is known for its comprehensive approach to legal education through experiential learning programs, dynamic legal clinics, and scholarly publications.

The Vanderbilt University Law School offers a variety of dual-degree programs with other graduate schools at Vanderbilt University. Law students interested in business can pursue a J.D-M.B.A degree or a J.D.-M.S. in Finance through the Owen Graduate School of Management. The Vanderbilt Divinity School and Peabody College of Education and Human Development also offer joint degree programs with the Law School. Prospective law students can even propose a customized dual-degree program with another Vanderbilt graduate school with which the law school has no formal dual degree arrangements.

Eight legal clinics enable Vanderbilt law students to specialize in various law fields while representing real clients in local Nashville cases under the guidance of expert lawyers and professors. The law school's externship program enables law students to earn course credit for work experience. Law students can also engage in pro bono service and community legal education through one of the student Legal Aid Society's pro bono projects or legal clinics.

The Vanderbilt Moot Court program enables students to participate in an intramural moot court competition in addition to trying out for nationally competing traveling teams. Vanderbilt Law School also offers a mock trial competition for second and third-year law students. Other on-campus opportunities include six student-run publications.

Vanderbilt Law School has a median undergraduate GPA of 3.90 and a median LSAT score of 170, while the acceptance rate is 14.5%.

top law schools in the southern region of the us

The School of Law at The University of Texas–Austin

The School of Law at The University of Texas-Austin is known for its law programs in constitutional law, tax law, contracts and commercial law, intellectual property law, and business and corporate law. As one of the best law schools in the country, Texas Law offers a dynamic faculty, vast career opportunities, and a massive lawyer alumni network within the heart of Austin, one of the fastest-growing and most vibrant cities in America.

Texas Law offers dual degree programs in conjunction with several different graduate schools at The University of Texas. Law students can pursue a range of cultural studies degrees, including a J.D.-M.A. in Latin American Studies, a J.D.-M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies, and a J.D.-M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Other dual degree offerings include a J.D.-M.B.A. program, a J.D.-M.S. in Social Work program, a J.D.-M.S. in Information Studies program, and a J.D.-Ph.D. in Philosophy program.

Second-year law students at Texas Law may apply to enroll in international study abroad and exchange programs for the fall term of their third year of study. Texas Law offers a J.D.-L.L.M. program for students interested in a foreign law degree and a J.D./Licenciado en Derecho degree program for law students interested in practicing law in Mexico.

Texas Law offers seventeen clinics enabling students to specialize their legal training according to their employment interests. The Advocacy Program at Texas Law teaches students critical advocacy through moot court competitions, classes, and clinics. Students can participate in twelve different legal journals and nearly forty student organizations.

The public law school offers reduced tuition to Texas residents. At Texas Law, the median undergraduate GPA is 3.84, while the median LSAT score is 170, and the acceptance rate is 14.6%.

school of law at the university of georgia

The School of Law at the University of Georgia

Located in Athens, Georgia, the University of Georgia School of Law offers renowned legal training in trial advocacy, international law, business and corporate law, contracts and commercial law, and health care law. UGA School of Law is a public institution offering reduced tuition to Georgia residents while being one of the best law schools in the nation.

Dual degree programs include a J.D.-M.B.A. through the Terry College of Business and a J.D.-M.Ed. in Sports Studies for aspiring sports lawyers through the College of Education. Concurrent enrollment options enable students to earn another degree in their second and third years of law school in conjunction with UGA's other 17 schools and colleges.

UGA School of Law is the home of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, a hub for international law research and global outreach projects. Global opportunities include study abroad programs, including the Georgia Law-Leuven Global Governance Summer School in Belgium.

UGA law students can specialize in their legal education through eleven in-house clinics and seven externship programs. UGA School of Law offers nearly forty student organizations and four highly regarded legal journals for students to engage with. UGA School of Law also offers a first-year moot court program in addition to numerous upper-level competitive Moot Court teams.

This Georgia school has a median undergraduate GPA of 3.87 and a median LSAT of 168, while the institution's acceptance rate is 14.8%.

law schools

The School of Law at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill

The School of Law at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill is known as one of the best law schools, offering strong programs in legal writing, criminal law, contracts and commercial law, constitutional law, tax law, and environmental law. Located in Chapel Hill, NC, UNC School of Law is a public institution offering reduced tuition to residents of the state. Carolina Law was founded in 1845, making it one of the nation's oldest law colleges, offering a robust legacy of legal excellence.

The UNC Law School offers dual degrees, including a J.D.-M.A. in Sports Administration through the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, a J.D.-M.A. through the Kenan-Flagler Business School, and a J.D.-Master of Public Policy through the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy. Law students can also take courses not offered at UNC at either Duke University Law School or North Carolina Central University School of Law.

Carolina Law offers ten in-house clinics in which students can apply their theoretical experience while receiving hands-on legal training. The school's Pro Bono Program coordinates student service projects, while the semester externship program places students with lawyers and judges around the community.

Carolina Law students can engage with more than 45 student organizations and 6 journals. Numerous moot court teams and mock trial programs offer students the opportunity to develop and showcase their oral argument and trial advocacy skills.

The median undergraduate GPA at UNC School of Law is 3.77, while the median LSAT is 166, and the acceptance rate is 14.6%.

southern law schools

Frequently Asked Questions About Southern Law Schools

What are the best public law schools in the South?

Public law schools offer a more affordable alternative to private institutions. A number of highly ranked public law schools in the South offer competitive and robust law education. The School of Law at the University of Virginia, the School of Law at the University of Texas–Austin, the School of Law at the University of Georgia, and the School of Law at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill are a few of the top public law schools located in the Southern region.

The Southeast region offers a litany of other public law schools, including the University of Alabama School of Law and the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Regardless of whether you choose to attend a public or private institution, law school scholarships can help reduce the cost of a legal education.

How can I prepare to apply to law school?

Applying to law school requires preparation beginning in your undergraduate studies or earlier. Some commonly required application components are strong LSAT scores, a competitive undergraduate GPA with an intensive course of study, a compelling personal statement, letters of recommendation, and a resume. Speaking with practicing attorneys and lawyers will give you a better idea of the type of law you wish to specialize in.

Read this comprehensive law school guide for detailed information on how to apply to law school, navigate admissions requirements, and what steps you should take to strengthen your candidacy.

How can I afford law school?

While paying for law school may seem like a daunting task, here at Bold.org, we are committed to helping students eliminate student debt by connecting them with scholarships and other resources to support their educational goals. There are several scholarships specifically for law school students that you can apply for today. You can also explore exclusive scholarships by state, major, year, demographic, and more.

Check out our Scholarship Blog for more information and learn how to apply for scholarships today!