Best Law Schools in the US

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The study of law pertains to governing society to provide justice by using the legal system to ensure compliance with the regulated rules. Earning a law degree could allow you to practice as an attorney or work in politics, business, public interest, federal clerkship careers, or any other related field.

Law school is among the most popular graduate programs students pursue upon completing their undergraduate degree. If it is an aspiration you want to pursue, it might be time to begin researching which law school is best suited for you.

Between the large variety of law schools, deciding which programs to apply to might be overwhelming. Every institution will implement an approach unique to them, so explore all of them to clarify what you are looking for.

This Bold.org article will provide you with the Best Law Schools in the United States to boost your legal education and excel in your future career. Carefully consider all the options to hopefully find your dream law school.

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Yale law school (New Haven, Connecticut) - 7.3%

Yale Law School is consistently ranked first in US law school rankings. The prestigious institution's top spot is thanks to its excellent professors, employment outcomes, and research opportunities.

They value a hands-on approach towards any legal profession, as they offer small classes to encourage further connection between the student body and faculty members. Their commitment to educational intimacy includes a more holistic method toward grades which incentivizes further learning.

Their superiority in annual rankings makes Yale law school admission as highly selective, with accepted students having median LSAT scores and GPAs of 175 and 3.94, respectively.

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Stanford Law School (Palo Alto, CA) - 6.28%

Established in 1893, Stanford has taught some of the most influential people in the legal world. They are acknowledged for their positive learning environment and stimulating collegiate culture. Students and faculty members come together to support innovative ideas and explore novel experiences within the world of law.

There are 14 areas of interest in law studies for students to choose from, including Racial justice, Tech Law and Policy, Academia, and Criminal Law, among many others. As one of the leading research universities, students can even further their understanding within these areas by innovating.

As one of the top law schools, Stanford University has an acceptance rate of 6.28 percent. The class of 2025 had an average GPA of 3.9 and a 172 LSAT score.

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Harvard law school (Cambridge, MA) - 10%

Harvard law school has been at the forefront of legal education for years. As one of the oldest leading law schools, it transformed the industry tremendously. In addition to the robust curriculum that allows for collaborative exchanges, students can take advantage of clinical programs to have a hands-on approach to their education while making a difference in others' lives.

Harvard Law offers 45 areas of interest for students to pursue. Their diverse range of programs opens many opportunities for students of all aspirations and backgrounds. One can be assured that many career prospects are available upon graduating from Harvard.

Admissions data shows that most of the student body had high test scores and grades. Particularly, the 50th academic percentile was a 174 LSAT score and 3.92 GPA. With a 10% acceptance rate, it is a highly selective institution.

University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA) - 20.2%

UC Berkeley's School of law is best known for its intellectual property law, environmental law, and business law. The institution's curriculum paved the way for these specialties and now puts it among the top law schools.

In addition to an excellent legal education, UC Berkeley provides a unique course curriculum that provides a well-rounded education for students to grow. There are multiple opportunities to get involved through field research, clinical, and student organizations.

Since UC Berkeley is an in-state school, it can be an affordable option for students residing in California. During the 2022 application cycle, UC Berkeley admitted 1,086 students, with the average accepted student having a 169 LSAT score and a 3.83 GPA during their bachelor's.

New York University (New York City, NY) - 29.43%

NYU's School of law is most recognized for business/corporate law, international law, environmental law, and criminal law. Including these fields, there are a total of 16 areas of study for students to choose from.

The faculty members at NYU consist of respected leaders and experts in numerous fields of law. Their rigorous curriculum, combined with discussions of cutting-edge interdisciplinary, provides students a great opportunity to excel in their careers.

Particularly, NYU offers a unique lawyering program where first-year students can experience real-world situations. Through this program, students can pick up skills, including negotiation, case analysis, and informal and formal trial advocacy.

Admissions data shows that the Fall 2022 entering class average statistics was a 172 LSAT score and 3.88 GPA.

Columbia University (New York City, NY) - 11.8%

Right outside the heart of New York city, Columbia University is world-renowned for its rigorous education. It is acknowledged as one of the best law schools on numerous ranking systems, with immense strength in corporate law, legal education, and commercial law.

The highly respected Ivy League institution has access to one of the largest summer programs in the country, offering over a hundred students with real-life clinical experience. Together, the faculty, research and clinical opportunities, and expansive curriculum all work in unison to elevate your law career.

In 2022, Columbia received 8026 applications but accepted less than 12 percent of those applicants. The statistics for the average applicant were a 173 LSAT score and a 3.87 undergraduate GPA.

Duke University (Durham, NC) - 26.91%

Located in North Carolina, Duke University is consistently recognized as a T-14 Law School on multiple law school ranking platforms, including the national law journal and news world report. Duke prides itself on its endless opportunities and rigorous legal education.

The collaborative environment that Duke encourages sets it apart from other universities. At its core value, the university believes that growth is best fostered through continuous engagement and discussion with diverse personalities.

Of the 225 that enrolled in Duke Law school for the class of 2025, they had an average of 170 LSAT scores and a 3.85 undergraduate GPA. While the acceptance rate fluctuates yearly, students will need competitive statistics to achieve admission into Duke.

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University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA) - 14.6%

The University of Pennsylvania is among the oldest and most selective American law schools. They commit to creating leaders who will use their education to innovate and practice law with integrity and expertise.

UPenn offers a cross-disciplinary education where students can take courses outside the law school from any graduate sister schools. There are tons of courses to choose from, allowing students to curate their experience for their desires.

The Ivy League institution is highly selective, with the median LSAT and GPA being 172 and 3.90, respectively.

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law (Evanston, IL) - 13.9%

Located outside of Chicago, Northwestern University is a leading institution in interdisciplinary and social justice education. Northwestern offers clinicals, mentorship, and research opportunities to ensure that students have the most refreshing hands-on law experience.

In addition to a robust curriculum, Northwestern offers a senior research program. Third-year law students can partner with a faculty member through the program to conduct and supervise legal research. At the end of the program, students may opt to publish their written work.

The average admitted student enrolled into Pritzker within the class of 2025 had an LSAT score of 171 and a 3.86 GPA.

University of Chicago (Chicago, IL) - 11.9%

The University of Chicago Law has taught some of the most influential political figures and is recognized as a highly respected institution. Outstanding leaders at the University encourage deeper conversations about law, emphasizing exploring legal education.

The University of Chicago courses take advantage of the Socratic Method during lectures to prompt the utmost discussion. Professors engage students with the material to address their perspectives on the topic at hand rather than implementing a traditional student-teacher approach.

For the class entering 2022, the average LSAT score was 173, and the GPA was 3.91. Most applicants have high statistics upon applying.

Georgetown University (Georgetown, DC) - 12.9%

Located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University is in the hub of the country's capital. It is the perfect location to practice law if interested in pursuing a political career, as the federal government is a walk away from campus.

Given the proximity to a magnitude of federal systems, Georgetown is the leading university with the largest in-house clinical program. Through these highly regarded clinicals, students get the best access to real-life legal experience.

The opportunities at Georgetown are endless, with top-notch experts and world-renowned centers and institutes. Since its establishment, Georgetown has been a heavily desired institution making its application process selective. The 50th percentile LSAT and GPA scores were 171 and 3.85.

University of Virginia School of Law (Charlottesville, VA) - 15.3%

The University of Virginia is among the top 10 law schools in the United States. They offer 18 concentrations in their law school program, including environmental and criminal law. Students may opt to learn inside and outside the classroom to customize their educational experience.

Unique to the University of Virginia is its study abroad programs. Exploring a new culture and legal system gives students a broader perspective. There are currently 11 participating international law programs for third-year students who may apply.

Among the strongest and high-achieving classes, the class of 2025 median LSAT score and GPA were 171 and 3.94.

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University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan) - 27.9%

The University of Michigan is a public university in Ann Arbor offering students expertise in nearly every avenue of law. Students are challenged and guided in their coursework by multidisciplinary scholarships. With a faculty ratio of 7.2:1, students have greater transparency with their professors and foster stronger and more meaningful relationships.

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In addition to real-life clinical experience, the University of Michigan also greatly emphasizes the foundational skills needed to be an excellent legal professional. The alumni network stretches worldwide, as graduates can find a job just about anywhere.

Since it is a public institution, the University of Michigan is an affordable option for all students residing in Michigan. In 2022, UMich received 6,254 applications with only 336 spots to give. The class boasts a median LSAT score of 171 and a 3.83 GPA.

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Can You Get Scholarships for Law School?

A common misconception is that scholarships are primarily for high school and undergraduate students, with limited opportunities for graduate students. Yet, there are an abundance of opportunities strictly for law school students. Truth is financial aid resources such as Bold.org for students of all education levels.

Given that the cost of an undergraduate degree is growing disproportionately to the family income, the student loan debt is already through the roof before obtaining a graduate degree. For most families, it can be difficult to afford the expenses of both right after one another and are forced to rely on student loans. With time, student loans can result in thousands of debt, affecting future loans and purchases.

Scholarships are the best form of financial support to receive while in college because you do not have to pay it back upon graduation. Regardless of the situation, Bold.org has plenty of scholarships available to students pursuing law studies.

The website is updated daily to reflect new scholarships that focus on a multitude of factors. Feel free to apply to all scholarships you qualify for, whether that be academic aspirations or more personal backgrounds.

In addition to Bold.org, some universities and colleges provide their scholarships. These can be found during the application process and should be applied simultaneously.

Specifically, many law schools offer merit and need-based scholarships. For some, LSAT scores and undergraduate GPA will influence their acceptance, while others will depend on their financial income. Every institution is different, so reach out to the schools you are applying to find all possible sources of financial assistance.

While the price tag of law school varies based on whether it is private vs. private, it is usually quite a hefty amount. With the law being a competitive program, thousands of students from all over the world are eager to obtain scholarships, so it is recommended to begin the process early.

Create your Bold.org account today, and browse the magnitude of scholarships offered on the website. Apply as early as today to get one step closer to graduating college debt-free!

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How Much Does It Cost to Apply to Law School?

Aside from tuition and housing costs, there are many additional fees associated with the law school application process. These fees will usually arise sometime during your application process and will be vital to you.

First, most law schools implement a fee for applying and reviewing your application. Schools require payment before submission for it to be complete and considered.

Depending on the school, this can range anywhere from $0-$85. On average, it is usually between $75-$85, which is quite similar to undergraduate applications. Some schools also offer free waivers, but just to be prepared, expect to spend roughly this amount for every school you apply to.

Most universities require students to take The Law School Admission Test (LSAT), a standardized test designed to assess the preliminary skills for success at law school. In 2018-2019, it cost $120 to take the LSAT, with additional fees to change the exam's date or location.

Multiple attempts can add up to a couple of hundred dollars in the long run, so keep finances in mind when signing up for the exams.

In addition to that, all law school applicants will most likely need a subscription to Credential Assembly Service (CAS), which manages all your required documents, including transcripts and letters of recommendation. The registration fee for CAS is $195.

While these are all strict expenses, try to account for books, supplies, and everything else that will be needed as you prepare for this journey.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Law Schools

When are law applications due?

Every law school is different, so it is always best to contact those schools if you are unclear about any deadlines. Typically, most law schools make use of rolling admissions, so they can be submitted at any point after they open until mid-spring.

Most law schools open their applications in early September, so students have until then the declared cut-off date. Early Decision deadlines are usually during mid October-November, while regular decision deadlines begin mid-February.

It is always better to turn in your applications as early as possible as they are finished because some programs accept students based on their availability. The longer you wait will result in smaller chances of being accepted.

What GPA is needed for law school?

A strong GPA for law school will vary upon many factors. The median GPA of incoming law students was 3.55 among the 191 ranked law schools that provided grade information to U.S. News in 2021 for an annual poll. However, the average median GPA at the top 20 law institutions is 3.86, which is significantly higher.

Nineteen of those twenty schools had a median GPA of at least 3.8, and seven of those twenty institutions had a median GPA of 3.9 or higher. Two critical elements of your law school application are your undergraduate GPA and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score.

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