Lawyers are entrusted with upholding the law of the country and safeguarding their clients’ legal rights. This can be tremendously satisfying. In addition to job satisfaction comes knowing that you’re helping other people. A career in law also has a high earning potential and of course a fair amount of schooling. If you are exploring a career as a lawyer, you may want to check out the best colleges for law and identify one that’s a good fit for you.
An Overview Of A Career In Law
If you love the idea of fighting for other people’s legal rights, a career in law can be highly rewarding. According to the BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) here are quick stats on what your career could look like:
- Median annual salary for lawyers (2022): $135,740
- Projected job outlook for 2022-2023: 8%
- Faster growth than average.
To become a practicing lawyer, you will need to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) in order to practice law in most states and jurisdictions in the U.S. In addition to a law degree, every state requires lawyers to have a state license to practice in their state. This requires passing a bar examination.
Within law, there are several areas you can specialize in. While different law schools may offer different specializations all ABA-accredited programs include certain basic courses. These include:
- constitutional law
- civil procedure
- legal writing
- and property law.
Depending on your area of specialization, you may be employed by a variety of organizations from private corporations of all sizes to federal, local, or state governments.
Why These Law Schools Made Our List
We’ve put together our list of 5 best colleges for law where you can graduate with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. These schools make our list of “best law colleges” because they:
- Regularly receive applicants with the highest LSAT scores.
- Produce a higher-than-average number of Supreme Court justices and other distinguished alumni.
- Offer a diverse selection of legal clinics for students to get hands-on experience.
- Other unique and individualized programs.
Alongside each college, you’ll find some basic details to give you an idea of what to expect from each school.
5 Best Colleges For Lawyers
Harvard Law School lets students test their legal skills early by giving them the opportunity to put classroom lessons to practice starting from the first year itself. These practical sessions may involve representing state prison inmates at disciplinary hearings, helping local musicians understand copyright laws and other similar opportunities.
By graduation day, Harvard Law students would have typically completed several hours of practical sessions, giving them a significant competitive edge over their peers from other law schools. In addition, completing at least 40 hours of volunteering or pro bono work is a mandatory graduation requirement.
Harvard Law School’s grading procedures are different from those of other American law schools. Students at this school don’t receive traditional grades. Instead, they earn a distinction of honors, pass, low pass or fail. The Low Income Protection Plan is another unique feature of this school. It is designed to make it easier for graduates with law income to manage their student loans.
There’s a long list of reasons why Harvard Law School consistently ranks as one of the best colleges for law for several years. Some of the reasons include a diverse selection of legal clinics, an early start to practical legal sessions, a low-income plan, and a long list of distinguished alumni including ex-President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Harvard Law School has an acceptance rate of 10.1%. Successful applicants have GPA scores between 3.82 and 3.99 and median LSAT scores between 170 and 176.
Standford Law School prides itself on offering students ‘unmatched advantages that transform them into exceptional lawyers and leaders.’ This law college lives up to its promise with its intensive, immersive, and interdisciplinary approach to education and a deep commitment to innovation. The largely student-centric law program is customizable to individual students with each student having the ability to create their own joint degree.
Stanford Law offers students a choice of 11 full-time clinics through which students get hands-on experience providing crucial legal services to underserved individuals and communities. The full-time clinics cover diverse areas from Criminal Defense, International Human Rights, and Immigrants’ Rights, to Community Law, and Environmental Law.
With a faculty that includes renowned legal experts, several full-time legal clinics focused on the underserved, and world-class opportunities for research, teaching, and public service, Stanford has earned its reputation as one of the most distinguished law schools in the nation.
The acceptance rate at Stanford Law School is 6.9%. Successful applicants have GPA scores between 3.84 and 3.99 and LSAT scores between 170 and 176.
Yale University Law School offers students an exceptional legal education. The student-faculty ratio at this highly ranked Ivy League law school is 4.5:1. This, combined with small class sizes that are often less than 20 students, ensures that every student receives individualized attention. Additionally, students can customize their course selections to suit their areas of interest.
Students at Yale University Law School don’t earn grades during their first term. During subsequent years, they are graded only by way of honors, credit, pass, low pass, or failure.
Yale University Law School offers students more than 20 legal clinics to choose from starting as early as their first year. During their time at the legal clinic, students represent real clients in diverse cases ranging from apartment eviction proceedings to domestic violence disputes and more. This is in addition to opportunities to participate in legal workshops. Former President Bill Clinton is one of the most notable alumni of this reputed law school.
Yale Law School has one of the most comprehensive international curriculums in the country. Prominent law scholars from around the world who are experts in their respective fields prepare graduates for successful careers in today’s global legal profession.
The school is highly competitive with an acceptance rate of 5.7%. Successful applicants have GPA scores between 3.87 and 3.99 and LSAT scores between 171 and 178.
The Law School at University of Chicago has a diverse and flexible law program that includes more than 170 courses and seminars. Instead of selecting a specialty or concentration, students can tailor the curriculum to meet their individual needs.
Experienced mentors and academic advisers are on hand to help students with selecting the right course combinations. This approach ensures that students get the option to explore diverse legal areas, preparing them for a career in a legal area they are most passionate about.
University of Chicago Law School offers students a diverse range of clinical programs, each functioning as a separate law firm with its own faculty and support staff. Clinical programs include Criminal and Juvenile Justice, Civil Rights and Police Accountability, Global Human Rights, and Employment Law among others.
Students interested in both, law and business, can choose to earn a Juris Doctor (JD) from University of Chicago’s Law School alongside a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Booth School on an expedited timeline.
Engaging coursework, a comprehensive curriculum for students interested in international law, and strong alumni support are just some of the many reasons that earn University of Chicago Law School a spot among the 5 best colleges for law.
The median GPA to get accepted into this law school is 3.91 and the median LSAT score is 173.
University of Pennsylvania (Carey) Law School offers students the opportunity to create unique areas of specialization with a cross-disciplinary slant. Law students can enroll in courses in any academic department of their choice. For example, law students can also earn certificates in areas as diverse as Gender and Sexuality Studies or East Asian Studies.
Penn Law students can also opt to complete a J.D. degree and earn an additional degree in a span of three years. They can choose to earn a Master’s in bioethics through Penn University’s School of Medicine or an M.B.A. through the Wharton School among others.
University of Pennsylvania (Carey) Law School is consistently ranked highly for its unique and diverse curriculum that allows for a lot of flexibility in terms of specialization as well as degree earned.
Penn Law School has an acceptance rate of 9.7%. Successful applicants have GPA scores between 3.61 and 3.96 and median LSAT scores between 167 and 173.
Top 10 Colleges to Earn an LL.B.
Before you can go to graduate law school and earn a Juris Doctor degree, you will have to first earn a Bachelor of Laws degree or LL.B. (Legum Baccalaureus). Sound interesting? Check out the best colleges to help you earn that law degree:
- Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
- University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
- Georgetown University, Washington, DC
- Fordham University, Bronx, NY
- University of Virginia-Main Campus, Charlottesville, VA
- Yeshiva University, New York, NY
- American University, Washington, DC
- Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA
- Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
- Yale University, New Haven, CT
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