Education

25 Best Accredited Law Schools

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 31 minute read

Overview

According to a 2012 report, the United States has approximately 1.2 million lawyers, or one lawyer for every 300 citizens. Most of these lawyers have graduated from one of the 200 accredited law schools in the United States by the American Bar Association (ABA). Law school applicants outnumber medical school applicants by nearly three to one in the United States. Legal professionals may be in such high demand due to the country’s incarceration rate, which is higher than any other country’s at 2.2 million people. Criminal law, however, is just one of the many facets of this multi-faceted field that students are flocking to. For instance, only 18,000 medical students graduated in 2012, compared to 44,000 Juris Doctors. Despite law schools claiming high placement rates (>90%), some experts believe the United States has reached saturation point. It’s a well-paid profession, with some lawyers billing at rates exceeding $1,000 per hour, not to mention contingency fees averaging 33% to 40%. A man who never finished high school can steal from a freight train,” President Theodore Roosevelt told a son, despite the fact that the rates at the time were significantly lower. However, a person who goes to college and then becomes a lawyer has the potential to steal the entire railroad.”

A great selection of law schools is available in the United States, where there are 200 ABA-accredited institutions. As reported by US News & World Report, abovethelaw.com, and Business Insider, the following is a list of the best law schools. When it comes to colleges, you’ll recognize some of the more well-known Ivy League institutions and may be surprised by some of the lesser-known, but no less impressive, schools.

1. Yale University

Since U.S. News and World Report began publishing rankings of law schools in the early 1900s, Yale Law School, founded in 1824, has consistently been ranked the nation’s top law school. As one of the most prestigious and smallest law schools in the country, Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut, has a highly selective admissions process. They include former President William Taft, current Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Between the 2000 and 2010 terms, the school saw a higher percentage of its students become Supreme Court clerks than any other law school—more than double the percentage of the second-highest law school (Harvard Law School).

J.D., LL.M., M.S.L., D.Sc.L., and Ph.D. in Law are all offered by Yale Law School’s five degree programs. Graduates of the latter program are expected to produce a substantial body of academic research and writing during their three years of study. For Ph.D. students, a dissertation committee of three faculty members ensures that their work is closely monitored. Each year, only a small number of graduate students are accepted into the LL.M. and M.S.L. programs. J.S.D. candidates at Yale Law School must have a strong background in graduate school and have demonstrated an aptitude for scholarly research through their LL.M. studies.

NEASC Accreditation:

A year’s tuition is $56,200.

2. The University of Cambridge

Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard Law School is one of Harvard University’s professional graduate schools. It was established in 1817, making it the country’s first and oldest continuously operating law school. It also houses the world’s largest academic law library. The estate of wealthy landowner and Antiquan slaveholder Isaac Royall, who emigrated to Boston, funded the establishment of Harvard Law School. The three stacked wheat sheaves that make up Royall’s coat of arms are still used as the school’s crest today. The Dean of the law school has traditionally held the Royall chair. Former Dean Elena Kagan (now a Supreme Court Justice) and current Dean Martha Minow (a Yale Law School grad) declined the Royall chair, however, because Royall was a slaveholder.

As part of Harvard Law School’s J.D (Juris Doctor) program, students are given the intellectual foundations for legal study and given the opportunity to concentrate on specific areas of interest for three years. They have a one-year LL.M. (Master of Laws) program for students with a lot of experience in the field of law. Doctor of Juridical Science, a more advanced degree, is also available for students interested in a career in law school administration. Graduates of the S.J.D. program, according to the law school, are teaching and producing scholarship at the highest levels in the world’s finest law schools. Finally, the Law School offers joint J.D. programs with master’s degrees in business administration (MBA), public health (MPH), a PhD in arts and sciences, and a master’s degree in urban planning for students interested in pursuing expertise in another field (MUP).

New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

College costs: $55,842

3. Stanford University

In Silicon Valley near Palo Alto, California, Stanford Law School is a prestigious graduate school of Stanford University. In 1893, former President Benjamin Harrison became the first professor of law at the university. Stanford Law School is regarded as one of the best in the country by US News & World Report, which regularly places it in the top three. Law School was renamed the Law Department in 1908 by Stanford’s Board of Trustees, a move that signaled the department’s transition into a professional school. For the next eight years, Frederic Campbell Woodward served as dean of the law school; in 1924, Stanford’s law program became a modern professional school when it required bachelor’s degree admission.

More than 500 students are enrolled in the school, all of whom are pursuing the Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D). LL.M., M.S.L., M.S. in Legal Studies, and D.Sc. in Legal Studies are Stanford Law’s other four post-graduate certificates in legal studies (J.S.D.). From White-Collar Crime to Supreme Court Simulation, Stanford Law’s 280 additional courses cover a wide range of topics. A doctor of medicine (M.D.) or a Ph.D. is also available in conjunction with the J.D. at this institution. Most JD/PhD programs are completed in half the time it takes to complete them elsewhere. Only 15-20 students per year are accepted into the LLM program, which is the most competitive of the Master’s programs.

Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accreditation

The cost of education is $54,336.

4. Chicago’s University of Chicago

Founded in 1890, the University of Chicago was one of the country’s newest major research institutions when it first welcomed students in October of that year. William Rainey Harper, the first president of the University, was able to carry out his vision for a new institution because of the generosity of its founding donors, led by John D. Rockefeller. Harper’s vision of a university-based legal education shaped the aspirations of the new school. A scientific understanding of law and the application of legal and juristic principles, according to Harper. In addition to some of the country’s best lawyers, their alumni include, to name just a few, the Chair of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and General Counsels of United Airlines, NBA, FBI, and Legal Assistance Foundation, to name just a few. Abovethelaw.com ranked our school third, which is yet another honor.

If you’ve already completed a one-year master’s degree in law from a university in the United States, you’re eligible to apply to the Law School’s J.D. program, which lasts for three years, as well as the LL.M. program, which lasts for a year. Unless a student holds an LLM from the University of Chicago Law School and is applying as a transfer student with advanced standing, all applicants to the JD program must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Law schools in the United States are frequently contacted by non-US employers and multi-national corporations looking for lawyers who want to work abroad. These programs are seen as a source of candidates who have already been “screened” by the selective admissions process at the schools.

Affiliation: The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools’ Higher Learning Commission

Cost of education: $55,503

5. The University of Columbia

Near the present-day location of New York’s City Hall, Columbia University, formerly known as King’s College, was established in 1754. As the sixth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, Columbia is New York’s oldest university. As one of the first law schools in the United States and a founding member of the American Association of Law Schools, Columbia Law School was established in 1858. Columbia University relocated to its current site in Morningside Heights in 1896. Undergraduate and graduate engineering schools were established, as well as faculties in medicine, law and teaching in addition to the undergraduate college. Columbia Law School was the first in the country to mandate pro bono work for its students in 1993.

There is a Columbia education for everyone who wants to pursue a career in law, no matter what their interests are. The first year of school is known as the Foundation Curriculum, which serves as an introduction to legal institutions and processes. It’s encouraged for second and third-year students to take courses in Human Rights Law, Environmental Law, Corporate Finance or Civil Liberties, among many others. The Columbia Law School offers a variety of joint degree programs for students who wish to pursue both a bachelor’s and a law degree. One or more examples of graduate degrees in journalism, social work, public health, and business include the following: Master of Science in Journalism (MSJ), Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW), and Master of Public Health (MPH).

Middle States Commission on Higher Education (Middle States Commission)

How much does it cost?

6. The City College of New York

The law school at New York University is known as NYU Law (New York University School of Law). The oldest law school in New York City, it was founded in 1835. It is widely acknowledged that NYU Law is one of the most prestigious and selective law schools in the United States and the rest of the world. NYU Law is currently ranked 6th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Nine months after graduating, 93.7% of the Class of 2013 found full-time, long-term jobs requiring a JD, according to the ABA-required disclosures made by New York University School of Law in 2013. There are 105 faculty members, 336 courses in 11 areas of study, 30 centers, and 80 student organizations at NYU Law. The School of Law has long been a pioneer in bringing about reforms that have reshaped the field of law. In 1890, women were admitted to NYU Law for the first time, 60 years ahead of Harvard’s admission of female students.

We cultivate a vibrant community at NYU Law through a wide range of academic and innovative programs, including our well-known clinics and our groundbreaking “lawyering” program. In addition, the school offers dual degrees in courses such as Economics, French Studies, Politics, as well as Social Work and Public Health for those with a J.D. and an LLM, MBA, or Master of Arts (M.A.). For those interested in a specific area of law, such as criminal practice, international law, intellectual property, or business and tax law, NYU Law also offers career counseling.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is the accrediting body.

School costs: $56,838

7. The Pennsylvania State University

In 1740, the University of Pennsylvania, now known as Penn State, was established in Philadelphia. A member of the first U.S. Supreme Court and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, James Wilson delivered the first lectures on law at the University of Pennsylvania to President George Washington and his Cabinet in 1790. However, the university didn’t start offering a full-time law program until 1850. The American Law Register (renamed the Law Review in 1908) was published by the law school two years later and is the oldest continuously published legal journal in the United States. When Sadie Turner Mossell (Alexander) graduated in 1927, she was the first African-American woman to do so (and also was the first African-American woman in the country to earn a PhD.).

Penn Law offers a full-time JD program, which is the first step in becoming a lawyer. The Law School has admitted international students who already have a law degree from outside the United States but want to pursue a JD degree in the United States. Students who want to pursue the LLM degree must enroll in two semesters of classes full-time. Candidates who have completed at least 16 credits, earned in at least three courses per semester, over two semesters, may apply for the Master of Comparative Law (LLCM) degree. The LLCM does not accept credits earned in the LLM program. The Doctor of Judicial Science (SJD) degree requires a dissertation that makes an original and substantive contribution to legal scholarship, as well as an oral defense of the dissertation.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is the accrediting body.

The cost of education is $56,916 per year

8. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Durham, North Carolina’s Duke University School of Law is a part of the larger university. In 1868, the Trinity College School of Law became one of Duke University’s ten schools and colleges. Trinity’s Law Department was established in 1865, and the School of Law was formally established in 1868. The school was renamed the Duke University School of Law in 1924 following the renaming of Trinity College to Duke University. In more recent years, Duke Law has consistently been ranked among the nation’s top 14 law schools. Duke Law was ranked by Forbes as the second-highest-earning law school in the United States. U.S. News and World Report has it as the 8th best law school in the nation for 2015. Of all the US law schools, Duke Law’s New York Bar Exam pass rate is the highest, making it a significant achievement. Almost all students who take the exam pass it on their first try.

For the first year of study at Duke Law, students learn the fundamentals of law, as well as how to analyze, reason, and write about it. In addition to six semester-long courses, students take two year-long courses: Legal Foundations and Legal Analysis; Research and Writing in Law; and Foundations of Law and Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing in Law. In addition to the standard J.D., Duke offers an LL.M. in Masters of Laws (LL.M.) for those who have obtained a law degree outside of the United States. The SJD (Doctor of Judicial Science) degree is an option for students who have earned an LLM from an accredited American law school and wish to continue their education. There is a three-year minimum and a five-year maximum for the SJD program.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)

$55,588 in tuition

9. The University of Virginia (UVA)

The University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson and is the country’s fourth-oldest active law school (second oldest in the state after William & Mary). Since 1948, students at the University of Virginia’s School of Law have published a weekly newspaper, the Virginia Law Weekly. Throughout the years, US News & World Report has consistently placed it among the top 10 law schools in the country. Law school admissions at Virginia Law are some of the most competitive in the country. 307 of the 5,246 J.D. candidates who applied for the fall 2014 intake matriculated. Except for in-state student tuition subsidies, the school receives almost no money from the government. A substantial endowment of $ 380 million and student tuition payments are all the Law School relies on.

Civil procedure, contracts, criminal law, torts, legal research, and constitutional law are just a few of the topics covered in the first year of the J.D. program. Students at the University of Virginia School of Law can choose from among more than 250 courses and seminars offered each year. Additionally, this university offers the Master of Laws (LL.M.) program, which is geared toward graduates of the J.D. program.

foreign law schools who want to learn about American law and legal methods in the United States of America. Students who show exceptional intellectual ability in a program approved by the Graduate Committee can earn a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree. Dual-degree programs in Foreign Affairs and Public Health are available at Virginia’s law school, just like at most other law schools (M.P.H.).

Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Independent Colleges and Schools

$51,800 in-state; $54,800 out-of-state (out-of-state)

10. Berkeley (California) University

William Carey Jones, a Latin professor at Berkeley in 1882, was the first to teach a course in Roman law on campus. Thomas Hart Benton’s grandson, Jones, was one of the first students to enroll in classes at the Berkeley campus when the university relocated from its original Oakland location in 1875. After granting its first bachelor’s degree in law in 1903, the Department of Jurisprudence awarded its first bachelor’s degree in law to Walter A. Gordon in 1922. Renamed in 1950, the School of Law was moved into a brand new building the following year. They’ve gone on to become leaders in the legal, political, academic and business world after graduating from Berkeley Law School. The California Supreme Court has added eight new justices in the past year. There are now two governors in the state.

The Death Penalty Clinic, the International Human Rights Law Clinic, the Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic, the East Bay Community Law Center, and the Domestic Violence Clinic are just a few of the school-sponsored clinics that students can participate in as part of their J.D. program to gain practical legal and public policy experience. The school offers two options for obtaining the same LL.M. degree: a nine-month track and a two-summer professional track. The professional track is designed for lawyers who have a full-time job and can’t take a year off to study at Berkeley Law, but who still want to earn an internationally recognized degree. The traditional track, which runs from August to May, offers students a wide range of opportunities, from learning about the American legal system to conducting original research on a specific area of law.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) has accredited the school.

$48,166 (in-state) and $52,117 (out-of-state) are the tuition costs (out-of-state)

11. Texas A&M University

When the University of Texas at Austin was founded in 1883, the university’s Department of Law was established. In the basement of the university’s Old Main Building, the law school was founded by two professors and 52 students. In 1901, John C. Townes was named the first dean of the Department of Law, and the department moved into its own building in 1908, replacing its previous location in the basement. In 1920, the Department of Law was renamed The University of Texas School of Law, and that name has remained ever since. It had outgrown its original structure by 1935 and needed a new one to accommodate its growth into one of the country’s largest law schools. There was a course on oil and gas law offered at the school for the first time in 1914; it was followed by a course on wind energy in 2008. There are currently 17 legal clinics and numerous internship opportunities.

The Juris Doctor degree, a three-year program, is the foundation of their law program. During the first year of law school, students learn the essentials of our legal system, such as constitutional law and civil procedure. The second and third years of college are when students get to create a curriculum tailored to their interests and goals. This entails, in part, selecting courses on topics that most interest you and working closely with the professors in those classes. University of Texas graduate programs can be combined with the University of Texas Law School’s dual degree programs. Rather than taking the usual five years to complete two graduate degrees, these programs offer the option of earning two graduate degrees simultaneously in four or fewer years. A joint JD/PHD degree program for Law and Philosophy and a joint JD/PhD degree program for Law and Government are also available.

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools provides institutional accreditation.

$33,162 (in-state); $51,720 (out-of-state) (out-of-state)

12. The University of Cornell

Ivy League Cornell University Law School is located in Ithaca, New York, and is part of the university’s larger private campus. Judge Douglas Boardman served as Cornell’s first dean of the Law Department when it was established in Morrill Hall in 1887. High school graduation was not required for admission at the time. Admission became a graduate degree program in 1924 after two years of undergraduate education were required in 1917. It wasn’t until 1925 that the Cornell Law School was given its current name. Rare historical legal documents are included in their collection, which now contains more than 700,000 volumes. There are 12 national repositories for printed copies of Supreme Court briefs, and the library serves as one of them. In addition, the New York Court of Appeals’ records and briefs are available in print form. In the library’s rare book collection is the Samuel Thorne collection, which includes 175 of the earliest and rarest books on the subject of law.

If you want to become a lawyer, Cornell has a wide range of options for you to choose from: the three-year law degree (J.D.), a one-year masters degree in law (LLM.), and a doctorate in law. There are also a number of international dual-degree programs available. There are no required courses in the second and third years of the J.D. program. A Cornell J.D. and a graduate law degree from one of two European partner institutions in Paris or Berlin are available as part of Cornell’s dual-degree programs. Cornell Law School and the Université de Paris I jointly offer the first program. In contrast, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin offers the latter option. If you want to attend a foreign university, you must be fluent in English and either French or German.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is the accrediting body.

The cost of education is $59,360.

13. Michigan State University

A university law school located in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan Law School (Michigan Law) educates students in the practice of law. After its establishment in 1859, the School of Law quickly became well-known throughout the country. In 1870, the University of Michigan Law School was the largest in the country. It’s consistently rated as one of the best law schools in the country, and that’s saying something. There is a very high bar for admission to the University of Michigan School of Law. In the fall of 2012, 1,238 out of 5,062 applicants were accepted, with 344 students completing their studies. The 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the 2012 entering class were 166 and 170, respectively, with a median of 169 (top 3.3 percent of test takers) (top 3.3 percent of test takers). A whopping 31% of the graduating class of 2011 was hired by one of the nation’s top 250 corporations. In total, over 170 Michigan law graduates have served in Congress, 20 of whom were senators of the United States (more than 150 graduates). Additionally, Michigan Law has sent 33 of its graduates to serve on the state’s Supreme Court.

Legal research, analysis, and writing are among the skills taught in Michigan’s Legal Practice Program, which is tailored to the needs of each first-year student. Less than a quarter of a class is considered large in this setting. Students in the J.D. program’s second year have the opportunity to work with real clients on both litigation and transactional matters during the program’s 18 clinics. As an alternative to the standard four-year law degree, the university offers the following four postgraduate certificate:

  • Master of the Sacred Code (LL.M.)
  • Law degree in international taxation.
  • Comparative Law and Constitutional Studies Ph.D. (M.C.L.
  • In order to be eligible for the SJD, a student must first complete a bachelor’s degree in legal studies.

A master’s degree in law is required.

Accreditation: The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools’ Higher Learning Commission.

$51,398 in school costs per year

14. University of Northwestern

Union College of Law was established in 1859 by Henry Booth and renamed the Old University of Chicago Union College of Law in 1902. The first law school in Chicago was established here. Booth becomes the school’s first dean and professor. In the first year, there are 23 students enrolled at a cost of $100 per year. Three-year LLB programs were introduced at the Law School in 1896 – an additional year on top of the current two-year programs. It was in 1919 that the Law School adopted a four-year curriculum and increased its undergraduate entry requirements from one to three years. Northwestern Law’s Scientific Crime Detection Lab opens its doors in July 1929 in the wake of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. In 2009, Northwestern Law becomes the first prestigious law school to offer an accelerated JD program. For a shorter period of time, students in this program earn the same number of credits as those in a traditional JD program.

Programs of study at Northwestern Law range from the JD to the Master of Science in Law (MSL), and each has its own unique set of requirements. Legal reasoning, analysis, and writing, as well as an in-depth understanding of the legal structures and policies, are the focus of the first year of study in the J.D. curriculum. In the second and third years, students have the option of taking a general course of study or one of six specializations, including Appellate Law, Business Enterprise, Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Environmental Law, International Law, or Law and Social Policy.. The school also offers a J.D./MBA dual degree program that includes core courses in finance, entrepreneurship, international business law, real estate law, and tax law in addition to electives in those areas. The JD/PhD combined program, which can be completed in as little as six years, offers additional degree opportunities.

The Higher Learning Commission provides accreditation.

Cost: $56,434

15. University of Vanderbilt

The Nashville, Tennessee-based law school of Vanderbilt University opened its doors to students in the fall of 1874, a full year before the main campus of the university did. The approved faculty of eight members was reduced to one in the first year because only seven students showed up. When the law school moved downtown from Vanderbilt’s campus in 1889, it made it easier for the faculty to balance their time between teaching and working as lawyers. Only in 1922 did the law department begin requiring a year of college experience. A few years later, in 1925, the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) mandated that students applying to law school have completed at least two years of college prior to enrolling in classes. By 1960, enrollment had risen to an average of over 200 students, and a new building was required. When it first opened in 1962, an expansion was required. Faculty at Vanderbilt Law School received high marks in a study of the scholarly impact of the nation’s law schools conducted in 2015. Nearly 80 percent of each graduating class leaves the state to work in a top-tier legal position, according to the school.

The first year of their J.D. program consists of the required courses. A variety of electives are available to students in their second and third years, including courses in civil, criminal, international and other areas of practice. There are numerous academic programs that allow students to specialize in a particular area of law or practice. The LL.M. program at Vanderbilt University provides a one-year master’s degree opportunity for foreign lawyers and international students. Additionally, the Law School provides a joint Ph.D. in law and economics and a J.D. degree. Dual degrees in Law and Neuroscience are also available. Aside from these, there are a number of other joint degrees available, such as the JD/MPH, JD/MFA, JD/MPH, JD/MDS, JD/MDiv, and the JD/M.T.S. (Masters of Theological Studies) (Education Policy). Two options for students who want to specialize in law and business are available: a certificate of specialization in Law and Business or an MA in Latin American Studies, respectively.

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

It costs $48,722 to attend school.

16. Boston University

As of 1929, 11 Beacon Street in downtown Boston was home to Boston College Law School. Dennis Dooley, the school’s first dean, had a vision of a law school that was both socially conscious and analytically minded. In 1932, it became one of only three New England law schools to receive American Bar Association accreditation, joining Harvard, Yale, and Boston University. Two-thirds of the freshman class would be kicked out for failing to meet the high academic standards. Since then, Dean Dooley’s law school has grown into a 40-acre campus in Newton, Massachusetts, and has been ranked among the best in the country. Graduates of the B.C. School of Law have gone on to prominent positions in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as in federal and state courts, boardrooms, law firms, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

Boston College Law School’s Academic Support Program (ASP) aims to help first-year law students develop effective study habits. It is mandatory for all J.D. students to participate in the ASP. Only Constitutional Law II and the Professional Responsibility survey course are required courses in the second and third years of study. The Law School has embraced the idea that students are better able to retain information when they “learn by doing.” All students are encouraged to participate in some form of experiential learning, from programs that provide services such as civil litigation and wrongful conviction appeals to externships at leading law firms. Some of Boston College’s dual degree options are with other Boston College graduate schools and programs; two (JD/MA, JD/MPH) are in partnership with Tufts University. Boston College offers a wide range of dual degree options.

Affiliation: The New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

$46,790 for tuition

17. The University of Georgetown

Georgetown’s law school enrolled 25 students from 12 states and Cuba in the fall of 1870, with high expectations and a tenuous financial structure. Two years of evening classes were required for the course of study. When the LL.M. program was first established in 1878, it accepted its first international student from the Philippines. At 506 E Street, NW, a new law school was built in 1890. Law Center moved to 600 New Jersey Avenue in 1971 following the construction of the Bernard P. McDonough Hall, which had been in place for 80 years before that. Today, the Law Center is home to the nation’s top clinical program, joint degree and advanced degree programs, world-renowned centers and institutes, and an Office of Public Interest and Community Service (OPICS). The school has one of the largest full-time faculties in the world to go along with its diverse legal education. Among the school’s faculty, 23 have served as clerks for the Supreme Court of the United States, while 39 have advanced degrees in other fields.

Its Juris Doctor Program aims to produce lawyers with the highest levels of analytical skill and ethical sensibility who can serve their clients well. More than 27 traditional legal fields are covered in Georgetown Law’s curriculum, which also includes numerous opportunities for students to gain real-world experience in courses and clinics. Additionally, the School of Foreign Service offers a wide range of joint degrees, which allow students to combine their legal education with a degree in a variety of other fields. LL.M., S.J.D., and certificate programs are attended by American and international lawyers at the graduate level. More than 350 classes and seminars are available at Georgetown, including 140 classes and 90 seminars just for graduate students.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is the accrediting body.

$53,130 for four years of college.

18. California State University, Los Angeles

Since its inception in 1949, the UCLA School of Law has built a name for itself as a leader in legal education, scholarship, and creative thinking. First public law school in Southern California and oldest top-ranked law school in the United States Law clinic students at UCLA were among the first to learn about the link between doctrinal mastery and real-world application in the 1970s. UCLA Law established the Empirical Research Group (ERG) in the 1990s to allow faculty to conduct research utilizing advanced data techniques. This period saw the establishment of a number of policy and legal think tanks at the law school. More than 15,000 UCLA Law alumnae are now part of a worldwide network. The number of UCLA Law graduates serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is the most of any single law school.

Legal research, writing, and advocacy are all part of the Lawyering Skills course, which gives students an in-depth look at the interrelationship between the two areas of law. In addition to Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property and Torts, the Lawyering Skills course is taught alongside courses that have historically laid the foundations for all types of legal practice: Students in UCLA Law’s second and third years of study have access to a wide range of upper-division courses, clinics, and six concentrations. We also offer eight formal joint degree programs in cooperation with other distinguished UCLA professional schools and departments for students at UCLA Law to choose from. Students can earn a joint degree in law and a variety of other fields such as African-American Studies and American Indian Studies as well as law and philosophy, public health and social welfare, and law and policy.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) provides official recognition.

$45,226 in-state; $51,720 out of state (out-of-state)

19. Minneapolis-St. Paul College of Art and Design

Founded in 1888, the University of Minnesota Law School is located in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. One of the nation’s best law schools, the Law School consistently ranks in the top 20. To begin with, the school occupied Pattee Hall, so named for William S. Pattee, the school’s first dean, who served from 1888 until 1911. In 1978, the school relocated to its current location, which was formerly known as the Law Center. The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) was established in 1982 by the University of Minnesota Law School and Harvard Law School. About 70.4% of the 2013 graduates in Minnesota obtained full-time jobs requiring a J.D. within nine months of graduation, according to ABA-required employment disclosures. In terms of total volume, the Law Library ranks 7th among similar institutions in the United States. Summer study programs for J.D. students are available at the Law School, and one was launched there in 2006 for the first time.

It is possible to earn both a J.D. and a master’s degree in patent law at the University of Minnesota Law School in one academic year. Through the school’s LL.M. programs, foreign lawyers can gain a thorough grounding in the law while also expanding their professional networks. Both American Law and Business Law are LL.M. programs offered by the School of Law. In order to pursue advanced legal studies and original research under faculty supervision, the Law School’s S.J.D. program is ideal. Their one-year professional master’s degree program for scientists and engineers interested in pursuing a career in patent law addresses these opportunities. According to scholarly impact, their Law School professors are ranked 10th out of all law schools. The student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1 is also significant.

Accreditation: The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools’ Higher Learning Commission.

$41,222 in-state; $48,710 out of state (out-of-state)

20. University of St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri

Washington University was founded in 1853 by prominent St. Louis, Missouri merchant Wayman Crow and his pastor, William Greenleaf Eliot Jr., who were concerned about the lack of educational institutions in the expanding Midwest (named after President George Washington). As the oldest continuously operating private law school west of the Mississippi, the School of Law (WashULaw) dates back to 1867 when it was founded. First, the law school was housed downtown; it moved to Washington University’s Danforth Campus in 1904, and now occupies Anheuser-Busch Hall. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the top 20 law schools in the United States. It has consistently been ranked in the top ten by the same source for its clinical training and trial advocacy programs.

There is a lot of structure in the first year of law school at Washington University: In the fall, 1Ls take Contracts, Property, and Torts; in the spring, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Law. Students pursuing a J.D. degree at the graduate level complete the remaining 56 credit hours by developing a course of study that is unique to them. LLM and MLS graduate programs are available (Master of Legal Studies). Specializations include Intellectual Property and Technology Law, Taxation, and Negotiation and Dispute Resolution for the LLM. A JSD (Juris Scientiae Doctoris) is also available through WashULaw, but it requires two years of on-campus residency in St. Louis. Attorneys interested in a career in academia, policy, or scholarly legal research are encouraged to enroll in this program.

An organization called the Higher Learning Commission provides official recognition of educational institutions.

The cost of education is $50,152.

21. Emory University is the number-one college in the state of Georgia.

Newton County Methodists in 1836 discussed the possibility of establishing a new town and college. Named after the prestigious British cousin of the school, Oxford is now a city in the United States. The American Methodist bishop who served as an inspiration for the school, John Emory, gave his name to the institution. Emory University received its charter from the Georgia General Assembly on December 10, 1836. Twenty-five freshmen and sophomores arrived at Emory two years later. When the church decided to build a new university in DeKalb County, Georgia, it was the brother of former Emory President Warren Candler, Asa Griggs Candler, who convinced them to do so. On January 25, 1915, DeKalb County re-chartered Emory College as Emory University. By the end of September 1919, Emory University had established a school of law, medicine, business, and graduate studies, among other things. Emory Law is ranked in the top 25 law schools by Business Insider, and it is also ranked as one of the best law schools for practical training.

During their first year of law school, first-year J.D. students are exposed to a wide range of courses, including Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Legislation, and several other advanced topics. During the second year, students will take a one-week course on advocacy and complete a summer clerkship or internship. Emory Law School offers a Juris Master degree, a 30-credit hour program that can be tailored to meet your professional interests and needs. For those with a law degree, there is the LLM (Master of Laws), a 24-credit-hour program that can be tailored to meet their specific needs. Teachers and scholars of law can continue their education with the SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science). The five joint degrees offered by Emory University in the fields of medical science, business, science, and arts and science are also worthy of consideration.

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools provides institutional accreditation.

$49,734 for tuition

22. Notre Dame Law School

This is the oldest Catholic law school in the United States; it was founded in 1869. Embracing equally the wealth of its heritage and a calling to address the needs of the contemporary world, Notre Dame Law School brings together centuries of Catholic intellectual and moral tradition. The Catholic tradition of Saint Thomas More (an English lawyer, author, and statesman who lived from 1478 to 1535) is an inspiration to the Law School. The University of Notre Dame was founded and is run by the Roman Catholic priestly order of the Congregation of Holy Cross. In comparison to other top-tier law schools, the alumni network at Notre Dame Law School is one of its greatest assets. In recent years, graduates of Notre Dame Law have ranked 17th in obtaining Supreme Court clerkships. Additionally, 787.7% of the 2014 graduating class found full-time jobs requiring a J.D. according to the university’s own statistics.

In every American jurisdiction, their J.D. curriculum provides a strong foundation that is essential to the practice of the law. Law students at Notre Dame Law School can pursue an LL.M. degree at their main campus in South Bend, Indiana or in the United Kingdom (UK). For lawyers from outside the United States, the Notre Dame Center for Civil and Human Rights also offers an LL.M. in International Human Rights Law. An international human rights law doctoral program at the university has been designed specifically for those who teach in the field and want to continue their education beyond a master’s degree. In addition, the College of Science, not the Law School, offers a one-year Master of Science in Patent Law program. Other considerations are their seven programs of study for students who wish to concentrate on various legal fields: business law, criminal law, and environmental law, to name a few.

Accreditation: The North Central Association of Schools and Colleges’ Higher Learning Commission.

The cost of tuition is $50,520.

23. University of the District of Columbia

President Washington’s desire to establish a national institution of higher learning led to the creation of the George Washington University. Washington died before he could see his plans come to fruition. President James Monroe signed an act of Congress creating the District of Columbia’s Columbian College on February 9, 1821. Columbian College became Columbian University in 1873 and moved to 15th and L Streets in New York City. It started awarding doctoral degrees and welcomed the first female students. As a result of this merger, Columbian University was renamed Columbian College in 1904. As of right now, the Law School is home to over 24,000 active alumni, many of whom serve as judges on the state, federal, and local levels. GW Law hosts more than 100 events each year, including major international conferences, speeches by Supreme Court Justices, and other prominent speakers.

Law school students at the George Washington University School of Law believe that their diverse J.D. program prepares them for a wide range of careers in private practice, public interest organizations, government agencies, academia, and the judiciary. Graduates of a J.D. program may pursue an LLM degree, which requires 24 credit hours, including four hours of thesis work. One or more areas of study can be chosen by students, such as the Constitutional Law of the United States, Labor Law, Corporate Law, or Health Care Law. Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) candidates can only be admitted to a small number of seats at the Law School’s doctoral level. Both J.D. and LL.M. students can pursue joint degree programs at the George Washington University (GW). The Law School offers joint J.D. programs with four other schools within the University for those seeking a degree in this field.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is the accrediting body.

Tuition is $52,033.

24. Alabama State University

A “seminary of learning” was authorized by the federal government in Alabama Territory in 1818. It was in Tuscaloosa on December 18, 1820, that the seminary was formally established and given the name “The University of the State of Alabama”. Congress granted the university 40,000 acres (162 km2) of coal land as partial compensation for $250,000 in war damages after the university reopened in 1871 following the end of the Civil War. Since its inception in 1872, the School of Law has had 107 students enrolled. According to the National Jurist, it currently has a student body of over 36,000 and is a “Best Value” law school. Also, 91.8 percent of the Class of 2014 of the University of Arizona Law School were employed within nine months of graduating. There are 17 outstanding moot court and trial advocacy teams at Alabama Law, and four student-run journals are published each academic year.

University of Alabama School of Law students can choose from a wide range of electives in emerging areas of law such as environmental law, intellectual property and white-collar criminal law. Additionally, UA Law offers a JD/MBA program in conjunction with its Manderson School of Business. Some other joint degree programs include the JD/MSCE (Master of Science in Civil Engineering), the JD/LLM in Taxation or Business Transactions and a joint JD/MA in Political Science. It is possible for students to take part in any one of the six law clinics offered by the university during their time in law school. These clinics include a Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Clinic, an Elder Law Clinic, a Crime and Justice Clinic, a Domestic Violence and Criminal Defense Clinic, and a Mediation Law Clinic. Students have the opportunity to represent real clients in these clinics, which provide free legal assistance to low-income individuals and community organizations.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides accreditation.

$21,624 (in-state) $36,304 (out-of-state) (out-of-state)

25. Iowa State University

At its epicenter in the city of its name, Iowa City, sits a premier public research university known as the University of Iowa (UI). Iowa is the state’s first and oldest university, having been established in 1847. First law school west of Mississippi River and first university to use television in education established by the University of Iowa in 1932. First U.S. public university to admit both men and women on an equal basis was Iowa, which opened its doors in 1855. As one of the first American colleges and universities to award a law degree to a woman (Mary B. Hickey Wilkinson, 1873) and an African-American student (G. Alexander Clark in 1879). For the Class of 2013, Iowa Law ranks among the best schools in the nation for placing graduates of our three-year JD program in full-time, long-term positions that require bar passage.

Iowa Law offers a “3+3 Program” in addition to the traditional three-year J.D. program. In order to participate in this program, students must be juniors at one of the participating institutions. As a result of their successful completion of first-year law school courses, students admitted to the program are able to complete both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in just six years. Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research, Contracts, Property, Torts and Professional Responsibility are all part of the Master of Laws (LLM) offered by the school. The SJD program provides students with the opportunity to pursue advanced legal research. If you don’t want to become a lawyer but still need to be aware of legal issues, you may want to consider the Master of Studies in Law (MSL).

Association: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS).

$23,760 in-state; $41,296 out of state (out-of-state)

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