List of the Most Expensive Law Schools

January 18, 2023
By AdmissionSight

List of the Most Expensive Law Schools

Why is law school so expensive?

Why is law school so expensive? Undoubtedly, the cost of law school is high. According to a 2020 analysis by The U.S. News, the average annual cost of attending a public law school is $28,264 for an in-state school and $41,726 for an out-of-state school. Do you think that’s bad? Private law schools or the most expensive law schools typically cost $49,548 per year in tuition!

Tuition and other associated fees for attending school are among them. Using these figures as a guide, a student will spend, on average, $84,792 to attend a public, in-state law school. On top of that, they have student loan debt.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that there isn’t one single aspect that accounts for all of the cost of attending law school. Instead, many law schools face a wide range of different problems and issues, which is why they have to charge such high tuition.

Here are some of the causes and contributing factors to the high expense of law school:

Costs of education

Like other colleges, law schools are managed much like companies. They get paid and spend that money to cover their needs and expenses. Along with other costs, law schools must cover the wages of their faculty members.

Additionally, some universities and schools use a portion of the money collected from law school tuition to fund less financially successful programs due to the high wealth generated by the legal profession. As a result, law schools will charge even more tuition because they are aware that some of their funding will be withdrawn. So, they have to raise rates to make sure they still get the money they need.

The additional year that law schools demand adds a significant additional cost. Many traditional graduate programs require only two years of postgraduate study to complete. However, there are three in law school. As was already mentioned, attending law school costs money just for each individual year. A single additional year on top of the typical two years is enough to severely strain most students financially.

Most expensive law schools in the US

What are the most expensive law schools in US? Even for those who attend a nearby, less esteemed public university program, attending law school requires a sizable financial commitment. Like medical school, the tuition is among the most expensive of any type of higher education. Despite this, even the most expensive law schools in the United States experience highs and lows.

Which institution offers the best value for its unavoidably high cost? AdmissionSight prepared the list of the 10 most expensive law schools to find out more about each school’s fees and comparative advantages. Check them out below:

University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia

School: University of Virginia School of Law

Tuition: (2019-2020) $66,200

Average Net Cost: (2019-2020) $45,377 (31.5% lower than the full price)

university of virginia at night

It seems questionable that the University of Virginia is the only public institution to appear on this list. Naturally, it’s the only institution on the list that was founded by Thomas Jefferson.

Unusual for a university, the animal law department was established with a gift from renowned animal advocate and “The Price is Right” host Bob Barker. Additionally, students can enroll in highly regarded courses in every field of law, including criminal, contract, and tax law.

Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

School: Harvard Law School

Tuition: (2019-2020) $67,080

Average Net Cost: (2019-2020) $53,775 (19.8% less than the full price)


One of the ten most expensive law schools in the US may be Harvard Law School. Harvard University has a faculty-to-student ratio of roughly 7 to 1, which is relatively high when compared to some of the other schools on this list.

Harvard has a numerical advantage when it comes to things like placement for Supreme Court clerkships because it also has one of the largest programs in terms of enrollment. The top-ranked courses in corporate law, constitutional law, and dispute resolution are available to Harvard Law students. They can take highly regarded courses in areas including criminal law, contract law, and many others.

Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois

School: Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Tuition: (2019-2020) $67,106

Average Net Cost: (2019-2020) $42,837 (36.2% lower than the full price)

one of the Northwestern University gates

The Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law at Northwestern University is named after a well-known local Chicago family. The university was founded in 1850 with the intention of serving the US Northwest Territory.

Even though Northwestern University is in the suburbs of Evanston, Illinois, the law school is in the middle of Chicago and is known for its clinical education, conflict resolution, and tax law.

University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California

School: USC Gould School of Law

Tuition: (2019-2020) $67,192

Average Net Cost: (2019-2020) $32,109 (52.2% lower than the full price)

UCLA at night

The University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law is considered one of the most expensive law schools and was established in honor of the illustrious jurist James Gould through a gift from his heirs. The University of Southern California is a private university, despite having a name that sounds like a public university.

Although it has the seventh-highest tuition for law schools in the nation. Given that the institution is located in Los Angeles, where living expenses are equally high, the high tuition costs are likely related to this. A particular certificate in entertainment law is available from the school.

Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

School: Duke University School of Law

Tuition: (2019-2020) $67,398.

Average Net Cost: (2019-2020) $41,564 (38.3% lower than the full price)

Duke University signage

The most costly non-Ivy League school on this list is Duke University School of Law. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, and North Carolina State University all serve as boundaries for the Research Triangle, where the school is situated.

As Alaska lacks a law school of its own, Duke produces a legal magazine by the name of Alaska Law Review. The top 10 courses in constitutional and international law are available to Duke Law students.

Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

School: Cornell Law School

Tuition: (2019-2020) $67,833

Average Net Cost: (2019-2020) $46,241 (31.8% lower than the full price)

front view of Cornell University surrounded by trees

Upstate New York is where Cornell University is situated in Ithaca. The school only has roughly 600 students, which may be a contributing factor. With 200 faculty members total, that equates to a professor-to-student ratio of 1 to 3, which is high even by Ivy League standards. There is no category in which Cornell Law is ranked outside of the top 10 by U.S. World Report News.

University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

School: University of Chicago Law School

Tuition: (2019-2020) $67,899 per year.

Average Net Cost: (2019-2020) $54,150 (20.2% lower than the full price)

UChicago banner

The University of Chicago is tucked away in the Hyde Park section of Chicago’s South Side. It focuses on the Socratic method of argumentation, which involves stating and then revising a hypothesis. Even though it may sound stuffy, law school students like it.

They can pick from the highly regarded corporate law, constitutional law, contract law, criminal law, and tax law courses offered by the school.

University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

School: University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School (Penn Carey Law)

Tuition: (2019-2020) $67,998.

Average Net Cost: (2019-2020) $53,852 (20.8%  lower than the full price)

University of Pennsylvania buildings

Philadelphia is home to the University of Pennsylvania, which is an Ivy League institution. The Carey Law School, which was renamed in 2019 as a result of a sizable private donation, is the name of the law school there.

The business law program at the institution received the highest rankings, providing students with a fast pathway to employment in Philadelphia-area corporate legal firms. It received top marks in both criminal law and business and contract law.

New York University in New York, New York

School: NYU School of Law

Tuition: (2019-2020) $68,934

Average Net Cost: (2019-2020) $54,943 (20.3%  lower than the full price)

View of a building in NYU.

Taking the #2 spot on the list of the ten most expensive law schools in the US is New York University. The institution has exceptionally good rankings across a range of legal disciplines. First, students can major in international law, which is ranked number one and is particularly important in the city where the United Nations is based.

The nation’s largest metropolis is a great place for students to study tax law, which is ranked number one, and criminal law, which is ranked number one.

Columbia University in New York, New York

School: Columbia Law School

Tuition: (2019-2020) $72,360

Average Net Cost: (2019-2020) $57,650 (20.3%  lower than the full price)

Columbia University Butler Library at night

The most expensive law school in the country is Columbia University. The university is located in the thriving Manhattan neighborhood of New York City.

This characteristic, together with its Ivy League standing, may contribute to the explanation for its expensive tuition. It may not come as a surprise that Columbia Law School is excellent at corporate law, as many of its alumni land positions at renowned New York City law firms. The school has outstanding results in both contract and business law.

Law school requirements

What are the law school requirements? A four-year bachelor’s degree is typically required for law school programs. Although there is no set major, many students choose to study topics like English, politics, history, philosophy, or economics. The American Bar Association (ABA) recommends that students prepare for legal education by enrolling in “a broad range of challenging courses from demanding professors.”

Pre-law advising is another service provided by some undergraduate programs, and it can give you a better picture of what a legal career might entail. The advisor will also support your admission to law school and assist you in selecting the right undergraduate courses. To apply, you must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which tests how well you understand what you read, how well you can analyze things, and how well you can think logically.

You will start a three-year program to earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree after being admitted (although some schools offer a four-year part-time program). Students take torts, contracts, constitutional law, civil procedure, property, and a legal writing course during their first year of law school. While second- and third-year courses vary by institution, they often call for writing credits, electives in experiential learning, courses on professional responsibility, and more. These give you the chance to investigate specialized fields and learn what you are most interested in, such as tax, labor, or corporate law.

For a wide range of topics, Cornell Law School advises second-year students to take courses in administrative law, corporate organizations, evidence, and federal income taxation. Students will enroll in elective courses, such as seminars and problem courses, in their chosen specialty during their third year of law school.

Students must pass a licensing “bar” exam for the state in which they desire to practice law in order to become practicing attorneys. “Most states require that applicants graduate from an ABA-accredited law school, pass one or more written bar exams, and be found by an admitting board to have the character to represent and advise others,” according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Even after they have been admitted to the bar, lawyers are expected to keep learning at least once a year.

Now that the list of the most expensive law schools has been discussed by AdmissionSight, you might be wondering how will you be able to get into one of those law schools. Professional admissions advice is also crucial to your success when you research and select your school.

Advice from the AdmissionSight college entrance experts might be very beneficial. With the assistance of our college admissions specialists armed with more than 10 years of expertise, you can be accepted into any school of your choice. To get things going, schedule your consultation with us today!






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