The Best Law Schools in the US
Obtaining a law degree is both competitive and prestigious. It is critical that you educate yourself thoroughly before beginning your search for the ideal institution. In this way, you will be able to evaluate options in an informed manner.
The best law schools in the US feature exceptionally high levels of competition and high tuition costs. The fact that graduates of reputable law schools are in high demand by employers at some of the nation’s most prestigious law firms helps to explain why educational requirements for law degrees are held to such stringent standards throughout the United States.
Here is a list of the best law schools in the US, according to U.S. News & World Report, to get you started on the right foot.
- Yale University
- Stanford University
- Harvard University
- University of Chicago
- Colombia University
- New York University
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Michigan—Ann Arbor
- University of California—Berkeley
- University of Virginia
As you can see, Ivy League schools make up a significant portion of the best law schools in the US. The law schools at Yale University, Stanford University, and Harvard University are regarded as the three most prestigious in the world, and admission to these schools is extremely difficult.
The students who should consider applying for a place in these universities are those who have achieved a score in the top percentile on the LSAT, who have achieved good grades throughout their undergraduate degree, and who have experience, such as an internship at a law firm.
And here at AdmissionSight, we are proud that 75% of our students are accepted to Ivy League schools. We highly acknowledge that when looking for a job in the legal or any field, having a degree from a reputable school automatically puts you at an advantage over other applicants.
How does one get into the best law schools in the US?
It is essential to give some thought to the practice area in which you would like to specialize once you have completed your legal education. There is not much point in earning a difficult law degree in a state that does not interest you for your future career or for gaining hands-on work experience if you are going to have to pay high fees and take difficult classes.
If you choose to attend a prestigious educational institution, you will have the opportunity to complete a legal internship at a local firm, where you can also network with other professionals and gain valuable experience for a future career in law.
The majority of the effort that you put into your graduate degree will be for naught if you decide to move after you have completed it and then go on to study for the bar in a different state.
If you intend to practice law in other parts of the world, such as your home country, before you begin your degree program, it is imperative that you conduct research into the jurisdictions in which you intend to practice law and determine whether or not they recognize attorneys who have earned a J.D. degree.
The best law schools in the US certainly have their benefits, as evidenced by the fact that major law firms look to these institutions for their annual graduate intake of new attorneys.
When deciding where to get your legal education, the following are some questions you should ask yourself:
- Which area of law do you find most interesting?
- Which jurisdictions and organizations, in your area of legal expertise, provide the most rewarding career opportunities?
- Where do you envision yourself practicing law in the future?
When you have the answers to these fundamental questions, you can start looking into the best law schools in the US that assist students in pursuing their dreams of earning a law degree there.
The Process of Selecting a Law School
So, how do you choose among the best law schools in the US? When selecting a law school, it is important to take into account the school’s tuition, the range of available concentrations, and the learning format (full-time, part-time, or online).
The decision of where you want to apply to law school is just as important as becoming acquainted with the prerequisites for attending law school and learning the application process. Law schools will typically make public the average grade point averages and scores on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) of their incoming classes, in addition to the percentage of applicants they accept. You can use this information to apply to a variety of schools, some of which are probably going to grant you admission while others might be considered a stretch for you.
Applicants who are fortunate enough to receive multiple admissions offers may choose to follow a straightforward strategy, which is to attend the institution with the highest ranking to which they are admitted. However, it’s possible that this won’t always be the best option for everyone.
To start, the total cost of education is a significant factor. If you have the choice between receiving a scholarship that covers your full tuition at a regional school with a lower ranking or paying the full tuition at Yale, you should bundle up and make your way to new haven. However, if your other choice is to attend a regional school with a slightly higher ranking that requires you to pay full or half price, it may be in your best interest to sacrifice some of the school’s prestige to graduate with less student loan debt.
Second, if you are certain that you want to focus your legal career on a particular subfield, such as intellectual property law or education law, you should think about attending a law school that is renowned for its expertise in that area, even if the school’s general reputation is not as stellar as it could be.
If you want a career in corporate law, for instance, either Columbia University or New York University will provide you with the courses and internship opportunities for a career in this field in New York City. Similarly, if you want to go into intellectual property law, Harvard Law School will prepare you for a career in this area. Moreso, if you decide to pursue your legal education in the state of California, you will have access to excellent opportunities in the legal fields of bankruptcy law, criminal law, taxation law, and admiralty and maritime law.
Third, one’s own unique set of circumstances is significant. Studying on a part-time basis might be more feasible for people who already have full-time jobs, who have families, who are in the military, or who have other obligations that prevent them from attending school full-time.
The quality of the part-time programs that a law school offers is not always the same as the quality of the full-time programs that it offers, and not all law schools offer part-time programs. And for those students whose schedules present particular challenges, an accredited online law school may be a better fit than even a part-time campus-based program. This is especially true for those students who are unable to commute or move near a brick-and-mortar campus.
In conclusion, it is important to think beyond the best law schools in the US and consider the option that is best for you and your personal circumstances.
How to Obtain Admission into a Law School?
It is typically difficult to gain entry into the academic programs at the best law schools in the US. However, there are some things you can do to help set yourself apart from the other candidates in the pool of applicants.
Your standing in the classroom will be one of the primary considerations in the admissions process for law school. Therefore, make it a priority to study so that you can improve your grade point average and your score on the LSAT.
You can also differentiate yourself from other applicants to law school by participating in compelling extracurricular activities and academic projects. Having strong letters of recommendation, relevant work experience, and a clear argument in your personal statement about why you want to pursue a J.D. can also be beneficial. Moreso, academic guidance can surely be of great help to you as well.
Basic law school requirements & prerequisites.
The following are typically required by law schools as a bare minimum for the application process. The importance of each of these components to your application will vary depending on the context.
Because a Juris Doctor (J.D.) is a postgraduate degree, most law schools require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree from a school that has been granted accreditation before they can apply. Although the completion of a bachelor’s degree is still required before enrolling in law school, some law schools may offer accelerated programs that allow you to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in a shorter timeline.
The vast majority of institutions of higher education in the field of law necessitate that candidates take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The Reading Comprehension, Analytical Reasoning, Argumentation, and Writing Skills sections of the LSAT are designed to test competencies that are relevant to future legal work. There are 175 questions on the exam, and your final score will be determined by the percentage of questions that you answered correctly. After being converted, raw scores are placed on a scale that runs from 120 to 180.
In the same vein as your grade point average, your LSAT score is an essential part of your application. If you look at the LSAT scores that are typical of the students who were accepted to the law schools to which you are applying, you can get a good idea of whether or not you will be accepted.
Minimum Grade Point Average
If you look up the median grade point average of the students who entered the law school to which you are applying, you will be able to determine whether or not your undergraduate grade point average is within the acceptable range for admission to law school.
However, the evaluation of your grade point average (GPA) can be more nuanced than just looking at the final number. According to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), law schools may look favorably upon applicants who have completed challenging or advanced undergraduate coursework.
They will also consider the trajectory of your academic performance; therefore, if you begin with lower grades but show improvement over time, this could be beneficial to your application; on the other hand, if you started strong but had a less-than-stellar finish, this could indicate that you have less potential to be successful in law school.
The courses you took as an undergraduate and the degree you earned are also important components of your application to law school. This is because they can help demonstrate that you are prepared for the rigors of law school even though there are no specific courses that must be completed before entering law school.
The American Bar Association (ABA) suggests that you enroll in classes that will assist you in developing skills and gaining knowledge in the following areas:
- Problem Solving
- Critical Reading
- Organization Management
- Oral Communication
- Composing and Revising Text
- Building Relationships
A personal statement is typically required as part of the application process for law school. It is up to you whether the personal statement is free-form or whether you are required to answer specific questions. If you are given the task of writing on certain topics, make sure that you do so while still conveying the essence of your personal narrative.
What are some essential components of a strong personal statement for law school?
In the personal statement, the LSAC suggests that you focus on your actual experiences and past accomplishments rather than making assumptions about what you hope to achieve in the future. This is in contrast to their advice that you speculate about what you hope to achieve in the future. You might want to consider the following to help you better:
- What is it about law school that interests you so much?
- Which of your personal strengths does not come across in your application but would be an asset to the company?
- Why do you want to go to this particular school instead of another one?
- How do you demonstrate that you have what it takes to be a successful lawyer?
- Which of your own personal achievements do you feel most proud of?
- Which cause do you feel most passionately about fighting for?
- What kinds of things should you avoid putting in your law school personal statement?
Your objective should be to bolster, not undermine, the rest of your application with your personal statement. Make sure that you follow all the provided guidelines, including the prompts as well as the limits on the number of pages and words.
Why is it important to put effort into writing a personal statement for law school?
You will have the opportunity to differentiate yourself from the other applicants through the personal statement that you submit. A law school admissions officer may look to the applicants’ personal statements as a deciding factor between two candidates whose grades and scores on the law school admissions test are extremely comparable.
In the personal statement, you have the opportunity to demonstrate not only that you are capable of writing well but also that you are capable of clear thinking and creative debate, all of which are essential skills to have for law school.
Recommendation letters and cover letters
Recommendation letters are an essential component of your application, despite the fact that they are given less consideration than your grade point average and score on the LSAT. It is possible that the best law schools in the US will require you to submit two to three letters of recommendation written by professors or other individuals who have worked with you in some academic or professional capacity. Because of this, it is essential to develop positive working relationships with your instructors, as it will be much more challenging to acquire letters of recommendation if you do not.
Even if it has been some time since you graduated from college, you can benefit from having references from the professional world. A recommendation letter from a previous employer or coworker that highlights your work experience as well as your interpersonal skills can be an extremely beneficial addition to your application. The best letters of recommendation, according to the LSAC, come from teachers or supervisors at places of employment who “know you well enough to describe your academic, personal, or professional achievements and potential with candor, detail, and objectivity.” Therefore, letters that are full of superficial and general praise have no value.
Even though your grade point average and scores on the LSAT are critical components of your application, it is imperative that you do not overlook the significance of extracurricular activities. Your law school application can shine beyond the numbers if you demonstrate leadership and passion, especially when you have a depth of experience in a few key interests rather than a breadth of experience in a wide variety of shallow interests and experiences.
Extracurricular planning can be a strong hook that will help you through your college admission journey. Joining larger and more established organizations can be beneficial to your application. Community service, student government, and school publications can be extremely valuable ways to demonstrate your exposure to the law and public engagement, both of which are key areas according to the ABA. This exposure can be especially valuable if you have held a leadership position in any of these organizations.
Having experience in the real world can help differentiate you from other applicants, regardless of whether you are applying to law school while you are still enrolled in an undergraduate program, or you haven’t been in school for a while.
Adults who have significant work experience are becoming increasingly valuable to law schools as they strive to attract a more diverse group of students for their incoming classes. In fact, the admissions committee at Harvard Law School “looks for” candidates to have prior professional experience as part of the “application process” and “actively prefers” candidates to have such experience.
AdmissionSight’s approach to working with students is one of a kind. We collaborate closely with you to craft the most compelling version of your profile possible and give it an impact.
AdmissionSight has more than ten years of experience assisting students in successfully navigating the challenging admissions process required to gain entry to some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world.
An average of 75% of our students are accepted to an Ivy League University. This gives us one of the highest track records in the industry and makes us one of the most competitive educational providers. It is imperative that you get in touch with us as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation and make an appointment.