The Top 20 Law Schools in the US

The Top 20 Law Schools in the US


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The Top 20 Law Schools in the US

Many believe that having a law degree means prestige and a guarantee of high pay. If you intend to be a lawyer, you need to understand that your choice of law school will have a huge impact on your law studies, career path, and future as a practicing lawyer.

Many say that where you earn your Juris Doctor matters a lot thus one of the most important steps in starting your legal career is finding the right law school. Law school rankings in the US are stable and have remained the same over the last 20 years. The only difference every year is their rankings. Regardless of rank, the only thing that matters is you were admitted to one of the Top 20 Law Schools in the US, regardless of which law school this is.

One thing is sure though, the top law schools in the United States have a long tradition of excellence in academic teaching. While the annual law school rankings will impact your decision, the final decision of which law school to choose should be based on your criteria and judgment.

1.    Yale University

Yale University was founded in 1701. The small size of the school as well as its prestige makes the admission process stiff. It is the most selective all law schools in the US. It offers a five-year degree in Juris Doctor and Masters in Law among its many legal degrees.

2.   Stanford University

This law school is a graduate school with students working to earn their Doctor of Jurisprudence. It confers four advanced legal degrees including Masters in Law, Master of the Science of Law, Master of Studies in Law, and Master of the Science of Law. It also offers a Doctor of the Science of Law degree.

3.   Harvard University

The Juris Doctor degree at Harvard University is a three-year program offering intellectual foundations for the study of law allowing students to focus on their particular areas of interest. They also offer a one-year Masters in Law course for students who have excellent and extensive experience in the legal profession.

4.   University of Chicago

This university is one of the best and most prestigious research and academic institutions in the world. It applicants for a Juris Doctor degree must have passed the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) except if he is a graduate of the university’s LL.M program or a transferee with advanced academic standing.

5.   Columbia University

Columbia University specialized in corporation, social justice, international law, and other legal thought areas.

6.   New York University

NYU is an energetic community with demanding academic programs including international, labor and employment, intellectual property and antitrust, procedure constitutional, business, intellectual property, tax, and interdisciplinary law. They also have innovative programs such as their clinics and “lawyering” programs.

7.   University of Pennsylvania

Penn Law offers the first ever full-time Juris Doctor program. It also admits foreign students with law degrees earned outside of the US who want to earn a Juris Doctor degree in the US.

8.   University of Virginia

The University of Virginia specializes in preparing the young generation to be future leaders of the country. It encourages open exchanges between professors and students to bring out the best out of the country’s brightest minds.

9.   University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

This is the oldest university in Michigan. Its law school was founded in 1859. It offers Juris Doctor, MaSter of Law, and Doctor of Juridical Science degree programs.

10. University of California-Berkeley

The Juris Doctor degree of this law school incorporates into their program school-sponsored clinics to give students hands-on experience on public and legal policies. They have clinics in the areas of the Death Penalty, International Human Rights Law, Technology and Public Policy, the Samuelson Law, Domestic Violence, and East Bay Community Law.

11. University of Texas- Austin

This law school offers a three-year Juris Doctor degree with the first year focusing on the basic topics in the US legal system which every lawyer needs to master. The topics include civil procedure and constitutional law. On their second year, students can choose their courses depending on their aspirations.

12. Cornell University

Cornell offers a three-year Juris Doctor degree and a one-year Masters in Laws, Master of Science-Legal Studies, Doctor of Science of Law as well as some international dual-degree programs.

13. Northwestern University

The law school of Northwestern University was founded as the Union College of Law of the Old University of Chicago in 1859. It offers different programs and degrees ranging from the Juris Doctor to the Master in Laws and the Master of Science in Law degrees.

14. Vanderbilt University

The Juris Doctor program of the Vanderbilt University consists of the required basic first year curriculum. Second and third year law students can choose from a wide range of electives and clinical courses specializing in criminal, civil, international, and other areas of interest.

15. Georgetown University

The Juris Doctor program of the Georgetown University prepares its law students to be extraordinary lawyers with a combination of ethical sensitivity and superior analytical ability. This law school offers 27 courses in traditional legal fields as well as hands-on learning in clinics and courses.

16. Boston College

Freshmen students of the Juris Doctor degree at this university are instilled into the Boston College Law School’s Academic Support Program (ASP). This program helps students imbibe the learning strategies of the university in the first year of law school. On their second and third years, law students take the required Professional Responsibility survey course, Constitutional Law II, and elective courses.

17. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

This university offers a full-time Juris Doctor Degree program. It also offers a one-year program in Master of Science in Patent Law. Students can also earn joint and dual degrees in this university.

18. University of California- Los Angeles

First year law students focus on Lawyering Skills where students are allowed to discover how lawyering tasks relate with legal analysis. Courses toward this goal include legal research, oral advocacy, and effective legal writing. The second and third years of the Juris Doctor program focuses on upper –division classes, six specializations, and clinics.

19. Washington University- St. Louis

First year law students get a highly-structured curriculum which includes only three classes per semester focusing on American common law. In the fall classes include Contracts, Property, and Torts. The next semester will cover Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Civil Procedure. On their second and third years (remaining 56 hours), students can choose courses based on their respective preferences.

20. University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame was founded in 1869. It is the oldest Roman Catholic Law School in the US. Notre Dame is known for its centuries-old Catholic moral and intellectual traditions. Their Juris Doctor program has been proven to be extremely effective in the practice of law in all US jurisprudence.

It can be tough to be admitted to any of this Top 20 Law Schools in the US. While going to law school is not a guarantee to career and financial success, a large percentage of practicing lawyers in the US say that their education was worth every penny they or their parents spent. The real challenge though is securing a good job after completing your law studies and passing the Bar Exams. Law graduates from any of this Top 20 Law Schools in the US have the potential of earning figure salaries.

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