Nearly 200 law schools in the United States are nationally accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). In addition there are many other schools that have provisional accreditation or are not accredited at this time. How can you decide which school is best for you? Many factors should contribute to your decision, but a school’s ranking is one factor that can affect your future success as an attorney.
How the Best Law Schools in the Country are Ranked
Every year, U.S. World & News Report issues a report that ranks the nationally accredited law school in America. The rankings are determined by the following quality factors:
- Peer Assessment
- Lawyers/Judges Assessment
- Median LSAT Scores
- Median Undergrad GPA
- Acceptance Rate
- Placement Success
- Bar Passage Rate
- Expenditure Per Student
- Student-Faculty Ratio
- Library Resources
Top 5 Law Schools in the United States
Though the rankings for schools changes slightly year-to-year, the top five schools typically stay ranked within the top five, changing position slightly.
Facts about Yale University Law School:
- Located in New Haven, Connecticut.
- Yale University is a small law school, enrolling just over 600 students.
- Class sizes are small (typically around 20 students).
- Students don’t receive traditional grades in classes. Instead, they are assessed by a system that includes “honors,” “passing,” or “low-passing.”
- Several joint degrees are available, including a J.D./M.B.A. in conjunction with the Yale School of Management.
Facts about Harvard University:
- Harvard University is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near Boston.
- The law school enrolls around 1,725 students.
- Student-faculty ratio at Harvard Law is 11.4:1.
- Law school buildings are on Harvard Square.
- Students are required to complete 40 hours of pro bono work prior to graduation.
Facts about Stanford University:
- The law school at Stanford University is in Stanford, California, near Palo Alto.
- Approximately 575 students are enrolled in the law program.
- 91 full-time and part-time faculty are on staff.
- Stanford Law offers over 25 joint degrees, most of which are accelerated and can be earned within the traditional 3-year law school time frame.
- Students gain experience with specialized clinics, 10 student journals and over 50 student organizations.
Facts about Columbia University:
- Students who want a big city experience attend Columbia University in New York, New York.
- The school has about 400 students enrolled in each class.
- Student-faculty ratio is 8:1.
- Columbia Law School has an extensive placement program for judicial clerkships and other opportunities.
- First year law students can begin specializing with electives.
University of Chicago
Facts about the Law School at University of Chicago:
- Another big city school, The University of Chicago is located in Chicago, Illinois.
- The law school is small, with just over 610 students.
- 98 professors (including both full-time and part-time) are on staff.
- Joint degree programs in business or public policy are available; each take 4 years for completion.
- The International Human Rights Internship Program provides law students with internships in several other countries.