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The Best Law Schools in the US: Rankings in 2023-2024

What are the best law schools in the US? 

Here, you’ll get a list with the highest ranking US law schools in 2023.

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The Best US Law Schools

The US News and World Report publishes the #1 yearly law school rankings in the US.

These rankings use 10 factors to score schools. 60% of the rankings methodology focuses on successful placements of graduates after law school. The rest looks at things like faculty resources, opinions by law professionals, and the achievements of entering students.

Here are the top 50 law schools from the US News rankings along with acceptance rates, LSAT and GPA scores, tuition, grants, and employment rates. 

University

Accept. rate

Median LSAT

Low LSAT

High LSAT

Median GPA

Low GPA

High GPA

Tuition

Students receiving grants

Employment 10 months after graduation

Stanford University 

6.9%

173

170

176

3.92

3.84

3.99

$71,609

65%

87%

Yale University

5.7%

178

171

175

3.94

3.87

3.99

$71,425

64%

79.8%

University of Chicago

14.2%

173

169

175

3.91

3.81

3.97

$74,607

80%

95.3%

University of Pennsylvania (Carey)

9.7%

172

167

173

3.9

3.61

3.96

$73,008

55%

93%

Duke University

10.7%

170

168

171

3.85

3.73

3.94

$72,632

94%

96.8%

Harvard University

10.1%

174

170

176

3.92

3.82

3.99

$71,734

43%

88%

New York University

15.7%

172

169

174

3.88

3.72

3.94

$76,290

59%

93.3%

Columbia University

11.9%

173

171

175

3.87

3.78

3.95

$78,278

65%

96.3%

University of Virginia

12.9%

171

166

173

3.94

3.69

3.99

$68,500

68%

93.4%

Northwestern University (Pritzker)

15%

171

166

172

3.89

3.63

3.93

$72,212

71%

94.1%

University of California (Berkeley)

12.5%

170

167

172

3.83

3.74

3.9

$59,306

86%

90.2%

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)

13.5%

171

166

172

3.83

3.59

3.92

$66,808

85%

93.1%

Cornell University

17.4%

172

170

174

3.87

3.76

3.94

$74,183

86%

94.3%

University of California –Los Angeles

15.5%

171

166

172

3.9

3.76

3.97

$53,910

85%

91.5%

Georgetown University

17.6%

171

166

172

3.86

3.63

3.94

$71,996

64%

89.7%

University of Minnesota

37.2%

168

N/A

N/A

3.83

N/A

N/A

$47,454

85.5%

92%

University of Southern California (Gould)

12.7%

168

165

169

3.87

3.76

3.94

$73,998

96.4%

95.3%

University of Texas – Austin

14.6%

170

166

171

3.84

3.71

3.92

$36,429

92.6%

92%

Vanderbilt University

14.5%

170

163

170

3.9

3.57

3.98

$68,816

85%

92.7%

University of Georgia

14.8%

168

156

169

3.87

3.56

3.94

$18,994

87%

97%

Washington University in St. Louis

18%

172

164

173

3.94

3.43

4

$65,229

95.4%

94.6%

Brigham Young University (Clark)

31.4%

168

165

171

3.92

3,66

3.96

$14,636

89%

85.7%

Ohio State University (Mortiz)

37.1%

164

159

166

3.86

3.58

3.95

$33,361

95.7%

94.4%

University of Florida (Levin)

16.9%

169

162

170

3.9

3.52

3.97

$21,803

81.5%

90.7%

University of North California – Chapel Hill

14.6%

166

162

167

3.77

3.61

3.88

$24,492

82.9%

94.7%

Wake Forest University

33%

165

159

166

3.72

3.47

3.84

$51,000

93.3%

96.5%

Boston University

16.3%

170

164

171

3.84

3.57

3.91

$62,534

88.1%

88.3%

University of Notre Dame

24.6%

168

162

170

3.81

3.65

3.89

$65,936

93.3%

87%

Boston College

10.2%

166

162

167

3.74

3.55

3.81

$63,130

91.9%

91.2%

Fordham University

18.8%

167

164

168

3.72

3.55

3.81

$96,166

85%

94.1%

Texas A&M University

16.3%

164

158

166

3.93

3.54

3.98

$32,634

86.3%

94.7%

Arizona State University (O’Connor)

19.7%

167

158

168

3.85

3.42

3.94

$27,464

94.1%

94.6%

George Mason University (Scalia)

19.6%

166

158

167

3.83

3.45

3.93

$26,569

83.2%

90.7%

University of Utah (Quinney)

31.9%

163

158

164

3.87

3.71

3.96

$33,634

78.8%

92%

Emory University

26%

168

161

169

3.8

3.43

3.9

$64,300

94.9%

88.9%

George Washington University

25%

168

162

169

3.84

3.52

3.93

$67,380

80.8%

89.5%

University of Alabama

25.8%

166

159

168

3.95

3.4

4

$24,390

89.8%

89.1%

University of California – Irvine

19.5%

167

162

168

3.72

3.51

3.83

$54,183

98%

81.5%

University of Iowa

41.3%

163

161

165

3.66

3.49

3.83

$30,152

82.4%

92.7%

University of Kansas

55.3%

158

153

160

3.73

3.41

3.85

$22,769

86.7%

95.9%

University of Wisconsin – Madison

35.2%

165

157

167

3.73

3.41

3.85

$33,158

91%

89.7%

Washington and Lee University

32.7%

164

159

166

3.66

3.47

3.78

$54,460

96.3%

89.8%

University of Illinois Urbana-

Champaign

34.7%

166

162

167

3.71

3.47

3.86

$39,800

97.6%

90.2%

Villanova University (Widger)

16.5%

163

N/A

N/A

3.76

N/A

N/A

$53,555

85.7%

93.7%

Indiana University – Bloomington (Maurer)

43.3%

164

158

165

3.81

3.42

3.92

$38,185

98%

89.4%

Pepperdine University (Caruso)

27.7%

164

159

166

3.85

3.54

3.93

$63,660

N/A

90%

SMU (Dedman)

33.9%

164

160

165

3.71

3.35

3.87

$61,058

95.8%

92.7%

William & Mary Law School

46%

165

160

166

3.75

3.5

3.85

$38,274

96.8%

85.5%

Baylor University

23.9%

163

159

164

3.72

3.48

3.85

$61,877

90.9%

91.5%

University of Washington

30.3%

164

160

166

3.7

3.5

3.83

$41,688

77%

86.5%

 

What is the #1 law school in America?

According to the US News and World report, two law schools are tied on the first place: 

Stanford University and Yale University. 

Another well-known ranking is Above the Law’s law school rankings. In these rankings, the top law schools are: 

  1. Duke University
  2. University of Virginia
  3. Cornell University
  4. University of Chicago
  5. Vanderbilt University
  6. Washington University in St. Louis
  7. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  8. Columbia University
  9. Northwestern (Pritzker)
  10. University of Pennsylvania (Carey)

These rankings primarily look at employment after law school, but also law school cost and debt. 

What is considered a Tier 1 law school? 

Tier 1 law schools, also known as T14 law schools, are schools that are consistently ranked between #1-#14 by US News and World. 

However, the US News report was overhauled in 2023 with a more comprehensive assessment of bar passage rates for first-time test takers and paring down library resources metrics. While most of the Tier 1 law schools remained unchanged, Georgetown University was pushed out of the top 14.

The law schools that typically rank 1-14 are: 

Yale Law School

Stanford Law School 

Harvard Law School 

University of Chicago

Columbia Law School

New York University 

University of California, Berkeley

University of Pennsylvania

University of Virginia 

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor 

Duke Law School 

Northwestern Law School 

Cornell Law School 

Now, University of California Los Angeles has taken up spot #14.

What are the best law schools in the world?

There are several rankings that rank the best law schools in the world. 

Some of the best known ones are: 

QS World University Rankings

QS World University Rankings looks at academic and employer reputation, faculty/student ratio and research citations to rank universities. This list ranks the following law schools as the top schools: 

  1. Harvard University
  2. University of Oxford
  3. University of Cambridge
  4. Yale University
  5. Stanford University
  6. New York University
  7. The London School of Economics and Political Science
  8. Columbia University
  9. University of California, Berkeley 
  10. University of Chicago 

Times Higher Education

Times Higher Education ranks law schools based on the learning environment (32.7%), research (30.8%), citations (25%), international outlook (9%), and industry income (2.5%).

The top law schools on this list are: 

  1. Stanford University
  2. New York University
  3. University of Cambridge
  4. University of Oxford
  5. Yale University
  6. Harvard 
  7. The London School of Economics and Political Science (tied) 
  8. University of Melbourne (tied) 
  9. National University of Singapore
  10. University of Chicago

Are law school rankings important? 

Law school rankings typically list the law schools that are some of the hardest to get accepted to. However, the schools have a lot of name recognition and these rankings will ultimately not make a big difference for the schools. 

For instance, Harvard dropped out of the top three when US News overhauled its system. The fact that Harvard dropped down a spot will have likely zero implications on how the school is viewed by prospective employers. 

The Harvard name, and really the name of the T-14 or T-20 schools, carries enough weight that no one really remembers what number the school is ranked within. And realistically, most people hiring you from your first job are going to just remember the ranking of the school when they were around.

These law schools rank based on one set of criteria. But there are so many others that can be highly individual – this is by no means a universal “best list” of the law schools in the US. 

Do law school rankings matter? 

No, because the best law school is the school that will best help you achieve your dreams as a lawyer. Which law school is right for you depends on a myriad of factors—your specific career path, where you want to practice, what kind of opportunities you want, etc.

A ranking cannot and will not be able to tell you what school is best for YOU.

That said, the T-20 law schools are well-known and competitive law schools, so they are well-regarded in highly competitive practice areas (such as corporate law) and highly competitive cities (such as New York). Attending one of these schools helps you land those types of jobs as many of these employers hire almost exclusively from the top ranking law schools. 

However, if you graduated from a lower ranking law school, the doors aren’t closed to Biglaw. And if you have other career aspirations, rankings matter even less. ‘

Other factors that may matter more to you are: 

  • Location 
  • Cost and financial aid
  • Admitted student profile
  • Employment after law school
  • Academic programs
  • Size
  • Student culture
  • Program timeline
  • Curriculum
  • Support services

What's a good LSAT score to get into law school? 

Finally, what type of LSAT score do you even need to make it to law school? 

The median, lowest, and highest LSAT scores are listed above for the 50 highest ranking law schools. 

What makes a good LSAT score depends on the law school you’re applying to. You don’t need the same score if you’re applying to, say, Boston University as you would to get into University of Chicago. 

But as you can see, law schools don’t only care about LSAT scores. You can get in with a lower LSAT score than the median score if your overall application makes up for it. 

However, there are LSAT scores that are too low for law school. The image below shows the law schools that accept the lowest LSAT scores and as you can see, the lowest score is 139. 

A good rule of thumb is that you want to at least break 140 to make taking on the cost of law school economically feasible. Because you also need to get a job afterwards and pass the bar. 

Over to you!

There you have it! Those are the best law schools in the US (and the world). 

Ultimately, the best law schools don’t build their reputation purely on rankings. They have strong brands and a drop in rankings will hardly affect that. 

Are you looking to apply to these law schools and want to maximize your chances of getting accepted? 

I help my students get accepted by their dream law schools. 

Read more about working with me here.

Learn more: 

What GPA do you need for law school? 

How to be top of your class in law school

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ABOUT MARA FREILICH

Mara has helped countless law school applicants get into their dream law schools, even without a perfect GPA, the highest LSAT score, or most unique story. Mara used to be a litigator at one of the top law firms in the world and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School as a prestigious Toll Public Interest Scholar.

        

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