What Are The Top Law Schools in the Country?

Are you looking to apply for law school at some point in the future? Do you want to find out what the best law school is? Do you want to see where your school stands?

This article is devoted to determining what really is the top law school in the country. We looked long and hard to compile a list of the best law schools in the country. We looked at other top law school lists, analyzed the schools, spoke to current students and alumni, and created our own ranking system. The end result is a list of the best law schools in America.

What are the top law schools in the country?

Harvard Law School.

There’s just nothing like putting “Harvard” on your resume. When undergraduate students even think about Harvard they get excited. This is the gold standard for law schools. Based out of Cambridge, MA this popular law school will cost you $45,450 per year and you should expect to see 1,733 students.

It doesn’t hurt to attend the same law school as President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama. If you want to see who else attended Harvard, you can do a quick Google search for Harvard alumni and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Anyone looking for the best law school is going to want to be proud of the alumni that have graduated from there over the years.

The prestige associated with Harvard Law School makes it an easy choice for the top law school in the country. If you want the attend a prestigious law school but don’t think that you can afford it, I have good news for you. Harvard has a Low Income Protection Plan that is ideal for those that are worried about being burdened with law school debt for the rest of their lives. You can’t use a lack of money as an excuse for not going to Harvard.

The obvious knock on Harvard as top law school is the large amount of students. You can look at this two ways. You can complain at the volume of students. You can also treat this law school as a large community of diverse students.

Stanford.

Do you care where your law school is located? You should in my opinion. Stanford is ranked in this position because it’s in an amazing location. Winter, what’s that? Beyond the idea of a world class school in a paradise-like area, Stanford is in Silicon Valley, an area known for technological innovation. You also get to live in a bubble since most Stanford students are known for living, studying, and partying on campus. What more could you ask for?

The tuition per year is $47,460 (2011-12) per year with a low amount of 571 students. There’s also a small amount of students in a classroom. The school is known for its low student-to-faculty ratio. This makes your experience in law school better because you don’t feel like just a number. You also get to actually get to know your peers. You can build much stronger bonds and have more fun here.

Stanford is also well know for high paying gigs post-graduation. According to the always helpful Wikipedia, 98.7% of Stanford Law graduates were employed 9 months after graduation. Many of these students were also able to find high paying work in the area and other states (62% leave California). The median starting salary for gradates in the private sector is $160,000 (2010). Will you be one of these Stanford graduates?

Yale.

This law school is located in New Haven, CT and has ranked at #1 on the US News’ rankings. Tution per year in 2011 was $50,750. This law school only enrols roughly 200 students per year. This means that Yale is very competitive. Once you get accepted you know that you’re surrounded by an elite bunch.

I was able to dig up a little about the class of 2014. There were 216 new students enrolled, 47% women, an average age of 24, 38 different states represented, and 20% directly from undergraduate programs. This creates a unique student body that should make for an interesting law school experience.

You worried about money? 77% of students received some sort of financial aid in 2010-11. This means that you can use a lack of money as an excuse for not attending here.

You concerned about finding work? In 2010 207 students graduate and 190 of them were able to find work within nine months.

University of Chicago.

Do you want to learn about law from a federal judge? This top law school has four federal judges on its faculty.

The strong emphasis on academics and life post-law school has bumped this school up to the top 5 law schools according to the US News rankings.

You’re also in luck if you want to find work abroad. This law school offers the International Human Rights Internship Program. Students can find work in Australia, India, Korea, and South Africa.

Another cool feature is that there are more than 50 student organizations that you can join outside of your classroom. What’s so cool about this? You can actually socialize with your fellow law school students. You can meet some interesting characters.

The biggest negative of attending this school is that it’s not as well-known in the main stream. When you think of law school, you don’t associate it with the University of Chicago. This school just doesn’t have the same reputation (for better or for worse) that Yale or Harvard do.

The tuition per year here is $47,502

Columbia.

Are you looking for a challenge? Columbia Law School is known for it’s challenging admissions process, with only 12% of applicants getting through in 2010. The school prides itself on seeking out diverse students that will formulate a unique student culture.

Founded in 1858, this Manhattan based prestigious law school is one of the best in the country. You don’t have to worry about actual law experience because Columbia requires you to do pro bono work before graduating. This means that you get hands on experience and do some good for society.

There are 29 study abroad programs available in 12 different countries. This means that if you have the money you can actually see the world while studying law here.

There’s just one note that needs to be made about this top law school. The obvious setback to living in Manhattan is the high cost of living. You take the good with the bad because you’re living in one of the liveliest cities in the world. Columbia is lower on this list simply because the living expenses can really cause you to get into some serious debt while in law school. The high rent and expensive cost of living will add up.

Now that you know what the best law schools in the country are, it’s time that we explained our rankings a little bit more. We looked at many areas of the schools when we were comparing the best law schools. We wanted this to be the most complete list of the top law schools in the country, based on relevant factors.

What’s the criteria for finding the best law school in the country?

Pay right after school.

If you’re going to spend top dollar on attending a law school, you’re going to want a sold return on your investment. You want to be assured that you’re going to make good money once you eventually end up working in the field. This is why we looked at pay after school. We want you to attend a school that’s going to land you the gig that pays you what you deserve to earn.

Best reputation (ties into history).

What’s the professional and social reputation of the school like? We looked at the reputation of the school in society and amongst actual professionals in the field. Reputation is important because you don’t want to spend money to attend a school that successful people in your field will mock.

Amount of money borrowed to attend the college.

How much will this law school cost you? Will you end up in debt until your retirement years because of your law school? The amount of money to attend the law school will play into your decision. When looking at costs we also considered other expense aside from tuition. What’s the cost of living in the area? What other expenses will creep up on you?

Location of the school.

Where’s the school located? The location of the school is important because you’re going to be living there so you might as well enjoy where you live so that you don’t lose your mind. You also want to be in a booming area for law school because you want to find placements that are close by. Location isn’t just key in real estate.

Amount of students.

The number of students in your classes and your graduating group is critical because it affects the learning experience and the authority of the degree that you earned. You wouldn’t want to date a girl that has been with all of your friends, just like you don’t want to earn a law degree from a school that’s easy to get into.

Alumni.

Who has graduated from the school that you want to attend? We look at alumni because we want to ensure that the school has a track record for producing great minds and successful people.

That’s our list of the top law schools in the country followed by the criteria that we used to get our results. What’s your take on the best law schools in the country?

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