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Top Family Law Programs: List of Top U.S. Schools

Learn about three law schools with the best family law programs in the U.S. Find out about the family law clinics and school rankings that make these schools stand out. View article »

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  • 0:01 School Overviews
  • 0:50 Columbia University
  • 1:23 Indiana University
  • 1:57 DePaul University
  • 2:33 Top Family Law Programs

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School Overviews

Aspiring and experienced lawyers can find training programs that allow them to focus on family law. Both Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M.) programs may offer a concentration or coursework in family law, or they can get real-world training through legal clinics.

Top family law programs are offered by the law schools at Columbia University and Indiana University - Bloomington. These schools offer substantial family law coursework and law clinics related to family law issues. Indiana University and DePaul University both offer a concentration area in family law in addition to a family law clinic. Each of these law schools was nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

Columbia University in New York, NY

U.S. News & World Report ranked Columbia University 4th among law schools for 2017. Students in Columbia Law School's J.D. and LL.M. programs may choose from a wide variety of available coursework in family law. Topics include trusts and estates, Jewish law, welfare law, and domestic violence. Three law clinics related to family law are available to students who are accepted into the clinical education program. These clinics cover topics in sexuality and gender law, prisoners and families, and adolescent representation.

Indiana University in Bloomington, IN

For 2017, Indiana University was tied for #25 among all law schools, per U.S. News & World Report. J.D. students at the Maurer School of Law can choose the family law area of focus. This focus includes the study of family law issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion, gender roles, adoption, divorce, and division of property. Second- and third-year law students can gain experience in the Viola J. Taliaferro Family and Children Mediation Clinic. Graduate and joint-degree programs are also available.

DePaul University in Chicago, IL

As part of the J.D. program at DePaul University, students can earn a certificate in child and family law as part of the J.D. program. In addition to a basic course in family law, students must also complete an independent study project and take at least one practice-based course. One option for meeting this practicum requirement is to participate in the school's family law clinic. Aside from formal coursework, DePaul students may also join the campus-based Child & Family Law Association. For 2017, DePaul's law school was nationally ranked at #111 by U.S. News & World Report.

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Top Family Law Programs

Family law programs are also particularly strong at these universities:

School Name Location Distinction
Harvard University Cambridge, MA Interested students can gain hands-on experience through the Family and Domestic Violence Law Clinic
Hofstra University Hempstead, NY The LL.M. program in family law is unique to the eastern U.S. and one of only a few such programs in the nation
Loyola University Chicago, IL Offers an LLM in Child and Family Law program on a full-time or part-time basis, with some online classes
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY Hands-on practice is available through the Children's Rights and Family Law Clinic
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA The Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy offers study in family and economic security
University of Colorado at Boulder Boulder, CO Offers a juvenile and family law track
University of Florida Gainesville, FL The Levin College of Law hosts the Center on Children and Families
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI Students can gain experience by providing free legal services to victims of domestic violence through the Family Law Project
University of Oregon Eugene, OR Hosts a Domestic Violence Clinic and the Child Advocacy Project

Aspiring lawyers seeking careers in family law can find academic programs with hands-on training opportunities through top law schools around the country.

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