Aspiring lawyers must graduate from one of the 200 schools accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Over the course of a Juris Doctor (JD) program, students can expect to study topics in economics, federal and state law, history, public speaking, philosophy and government.
Top Law Schools
According to the U.S. News and World Report's 2016 rankings of the best law schools, these are the top ten universities for aspiring lawyers:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Tuition and fees (2015-2016)*|
|Yale University||New Haven, CT||Private||$58,050|
|Harvard University||Cambridge, MA||Private||$58,242|
|Stanford University||Stanford, CA||Private||$56,274|
|Columbia University||New York, NY||Private||$62,700|
|University of Chicago||Chicago, IL||Private||$56,916|
|New York University||New York, NY||Private||$59,330|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA||Private||$58,918|
|University of California - Berkeley||Berkeley, CA||Public||$48,679 in-state, $52,630 out-of-state|
|University of Michigan - Ann Arbor||Ann Arbor, MI||Public||$53,112 in-state, $56,112 out-of-state|
|University of Virginia||Charlottesville, VA||Public||$54,000 in-state, $57,000 out-of-state|
Sources: *U.S. News and World Report
School Selection Criteria
Considerations when choosing a law school include:
- Schools that feature practice and mock trials may allow students to gain practical courtroom experience, and they are overseen by faculty members.
- Consider a school that offers part-time summer and winter work opportunities, such as internships and clerkships within government agencies and corporate law firms. Law schools in major metropolitan areas may offer more internship and employment opportunities.
- Students may want to consider law schools that offer concentrations, such as environmental law, constitutional law, medical law, business law, corporate law, real estate law and international law. While many law schools offer various programs, some schools may be nationally recognized in a particular area of law.
If you want to become a lawyer, you can maximize your chance for career success by choosing a top-ranked school that offers ample work experiences and specialization opportunities.