Agricultural Law Schools: How to Choose

Dec 11, 2019

A few law schools offer specialized programs in which students take courses in a specific area, such as constitutional law, intellectual property law and agricultural law. At these schools, students can take a specialized curriculum within their J.D. (Juris Doctor) degree program. LL.M. (Master of Laws) programs are available as well.

Agricultural lawyers handle cases that range from land disputes in farming to pollution claims against corporations. Aspiring agricultural lawyers can find a comprehensive legal education at a variety of top law schools across the nation.

Top 10 Schools with Law Programs

As of 2019, these are the top 10 law schools in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report:

College/University Location Institution Type Tuition and fees (2019-2020)*
Yale University New Haven, CT Private $64,267
Harvard University Cambridge, MA Private $64,978
Stanford University Stanford, CA Private $62,373
Columbia University New York, NY Private $69,916
University of Chicago Chicago, IL Private $64,089
New York University New York, NY Private $66,422
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA Private $65,804
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA Public $49,325 in-state, $53,276 out-of-state
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI Public $59,762 in-state, $62,762 out-of-state
University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA Public $60,700 in-state, $63,700 out-of-state

Sources: *U.S. News and World Report

School Selection Criteria

Be sure to remember the following important considerations while choosing a law school:

  • Agricultural lawyers work with a wide range of issues, so students may look for schools that bring guests speakers to campus and offer broad educational opportunities.
  • In order to improve job prospects, student may want to find a school that has connections to the agricultural industry and hosts networking events with leading companies.
  • Students may want to seek programs that include courses devoted to the major issues regarding agriculture and the environment such as water, land use and natural resources.
  • Common campus organizations that aspiring agricultural lawyers might look for include the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund and the Environmental Law Society.

Agricultural Juris Doctor Programs

Juris Doctor (J.D.) programs are required for a student to sit for the bar exam and become a practicing lawyer. Although rare, J.D. programs focusing on agricultural law do exist. Most programs can be completed in three years of full-time study. Some programs require all first year law students to take a uniform first year curriculum that includes general law courses such as professionalism and ethics prior to branching off into agricultural law.

Agricultural Master of Laws (LL.M.) Programs

LL.M programs can be earned with the completion of one year in an individualized course of study. Students must have earned a J.D. in order to apply for an LL.M program. Currently, there are few LL.M. programs in agricultural law. This program allows students to either further their area of expertise or expand their scope of agricultural law.

By studying agricultural law at a highly ranked university with a wide range of academic offerings and resources, students can get adequate preparation for a career in the field.

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