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 2016, 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 (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
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.