School and Ranking Information
There are only three American Bar Association (ABA) approved law schools within roughly 60 miles of Atlanta: Emory University, the University of Georgia, and Georgia State University. All three of these schools have average bar exam passage rates higher than 90%; in comparison, the statewide average passage rate is around 85%, according to U.S. News & World Report. In order to practice law in the state of Georgia, one must earn a professional degree in law (either a Juris Doctor or Bachelor of Laws) from an approved school, receive a certification of fitness to practice law, and pass the state bar exam. The three schools are ranked below based on range of programs, placement on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best national law schools, and number of degrees awarded in law.
- Winner: Emory University takes the top spot since it had the highest ranked law school among the Atlanta-area schools. It offers master's- and doctoral-level legal degree programs and is ranked 20th among national universities.
- Runner Up #1: The University of Georgia's law school is also nationally ranked and offers master's and doctoral degree programs; however, it is located just over 60 miles away from Atlanta.
- Runner Up #2: Georgia State University takes the third position since it only offers a doctoral-level law program, though this school also has the lowest tuition of the three.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Emory University||University of Georgia||Georgia State University|
|Rankings (2013)||20th among national universities*
23rd nationwide among law schools*
|63rd among national universities*
33rd nationwide among law schools*
16th nationwide for international law programs*
|54th nationwide among law schools*
3rd nationwide for healthcare law programs*
16th nationwide for part-time law programs*
|Location||Atlanta, GA||Athens, GA (61.5 miles from downtown Atlanta)||Atlanta, GA|
|School Type||4-year, private not-for-profit||4-year, public||4-year, public|
|Law School Tuition (2012)||$46,414 (full-time)*||$18,058 (full-time, in-state), $35,480 (full-time, out-of-state)*||$15,154 (full-time, in-state), $34,834 (full-time, out-of-state), $11,940 (part-time, in-state), $26,686 (part-time, out-of-state)*|
|Law Degree Levels Offered||Master's and doctoral degrees||Master's and doctoral degrees||Doctoral degrees|
|Law Degrees Awarded (All Levels) (2011-2012)||294**||239**||192**|
|Most Popular Legal Studies Program (2011-2012)||Doctoral degree (267 awarded)**||Doctoral degree (229 awarded)**||Doctoral degree (192 awarded)**|
|Noteworthy||Has an externship program that allows 2nd- and 3rd-year students to work with practicing attorneys around Atlanta***||Law school has an average annual graduation rate higher than 95%***||Offers several hands-on courses in affiliation with local law clinics***|
Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **National Center for Education Statistics, ***Schools' websites
Winner: Emory University
- The Emory Law School has been accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) since 1923, and part of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) since 1920
- Law school graduates had a bar exam passage rate of about 93% during 2011, according to USN&WR
- Among the 225 students who graduated in 2011, 76% were employed 9 months after graduation, per USN&WR
According to statistics from the U.S. News & World Report, Emory University's law school had nearly 4,000 applicants during 2012, roughly 31% of whom were admitted, and enrolled 813 students. Students here have the option to pursue Juris Doctor, Juris Master, Master of Law, and Doctor of Juridicial Science degrees, as well as dual degrees in bioethics, business, divinity, public health, and theology. In addition, students can take part in several available curricular programs; for example, the highly competitive TI:GER program allows students to partner with business, engineering, and science students at Georgia Tech to attain hands-on learning experience in patent and technology law.
Runner-Up #1: University of Georgia
- Has an extensive international law program that USN&WR ranked within the country's top 20 in 2013
- About 86% of all classes at the School of Law had fewer than 50 students in 2012, per USN&WR
- First-time students during 2012 had a median undergraduate GPA of 3.65 and a median LSAT score of 164, according to USN&WR
- The School of Law only offers full-time degrees
The University of Georgia School of Law is also accredited by the ABA and AALS. In addition to Juris Doctor and Master of Law degrees, this school offers several joint degree programs and concurrent enrollment options with any of the university's 17 schools. Because the school has a strong focus on international law, students also have the option to participate in a wide variety of study-abroad programs and global internships. As of 2012, the acceptance rate at the School of Law was roughly 31%, according to USN&WR. Among the 2011 graduates who took the bar exam, nearly 92% passed on their initial attempt. Around 66% of the 227 students who completed their degrees in 2011 were reported to have been employed 9 months after graduating, as reported by USN&WR.
Runner-Up #2: Georgia State University
- USN&WR ranked Georgia State University's healthcare law program as the 3rd best in the country in 2013
- Among 2011 graduates, about 65% were employed at graduation and roughly 77% were employed 9 months after graduation
- Roughly 67% of the College of Law's classes had fewer than 25 students in 2012, according to USN&WR
- The College of Law had an acceptance rate of about 27% during 2012, per USN&WR
Georgia State University's Juris Doctor program offers dual degrees with the school's departments in philosophy, business, architecture, accounting, public administration, and health. The school is affiliated with several of the state's law clinics - including the Capital Defender Clinic, the HeLP Legal Services Clinic, the Investor Advocacy Clinic, and the Phillip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic - through which students can take interactive courses and gain professional experience. As of 2012, a total of 461 full-time students and 185 part-time students were enrolled in Georgia State University's law school, according to USN&WR. Students who enrolled during this year had a median undergraduate GPA of 3.38 and a median LSAT score of 159. About 94% of Georgia State University's 2011 graduates who took the bar exam were reported to have passed on their first attempt, per USN&WR. The law school is ABA and AALS accredited.