Top 10 Law Schools in the United States

Posted by Wicked Sago | Posted in , , | Posted on 5:15 PM

10. Northwestern University School of Law


The Northwestern University School of Law is a private American law school in Chicago, Illinois. The law school was independently founded in 1859 as the Union College of Law and is one of eleven academic entities at Northwestern University. Northwestern enjoys a strong national reputation. The school is currently ranked tied for 9th by the US News and World Report guide to the nation's top law schools.

Northwestern Law is located on Northwestern University's downtown campus in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood. The campus is on Lake Shore Drive, just south of the Gold Coast neighborhood, along Lake Michigan, and a few blocks from the John Hancock Center, Magnificent Mile, Water Tower, and Navy Pier.


9. Georgetown University Law Center


Georgetown University Law Center (Georgetown Law) is Georgetown University's law school, located in Washington, D.C. According to the 2009 edition of U.S. News & World Report, Georgetown Law is the #14 ranked law school in the nation overall, and is #1 in clinical programs, #4 in environmental law, #4 in trial advocacy, #6 in healthcare law, #4 in international law, and #2 in tax law. Law School 100, a ranking scheme that purports to use qualitative rather than quantitative criteria, ranks Georgetown Law 7th overall, tied with Cornell, Virginia and others, and Georgetown was ranked 2nd overall in the annual 2009 Judging the Law Schools rankings. Consistent with its reputation as one of the most prestigious law schools in the nation, the Law Center's graduates are among the most highly sought after students by law firms and other employers across the nation. The second largest law school in the U.S., Georgetown often emphasizes that its close proximity to federal government agencies, courts, and the Supreme Court offer a significant advantage in the study of law. The current dean of Georgetown Law is T. Alexander Aleinikoff.


8. Cornell Law School


Cornell Law School, located in Ithaca, New York, is a graduate school of Cornell University. It is one of the five Ivy League law schools. The school confers three law degrees, hosts an array of programs and institutes, and offers more than 120 courses for its students. Students may supplement their legal studies by availing themselves of the rich academic resources available in other colleges of the university. The law school's faculty is among the most prolific in the nation in terms of scholarly output and is well regarded for its excellence in classroom teaching. The school has a student to faculty ratio of 10.4 to 1, the third lowest of the 184 American Bar Association-accredited law schools in the United States Cornell enjoys an excellent reputation in the legal profession, and its graduates have the sixth highest percentage placement at the top 50 law firms. Additionally, Cornell's first-time pass rate for the New York Bar Examination is consistently among the highest of any law school in the state. It has a residence hall, Hughes Hall, attached to the law school to the east.


7. Boalt Hall School of Law


The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, commonly referred to as Berkeley Law and Boalt Hall, is one of 14 schools and colleges at the University of California, Berkeley. Admitted applicants generally have an undergraduate GPA of between 3.7 and 3.9 and a Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score of between 164 and 170 (90th and 98th percentile of all test-takers).


In April 2008, the law school's name was officially changed to "UC Berkeley School of Law", with "Berkeley Law" as its shortened form, in order to more closely tie the law school's name with the campus upon which it resides. The administration hopes that this move will further increase the law school's prestige, since people will now associate it with the world-renowned Berkeley campus.


6. University of Chicago Law School


The University of Chicago Law School is the graduate school of law at the University of Chicago. Established in 1902, the school is among the highest ranked law schools in the United States. It is currently ranked 6th by the US News & World Report law school rankings, tied with Berkeley. The school awards the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, as well as the L.L.M., J.S.D and D.Comp.L (solely to foreign trained lawyers). The school has been noted for its large influence on law and economics scholarship.


5. NYU School of Law


The New York University School of Law (NYU Law) is the law school of New York University. Established in 1835, the school offers the J.D., LL.M., and J.S.D. degrees in law, and is located in Greenwich Village, in the New York City borough of Manhattan.


NYU Law was the first law school established in New York City. It is currently ranked 5th nationally by the 2009 U.S. News & World Report.


4. Columbia Law School


Columbia Law School, located in New York City, is one of the professional schools of Columbia University, a member of the Ivy League. David Schizer is the dean.


Since U.S. News & World Report began its survey of law schools in 1987, Columbia has consistently ranked among the top four institutions for academic reputation and currently ranks 4th overall in the 2010 U.S. News & World Report, behind Yale Law School, Harvard Law School and Stanford Law School.

Columbia was ranked 1st by The National Law Journal's survey of "Go-To Law Schools" as determined by the percentage of law school graduates hired by the nation's top 250 law firms. Similarly, Brian Leiter's recent law school rankings (an alternative to U.S. News) ranked Columbia 1st for job placement at the nation's elite law firms and, for the past several years, 3rd for student numerical quality, behind only Yale and Harvard.


Admission to Columbia Law is among the most selective in the U.S. with only 15.9% of applicants being accepted in 2007.


Columbia Law School has produced a large number of distinguished alumni including, among others: two Presidents of the United States; nine Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (three of whom were Chief Justices), including the first Chief Justice of the United States (John Jay); numerous U.S. Cabinet members and Presidential advisors; U.S. Senators, Representatives, and Governors; members of the federal trial and appellate courts; and academicians and diplomats. Alumni of the Law School have been the president of twenty-four colleges and universities. More current members of the Forbes 400 attended Columbia than any other law school. For its teaching and scholarship, Columbia is lauded in international law and intellectual property — constitutional law, criminal law, legal philosophy and critical race theory, among others, are also exceptionally strong. Columbia is also well known for corporate law where it has a storied job placement rate at the nation's top law firms.


3. Yale Law School


Yale Law School, or YLS, is the law school of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Established in 1843, the school offers the J.D., LL.M., J.S.D., and M.S.L. degrees in law. It also hosts visiting scholars and a number of legal research centers. The school's prestige and small size make its admissions process the most selective of any United States law school. Yale has been ranked as the number one law school by U.S. News and World Report in every year in which the magazine has published law school rankings.


Among other luminaries, former U.S. President William Howard Taft was a professor of constitutional law at the school from 1913 until he resigned to become Chief Justice of the United States in 1921. Presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton received their law degrees at Yale Law School later in the century, and the law school's library has been memorialized as the meeting place of Bill and fellow student and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Former Democratic Vice Presidential nominees Sargent Shriver and Joe Lieberman are also graduates. Current U.S. Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito are alumni of the school, as is former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Other former Supreme Court Justices who were alumni include Potter Stewart, Byron R. White, Abe Fortas, Sherman Minton, George Shiras, Henry Baldwin, David Davis, and William Strong.


The school's law library, Lillian Goldman Law Library, contains over 1,000,000 volumes. The law school's flagship law review is the Yale Law Journal, which is often the most cited law journal in the world.


2. Stanford Law School


Stanford Law School (also known as Stanford Law or SLS) is a graduate school at Stanford University located in the area known as the Silicon Valley, near Palo Alto, California in the United States. The Law School was established in 1893 when former President Benjamin Harrison joined the faculty as the first professor of law. It employs more than 50 faculty and hosts over 500 students who are working towards their Juris Doctor or other graduate legal degrees, giving it the smallest student body of any law school in the top 25 of the US News & World Report annual ranking.


Stanford Law School typically ranks in the top three in the US News overall rankings of law schools and is currently ranked third, behind only Yale and Harvard Law Schools.


The late Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist and former Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court, are both Stanford Law alumni, as is current Chief Justice of California Ronald M. George.


1. Harvard Law School

Harvard Law School

Harvard Law School (also known as Harvard Law or HLS) is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it is the United States' oldest law school in continuous operation. It is home to the largest academic law library in the world. HLS is typically ranked in the top three law schools in the nation, and is currently listed as the second best law school in the United States by U.S. News and World Report, behind only Yale Law School.


Harvard Law introduced what became the standard first-year curriculum for American law schools—including classes in contracts, property, torts, criminal law, and civil procedure—in the 1870s, under Dean Christopher Columbus Langdell. At Harvard, Langdell also developed the case method of teaching law, which became the dominant model for U.S. law schools.


The school is currently led by interim dean Howell Jackson, who took over from Elena Kagan upon her confirmation as Solicitor General of the United States on March 19, 2009. A search for a new permanent dean is currently underway.


Each class in the three-year J.D. program numbers approximately 550 students, giving the school the largest enrollment of any accredited law school in the United States. The first-year (1L) class is broken into seven sections of approximately 80 students who take most first-year classes together. Harvard Law has 246 faculty members.


Admission to Harvard Law is highly selective: For the class entering in 2008, there were approximately 7200 applicants, of which approximately 11.4% were admitted; 67.9% of those admitted enrolled. For that class, the median GPA for the middle 50% of the students was between 3.74 and 3.95 (out of 4.00) and an LSAT score between 170 and 176 (out of 180). Harvard Law's admissions process includes the unusual feature of telephone interviews conducted amongst students likely to be accepted.


Harvard Law School has produced numerous leaders in law and politics, including the current U.S. President, Barack Obama, former president Rutherford B. Hayes, five sitting U.S. Supreme Court Justices, including the Chief Justice, John G. Roberts, 149 sitting federal judges, and the current President of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou. It is consistently the best represented law school among the faculty at the U.S. law schools and among the attorneys at the top law firms in the U.S. Harvard Law School graduates have accounted for 568 judicial clerkships in the past three years, including 25% of all Supreme Court clerkships. More than 120 from the last five graduating classes have obtained tenure-track law teaching positions.

Source: The Law School 100


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