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THE USA: Subject Guides

The best law schools in the USA

What are the best law schools in the USA? We've used US rankings to present 5 of the top US universities for law.

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The USA is home to some of the finest and most prestigious law schools in the world. Gaining a law degree from one of these institutions is highly desirable, sought after by employers and can lead to a rewarding and lucrative career in the field of law. But, before you leap straight into applying for law school in the USA, you must consider which schools are best for law and which would be better suited to you.


What is it like to study law in the USA?

Firstly, studying law in the USA is a unique experience that differs to any other study destination. Whereas in other countries, students can choose to study law as their undergraduate degree, the USA only offers law as a postgraduate degree, lasting for three years. Law schools in the USA award the following types of degrees which may be suited to particular areas of law:

  • JD (Juris Doctor)
  • LLM (Master of Law)
  • JSD (Doctor of Juridical Science)  

The style of teaching in U.S. law schools is known as the Socrates method, where lecturers ask rapid-fire questions to students to develop their ability to think critically under pressure. While this can feel overwhelming at first, this technique is an effective way to teach students how to think analytically and is crucial in succeeding within any legal profession. Want to find out more about the benefits of studying law?


Entry requirements for U.S. law schools

Law schools in the USA have high standards and you will need to meet the necessary admission requirements to be considered. These are as follows:


Make sure you book a test well in advance of the university application deadline so that you can work on the other important components.


Now let’s move on to the list of top law schools on the USA.


1. Yale University

Ranking first in the U.S. News & World Report 2023 Best Law Schools Yale University has an unbeatable reputation for the quality of its teaching on the subject. Located in Connecticut, this Ivy League school sets students up for success with leading faculty, small class sizes, workshops and opportunities to represent real clients in their first year.


Tuition fees for international and domestic students: USD 66,128 per year


2. Stanford University

A world-leading research institution, Stanford University ranks in 2nd place for the subject of law (USNWR 2023). This California-based university receives more than 4,000 applications each year and accepts just 180 students, reflecting the high competition for securing a place at this school.


Tuition fees for international and domestic students: USD 64,350 per year


3. Harvard University

With Michelle Obama being among Harvard University’s law school alumni, it’s no surprise to see this institution within the top three. Priding itself for small class sizes and the largest offering of legal clinics, students at Harvard Law School are encouraged to apply classroom theory in professional legal settings. In fact, students must complete at least 40 hours of pro bono or volunteer work before graduating, giving them real-world experience of practicing law.


Tuition fees for international and domestic students: USD 67,081 per year


4. Columbia University

Columbia Law School has strong industry connections with top employers around the world including fortune 500 companies, NGO’s, law firms and more. This, among many other reasons is what puts Columbia University in 4th position (USNWR 2023). Notable alumni include U.S. Supreme court justices, CEO’s, law firm heads and entrepreneurs. What makes Columbia particularly appealing is its location in Manhattan, New York City.


Tuition fees for international and domestic students: USD 72,465 per year


5. University of Chicago

The law school at the University of Chicago adopts an integrative approach with professors not only being leading scholars of law but also within other disciplines such as philosophy, economics, history and political science. This institution fosters a learning environment that trains students to become leaders in the courtroom, in government and in private practice with teaching that develops problem solving and analytical skills. Find out more about studying in Chicago.


Tuition fees for international and domestic students: USD 66,651 per year


Studying law in the U.S.

One thing to keep in mind is that these law schools are not only top in the USA, they are global leaders in the teaching of law. Due to the limited number of spaces available and the large quantity of applications these schools receive, you need to stand out in some way. This means that you need to get good scores in your admissions test and your other supporting information needs to be of a high quality.


Luckily, there are plenty of top law schools in the USA which might even be better suited to you. These include*:

*U.S. News & World Report Best Law Schools 2023.


Ready to apply for law school? If you didn’t see a university you’re interested in here, you can use our course matcher tool to find an institution based on your qualifications and preferences. Remember to also stay up to date with the latest international student news in the USA.

Study in the USA


'Study in the USA' eBook

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