The 50 Best Law Schools In America

Harvard University Law SchoolReuters/Jim BourgHarvard Law School claimed the number one spot for the second year in a row.

Even though the outlook on the legal job market still isn’t too bright, picking the right law school will exponentially increase the likelihood of success after graduation.
We asked more than 400 American legal professionals — 70% of whom are attorneys — to select the 10 law schools that would best serve a legal career, and Harvard Law School was the resounding answer.

This is the second year in a row that Harvard took the number one spot on our list of Best Law Schools, with Yale coming in right behind it.

Click here to go to a one-page version of our “best law school” list >

#49 Indiana University -- Bloomington (Maurer)

Maurer School of Law scored a 1.14 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $48,962

The first-year curriculum uses legal ethics as the spine of its course work, immersing students in a variety of practice settings. Notable alumni include U.S. District Court Judge Rodolfo Lozano and former Governor of Indiana Frank O'Bannon.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#48 University of Georgia

The University of Georgia scored a 1.16 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $36,410

Ranked #33 by U.S. News & World Report, this public law school in Athens, Ga., makes global opportunities a focus, particularly its study- and work-abroad programs.

Yemeni Prime Minister Abdul Karim al-Iryani and 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' cast member Phaedra Parks attended.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#47 Ohio State University (Moritz)

Moritz College of Law scored a 1.18 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $42,962

The Columbus-based Big 10 school boasts more than five legal clinics, giving students hands-on experience helping clients with criminal defence and entrepreneurial business issues.

Ohio State Senator Mark D. Wagoner and Nevada State Governor Brian Sandoval graduated from this law school.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#46 University of Florida (Levin)

Levin College of Law scored a 1.18 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $41,695

One of the largest law schools, educating more than 1,200 students annually, Levin's alumni include former Florida Governor Lawton Chiles, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' host Joe Scarborough.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#44 Brigham Young University (Clark)

Clark Law School scored a 1.18 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $22,560

BYU's Clark Law School has the best value for a private law school, according to a new ranking by The National Jurist. More than 50% of operating costs are paid from the tithing contributions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

ESPN football analyst Steve Young and Utah State Senator Mike Lee attended the Provo, Utah university.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#43 University of Illinois -- Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois scored a 1.20 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $49,657

University of Illinois offers 12 joint degree programs and 9 specialty tracks so students can highly personalise their curricula.

U.S. Tax Court Senior Judge David Laro and first U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General Reginald Harmon attended.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#42 University of Minnesota -- Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota scored a 1.20 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $47,330

Ranked #19 by U.S. News & World Report, Minnesota Law takes pride in its unique student organisations, including the Interfaith Law League, Theatre of the Relatively Talentless, and T.O.R.T., a group that puts on an annual law school musical.

President and CEO of Marriott International Arne Sorenson, Kansas City Mayor Sly James, and St. Jude Medical Chairman and CEO Daniel Starks got their degrees here.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#41 Wake Forest University

Wake Forest scored a 1.20 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $41,364

Small by tradition and design, the law program has been part of the once all-male Baptist school since 1894. Its Pro Bono Project places philanthropy at its core, filling hundreds of placements with attorneys in nonprofit, private practice and N.C.'s legal services organisations.

North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan and former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake, Jr. studied at the Winston-Salem, N.C. campus.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#40 University of Colorado -- Boulder

The University of Colorado scored a 1.20 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $38,334

Again in the number 43 spot, University of Colorado offers plenty of recreation opportunities -- with 40 student organisations on-campus. Students also commit to more than 50 hours of pro bono work before graduation, via its Public Service Pledge.

Former Governor of Colorado Roy Romer and suspense novelist Stephen Coonts graduated from the program, which students can complete in as little as 2.5 years.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#39 Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount scored a 1.22 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $45,980

Loyola Law shines in its specialty programs, with U.S. News & World Report ranking it at #6 for Part-time Law, #7 for Tax Law, and #6 for Trial Advocacy.

Its Los Angeles location enables students to gets hands-on experience in entertainment law, partnering with Paramount Pictures, MGM-UA Studios, and Warner Bros. Notable alumni include women's rights activist Gloria Allred, O.J. Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran, and celebrity divorce attorney Laura Wasser.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#37 Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee scored a 1.25 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $43,570

This small private school accepts just over 100 students each year, and has a student-faculty ratio of 10.2:1.

Ranked #26 by U.S. News & World Report, W&L alumni include Prescott Prince, the attorney who defended Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Christian Broadcasting Network CEO Gordon Robertson in its alumni network.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#36 Yeshiva University (Cardozo)

Cardozo scored a 1.26 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $51,778

Located in Manhattan's trendy Greenwich Village, Cardozo touts high rankings for its intellectual property law and dispute resolution programs.

Animal rights activist and lawyer Rachel Hirschfeld, New York restaurateur and BaoHaus owner Eddie Huang, and 'Avenue Q' co-creator Jeff Marx all attended Cardozo, a first-timer on our best law schools list.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#34 University of North Carolina -- Chapel Hill

UNC scored a 1.29 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $38,846

Not wanting to stray far from the postcard-perfect Chapel Hill campus, about 70% of UNC Law students are from North Carolina.

Distinguished alumni include North Carolina State Attorney General Roy Cooper, former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, and Henry Frye, the first black Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#33 Fordham University

Fordham scored a 1.30 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $50,996

This Jesuit institution makes pro bono work a priority, and students can find opportunities at its 15 centres and institutes -- including the world's first Fashion Law Institute.

Distinguished alumni include CNN 'New Day' reporter Chris Cuomo, FOX Entertainment CEO Jim Gianopulos, and the New York Giants President and CEO, John Mara.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#32 Baylor University

Baylor scored a 1.30 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $50,706

Baylor touts a highly customisable curriculum. Students are permitted to start in the fall, spring, or summer, and may take any quarter off to pursue a clerkship, externship, or study abroad experience.

Texas State Senator Kirk Watson, former FBI Director William Sessions, and screenplay writer and director of 'The Rookie,' 'The Alamo,' and 'The Blind Side' John Lee Hancock studied at the Waxo, Texas campus.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#31 Emory University

Emory scored a 1.30 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $48,174

Emory Law runs unique legal initiatives like TIG:ER Program, a collaboration with George Institute of Technology, and the Feminism and Legal Theory Project.

One survey participant in the Atlanta region noted that 'Emory is one of the best in my area' -- attended by MetLife CEO C. Robert Henrikson, and Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#30 Tulane University

Tulane scored a 1.30 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $47,080

One of the oldest law schools in the country, Tulane is located in the culturally rich city of New Orleans. Its environmental law program is ranked #6 by U.S. News & World Report.

Louisiana State Senator David Vitter, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, and 'Jumanji' and 'Armageddon' writer Jonathan Hensleigh attended.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#29 Pepperdine University

Pepperdine scored a 1.31 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $46,740

Its dispute resolution program is ranked number-one in the country, and its Malibu, Calif. location makes it a part-time vacationland.

Pepperdine alumni include former L.A. mayor James Hahn and former Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#28 Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University scored a 1.32 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $48,715

U.S. News & World Report ranked it the #19 best law school, but it's also the best law school to find a date, according to GraduatePrograms.com.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce founder Charles Nagel and former Deutsche Financial Services President and CEO Melvin Brown called the St. Louis, Mo. campus home.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#27 College of William and Mary (Marshall-Wythe)

Marshall-Wythe School of Law scored a 1.35 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $38,000

W&M founded America's first law school, and its curriculum centres around the ideal of the 'citizen-lawyer,' a socially-conscious lawyer who defends the downtrodden and advocates for human rights.

The Williamsburg, Va.-located school, attended by Michele Bachmann and Eric Cantor, places more grads in government jobs than any other law school, according to the National Law Journal.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#26 University of Southern California (Gould)

Gould School of Law scored a 1.37 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $56,256

Ranked #18 by U.S. News & World Report, Gould has its fair share of fun student organisations, such as the Surf Law Society and a capella singing group Lawcapella.

Alumni include celebrity lawyer George Hedge and former Chairman and CEO of Citigroup Charles Prince.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#25 University of California -- Davis

UC -- Davis scored a 1.38 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $50,279

Located just 20 minutes from Sacramento and about an hour from the Bay Area, UC -- Davis Law takes pride in its well-rounded community. National Jurist included it in its 2012 Diversity Honour Roll, and The Princeton Review ranked it #6 in its most diverse faculties list. Law Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye and writer Gus Lee attended.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#24 Penn State University (Dickinson)

Dickinson School of Law scored a 1.39 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $42,040

Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State has deep roots in public interest law. Ranked #64 by U.S. News & World Report, its University Park and Carlisle, Penn. campuses were once home to former Pennsylvania Governors Tom Ridge, Arthur James, and John S. Fine, and former Pennsylvania Senator and 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#22 Boston University

Boston University scored a 1.42 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $45,786

BU law students have the entire city of Boston at their disposal for internships, clerkships, and other job opportunities. Viacom, Inc., General Counsel Michael Fricklas, Enron whistleblower Jordan Mintz, and Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav all got their law degrees at this Beantown school.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#20 University of Texas -- Austin

UT -- Austin scored a 1.48 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $49,244

The University of Texas at Austin has reported the highest salary-to-debt ratio of the 194 law schools ranked by U.S. New & World Report -- meaning its grads get the biggest return on their investment. A survey participant wrote, 'Austin has a high potential for earning with relatively low costs.'

Alumni Paul Begala, a political consultant, commentator and former advisor to President Bill Clinton, and U.S. Senator from Texas Kay Bailey Hutchison reaped those benefits.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#19 Boston College

Boston College scored a 1.66 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $45,231

Only 82 law schools in the entire country have chapters of the Order of the Coif -- an elite society for law school grads in the top 10 per cent of their class -- and Boston College is one of them. Secretary of State John Kerry, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, and Olympic gold medalist Shannon Miller all attended the Jesuit law school.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#17 George Washington University

George Washington University scored a 1.71 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $49,840

G.W.'s Foggy Bottom campus is at the heart of government activity in downtown D.C. (just blocks from the State Department), making it easy for students to secure internships at federal organisations. The school runs several different legal clinics, an extensive public interest and pro bono program, and an on-campus public sector recruiting program.

U.S. Senator Harry Reid and Allen Dulles, the longest-serving director of the CIA, both attended.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#16 University of California -- Los Angeles

UCLA scored a 1.77 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $51,720

The University of California school system is known for having some A-plus schools, and its law schools are no exception, as alumni Kirsten Gillibrand, New York State Senator, and Alicia Limtiaco, U.S. Attorney for Guam, would probably tell you.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#15 University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame scored a 1.98 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $48,730

One survey participant was adamant about the fact that Notre Dame is typically underrated. 'It is by far one of the most well-funded, well-staffed law schools in the nation,' the participant wrote. 'The employment rate is high and the scholarship of their professors is impeccable. It deserves to be higher ranked.'

Bank of America's CEO, Brian Moynihan, graduated from this Indiana law school in 1984.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#14 University of Virginia

The University of Virginia scored a 2.00 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $52,900

The UVA school of law has awarded JDs to both Ted and Robert F. Kennedy. The Charlottesville, Va., law school was founded by Thomas Jefferson himself in 1819. Its proximity to Washington gives students easy access to internships, interviews, and lots of legal history.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#13 Northwestern University

Northwestern University scored a 2.05 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $55,064

Northwestern is a recurring member of the 'T14' (or, Top 14) group of law schools. Former U.S. Secretary of State and democratic presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan and TV talk show host Jerry Springer both got their degrees at this suburban Chicago school.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#11 University of Michigan -- Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan scored a 2.31 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $52,784

Michigan stepped up three places on our ranking this year. JD-holders like conservative political commentator Ann Coulter, President Obama's senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, and ABC News journalist Bob Woodruff call the University of Michigan School of Law their alma mater.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#8 New York University

NYU scored a 2.67 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $48,950

NYU Law School has churned out some of the city's best mayors, including Fiorello La Guardia, Ed Koch, and Rudy Giuliani. And, with its prestigious public interest programs and career center (not to mention the full-ride Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholarship), it's easy to see why.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#7 Cornell University

Cornell scored a 2.78 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $55,301

The alma mater of International Criminal Court President Sang-Hyun Song and Xerox Chairman Sol Linowitz has one of the most distinguished international legal studies programs in the country.

Its surrounding town, Ithaca, N.Y., has been called the best college town in America.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#5 Georgetown University

Georgetown scored a 3.30 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $50,890

From number 10 to number five, our survey respondents gave Georgetown University a lot more credit this year. Among its alumni are former President Lyndon B. Johnson, former Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, and Obama's Chief of Staff Jack Lew.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#3 Columbia University

Columbia scored a 3.78 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $57,838

Columbia jumped up a place on this year's list. The Manhattan-based law school is the third best in the country, but still number one in New York. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and MSNBC reporter Dan Abrams call Columbia Law School their alma mater.

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

#1 Harvard University

Harvard scored a 4.56 out of 5 on Business Insider's rating.

Tuition and fees: $53,308

Located in Boston's neighbouring city of Cambridge, Harvard remained the top contender on our Best Law Schools list for the second year in a row. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle both tout Crimson colours.

When it comes to the success of Harvard Law grads, one survey participant pointed out, 'By far, I've watched Harvard University law grads exceed beyond any others.'

For this survey, we asked hundreds of legal professionals to select the 10 law schools that would be best for a legal career. We calculated the Business Insider rating score based on survey data. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.