The ranking for this year’s Best Law Schools by US News remained very similar to last year’s ranking, as the top 5 schools held their spot for the second consecutive year.
Top 20 Law Schools
5. University of Chicago
7. University of Michigan
9. UC Berkeley
9. University of Virginia
14. University of Texas - Austin
18. Washington University in St. Louis
20. George Washington University
20. University of Minnesota
See more at US News
Top Law Schools based on Specialty
Best Law School for Clinical Training: Georgetown University
Best Law School for Dispute Resolution: Pepperdine University
Best Law School for Environmental Law: Vermont Law School
Best Law School for Healthcare Law: St. Louis University
Best Law School for Intellectual Property Law: UC Berkeley
Best Law School for International Law: NYU
Best Law School for Legal Writing: Mercer University
Best Law School for Part-time Law: Georgetown
Best Law School for Tax Law: NYU
Best Law School for Trial Advocacy: Stetson University
Rankings are based on a weighted average of 12 different measures of data collected in fall 2010 and early 2011. View methodology at US News.
Considering Law School?
With a tough job market and law school applications at an all-time high, one has to ask…Is going to law school worth it?
About 45,000 students graduate from law school every year, yet only 30,000 legal jobs are available.
It's numbers like these that are making some people question the whole law school thing. Like the Boston College law student who wants his money back, who believes a J.D. in today’s job market is "more of a liability than an asset".
What makes the degree such a liability is the huge amount of debt that typically comes with the degree.
Law School Debt
Law school debt is no joke. It is a burden that typically requires a four-figure monthly student loan payment. This financial burden can be so overwhelming that it can rip apart families and even prevent grads from practicing law.
The average indebtedness of law school graduates typically surpasses $100k. The US News survey also looked at the average debt of each school’s law grads.
A Few Notable Rankings:
|School||Avg. Debt||% with Debt|
|1. California Western School of Law||$145,621||88%|
|7. Northwestern University||$132,685||69%|
|11. University of Chicago||$127,997||84%|
|13. Columbia University||$126,945||77%|
|14. Cornell University||$126,000||80%|
See full list at US News.
Looking at salary numbers only, the best school if you want to get paid well is Stanford Law School, which topped the Forbes list with mid-career median pay of $236,000, followed by Duke University with $221,000. Yale Law School, which topped the US News best overall ranking, tied at #33 with pay of $159,000. Read more at Forbes or check out PayScale for additional salary numbers.
Other Law School Rankings
- US News also conducted a second ranking of law schools based on grading from law firm recruiters. According to law firm recruiters Harvard ranks number one, followed by Stanford and Yale.
- PreLaw magazine ranked the best value law schools as Georgia State University, BYU, and University of Louisville. See the top 20 best value law schools here.