What Are The Top 10 Law Schools In The US?

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The US News and World Report Rankings (the USNWR rankings, for short) are far and away the most influential rankings in the law school world, heavily relied upon by students deciding where to attend law school. People working in law school admissions departments lose jobs over drops in the USNWR rankings.

The Top 10 Law Schools In The US:

(according to the US News and World Report Rankings)

lawschoolrankings#1: Yale Law School
#2: Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School
#4: University of Chicago Law School, Columbia Law School
#6: NYU Law School
#7:  University of Pennsylvania Law School, University of Virginia Law School
#9: University of California Berkeley Law School, University of Michigan Law School (Ann Arbor)
(source)

Despite the many quarrels commentators have with the USNWR rankings, there is little disagreement that these 10 schools do indeed belong in the top 10 (there are a lot of disagreements, however, about the order, which often changes year to year).

Other rankings may have the schools in different orders. Here are the rankings according to the influential blog Above The Law:

  1. Yale Law School
  2. Stanford Law School
  3. Harvard Law School
  4. University of Chicago Law School
  5. University of Pennsylvania Law School
  6.  Duke University School of Law
  7. University of Virginia Law School
  8. Columbia Law School
  9. University of California Berkeley Law School
  10. NYU Law School

(source)

As you might have noticed, Michigan jumped out of the top 10 and Duke jumped in. The Above The Law rankings place more weight on job placement than does the USNWR, including some weight given to schools placement into Supreme Court clerkship positions and also how many federal judges the school has produced. To me, these last two factors just represent a crafty proxy for USNWR’s oft-criticized ‘reputation scores’.

Want to debate the merit of the various rankings? Josh and I are happy to provide opinion in response to any comments!

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3 Comments

  1. How is Michigan considered Top 10 if the 2015 rankings had it bumped to #11? It was below a 3-way-tie for #8 between UVA, Berkely, and Duke. Asking as a recent UM admit!

  2. Hello Joshua and Evan,
    I am a California native with a M.A. Ed. and secondary teaching credential. For the past 2 years I was unable to find a teaching position but was given the opportunity to work with an affordable housing developer/property management NPO. I played the role of community organizer, grant writer, city liaison, social justice back bone, translator…. You get it. But, I feel in love with affordable housing rights, racial disparity, poverty relinquishing groups, and of course educational policy and advocacy.
    My question to you both is, how did you know law school was the right decision? I know I am ready to take the next step (I have continued to continue research and publish articles) but am completely lost in the search for the right program path to take.

    Any advice for a young brown L.A. based woman would help.

    Thank you,

    (great website!)

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