For centuries, the United States has been renowned as the land of opportunity, especially concerning education. The country’s system of higher education offers not just a plentiful selection of universities but a quality one as well. Thus, an abundance of students, both domestic and foreign, have repeatedly opted to peruse their academic careers in the United States. Because of this, the American system of higher education strives to provide as many scholarships as possible for students from a wide variety of both social groups and nations.
One of the most sought out academic programs in the United States has been the study of law, as it has come to be synonymous with both prestige and excellence. American universities are continuously ranked amongst the very best in the world with regard to their law programs. As such, here are some of the best law schools in the United States.
Top Law Universities in the United States
1. Yale University
Founded in 1701 in Connecticut, Yale University is considered to be one of the best law schools in the United States. The university is a coveted member of the Ivy League, an American collegiate of eight private research universities known for its academic and athletic excellence. Today, Yale University is comprised of fourteen constituent schools which are situated across campuses, forests, and a nature preserve in New Haven, Connecticut.
From its establishment in 1824, Yale Law School has maintained its position as the most distinguished law program in the United States. Its prestige is evident even in its highly selective and rigorous admissions process. Once admitted, students of both undergraduate and graduate programs are offered a wide variety of courses, ranging from environmental law and legal history to more traditional branches such as criminal and constitutional law. In addition, Yale Law School encourages its students to not only study law, but also fine-tune their skills through debates, academic conferences, and mock trials. The university aims to educate legal experts who will not only be well versed in the letter of law but also be able to recognize real-world issues and propose and advocate for meaningful change in both the United States and the world.
2. Stanford University
For more than 30 years, Stanford University has been recognized as one of the most reputable institutions for higher education. Since its founding in 1893, Stanford Law School has ranked amongst the top three law schools in the United States. In 2016, it overtook second place, previously held by Harvard University. In addition to its ranking, Stanford Law School is commonly referred to as the most prestigious law school due to it having the highest percentage of recent graduates clerking for federal judges.
Stanford aims to educate lawyers who not only have exceptional theoretical knowledge of the law but are also able to use theory to make an impactful and meaningful difference. Because of this, the university encourages students of law to practice reasoned discourse, support their claims with evidence, and collaborate to solve problems and disputes. Through these practices, both undergraduate and graduate students of this prestigious law institution come to understand that a successful career in law requires creativity, rigor, humility, and accountability.
3. Harvard University
In addition to being a top-tier research institution, Harvard University is probably the best-known university in the United States. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has the oldest law program in the country. Unlike other high-ranked law programs, Harvard Law School has an unusually large student body, numbering approximately 560 students. At both the undergraduate and graduate level, Harvard Law School has had the privilege to educate some of the world’s leading experts in the judiciary, government, and business. Some of the university’s most notable alumni have been involved in preparing and publishing the Harvard Law Review, one of the most cited law reviews in the United States.
One crucial objective of the Harvard law program is to create a diverse community of legal experts. Because of this, Harvard seeks to provide various scholarships for students from both the United States and abroad. Once enrolled, students are taught to promote a diverse and inclusive culture through their legal careers. These values are evident in the university’s pro bono legal program which gives students a chance to not only practice the law but give back to their community.
4. Columbia University
Another member of the Ivy League, Columbia University is located in New York City, one of the most bustling and lively places in the world. Founded in 1858 as the Columbia College Law School, Columbia University is among the top institutions for law in the United States. It educated some of the most prominent Early-American legal figures, such as Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. In addition to its renowned alumni, today Columbia Law School is most notable for its corporate law program and influence in placing its students in the nation’s most elite law firms.
The university prides itself as a leader in both legal education and scholarship. During their years at the university, students have the opportunity to learn the workings of the law from leading academic figures not just in the United States, but the world. Scholars from various fields of the law challenge their students to engage and rethink important legal, social, and cultural issues. Furthermore, they motivate their students to seek intellectual exchange through interdisciplinary studies and joint degrees. Once they receive their diplomas, Columbia Law School graduates are prepared to step foot and excel in the legal world.
5. University of Chicago
Founded by some of the most prominent political and business figures in the United States, the University of Chicago has become one of the best law schools in the country. From the time it first opened its doors in 1890, the core idea of the university was to offer its students a multidisciplinary study of law. Today, the University of Chicago Law school still upholds this idea. Its student body is made up of more than 600 students on the undergraduate level alone.
The University of Chicago educates its students to learn for the sake of learning, not earning. Furthermore, it wholeheartedly encourages its students to discuss new and unconventional approaches to law. Because its program is quite selective and the class sizes are small, students can have in-depth interactions with their professors. The faculty consists of not only legal experts, but historians, economists, and philosophers. The university believes that only with such a diverse faculty can its students comprehend the law to the fullest extent.
We hope this article on the best law schools in the United States was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Law Programs for International Students!