One of the best ways for aspiring lawyers to demonstrate their intelligence and professional prowess to employers, peers, and clients is to earn a law degree from a prestigious law school.
If you’ve been accepted to a highly competitive and prestigious law school, it’s because you’re one of the best law students in the world, with a near-perfect LSAT score, a 4.0 undergraduate GPA, and exceptional analytical prowess.
There is a general correlation between law school rankings and employment outcomes, but prestige should not be the only deciding factor.
More heads of state, prominent leaders in business and industry, and intellectual giants have graduated from top schools than any other type of law school. This includes both US Supreme Court justices and clerks.
Therefore, going to a prestigious law school will almost certainly lead to a prosperous legal career, regardless of the area of law you’re interested in practicing, the location you’d like to establish your career in, and any other factors generally influencing the likelihood of securing elite employment opportunities.
You will find below a list of some of the best law schools in the world.
Best law schools in the world
Among US law schools, Yale’s acceptance rate is among the lowest at around 10% annually.
Students can participate in real-world clinics where they represent actual clients. Eighty percent or more of Yale Law School’s undergraduate students participate in these clinics during their time there. All sorts of legal matters are covered by the clinics, and more are being added all the time.
Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, along with former presidents Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford, are all graduates of the law school.
University of Cambridge
Established in 1209, Cambridge University is home to more than 18,000 undergraduates and nearly 9,000 graduate and postdoctoral researchers. Its three-year Bachelor of Laws degree program is highly sought after, and it ranks third among the world’s top 20 law schools.
It’s not easy to get into law school; the average acceptance rate is only 21%. However, A levels of A*A*A or higher are usually required for entry, though this may vary by country. Successful candidates will become members of the Cambridge University Law Society, the largest student-run law society in the UK and one of the largest in the world.
University of Melbourne
The degrees awarded by the University of Melbourne are highly regarded all over the globe. The university was founded in 1853 and now enrolls more than 52,098 students, making it Australia’s second-oldest institution of higher learning. In addition to a cutting-edge curriculum and first-rate resources, you can rest assured that this institution is among the world’s top 20 law schools.
Since 2008, the school has required a Bachelor’s degree in something other than Law from those who wish to pursue a Juris Doctor degree in Law. Three years of full-time study are required for the degree, during which time students will have the chance to assist real clients and work through actual legal matters. The curriculum for a Juris Doctorate degree consists of 24 different units, with each class holding no more than 60 students.
Finally, the Melbourne Law School Mentor Program helps students find guidance from practicing attorneys as they decide on a career path.
In terms of the world’s top law schools, KU Leuven comes in at number 14. It’s in Belgium and it provides an education based on research; the professors there are the same ones who conduct the innovative studies that make headlines. Candidates have a lot to gain from attending, as tuition is relatively low and there is a thriving international student community. Each student also receives personalized assistance with any academic or everyday concerns they may have.
A high school diploma, a minimum 3.0 GPA, proof of English proficiency, and at least three letters of recommendation are required for admission to the Law program at KU Leuven University in Belgium. With an acceptance rate hovering around 73%, getting in is less competitive than at other schools. Following admission, students have access to a wealth of academic opportunities and cutting-edge resources.
National University of Singapore Faculty of Law (Singapore, Singapore)
The Law School at National University of Singapore is widely considered to be among the best in Asia.
The school’s location in Singapore places its students at the epicenter of numerous commercial sectors.
Due to Singapore’s position as a crossroads between East and West, NUS Law is a great choice for anyone interested in studying law.
Visiting professors and students add to the international flavor of NUS Law.
Since its inception in 1957, the curriculum at NUS Law has been designed to be interdisciplinary, open to different points of view, and international in scope.
Courses in Asian legal studies, jurisprudence, and intellectual property law are just a few examples of the wide variety of subject matter that is offered.
Columbia Law School (New York, NY)
Columbia Law School is widely regarded as one of the best in the world. The university is proud of its longstanding partnerships with prominent organizations in the fields of law, business, social justice, and other relevant fields of study.
Columbia Law students have the unique opportunity to learn from and collaborate with some of the world’s most eminent legal minds thanks to the small student-to-professor ratio of 5.2:1.
This institution is well-known for the difficulty of its academic programs and the fierce competition for admission.
The incoming first-year class of 2021 reflects Columbia’s strict standards, with a median LSAT score of 174 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.84.
Columbia Law provides its students with a wide variety of opportunities to gain practical experience in client representation through pro bono legal service, clinical programs, and externships.
Stanford Law School (Stanford, CA)
Since 1992, when US News and World Report first released its annual school rankings, Stanford Law School has consistently been ranked in the top three law schools in the United States.
The median undergraduate GPA of students admitted to and enrolled at SLS is 3.93, placing it first among all law schools.
The school provides unparalleled opportunities, such as allowing students to craft one-of-a-kind joint degree programs or develop brand-new courses based on their own personal passions and areas of study.
There are only about 4.4 students for every professor at Stanford, so students get plenty of one-on-one time with professors who are widely considered to be among the world’s best in their fields.
SLS’s proximity to Palo Alto, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, provides students with easy access to the world’s preeminent hub for the development of technological products and services. The employment rate for Stanford Law School’s graduating class of 2017 was an impressive 88.8%, and it increased to 90.4% by the time students reached their ten-month mark after graduation.
University of Oxford Faculty of Law (Oxford, EN)
Evidence suggests that the teaching and study of law at the University of Oxford began as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the second oldest university in continuous operation worldwide.
The University of Oxford Faculty of Law has a history of teaching law that spans more than 800 years. During that time, it has become a preeminent center for legal scholarship and vigorous debate.
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings have placed the University of Oxford at the top spot for the past six years running (2017-2022).
Over 30 world leaders and 28 British prime ministers are among the distinguished “Oxonians” who graduated from Oxford University.
New York University (NYU)
The City of New York is home to the private university known as New York University. In addition to its main campus in Beijing, it also has degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.
NYU School of Law (NYU Law) was founded in 1835, making it the oldest law school in both New York City and New York State.
Over 40 different clinics are available to students at the Law School, giving them the opportunity to gain the real-world experience they need to become successful lawyers.
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
If you’re looking for a public research university in London, look no further than the London School of Economics and Political Science.
One of the best law schools in the world is LSE. The school first offered classes in law in 1895.
University College London (UCL)
University College London (UCL) is a public research university in London, United Kingdom. In terms of student body size, it is among the UK’s top universities.
In 1827, the University of Cambridge established its Faculty of Laws, commonly referred to as UCL Laws. In the United Kingdom, it is the pioneering faculty of common law.
Students at the University College London (UCL) Faculty of Laws have access to the UCL Integrated Legal Advice Clinic (UCL iLAC) program, where they can gain practical experience and a deeper understanding of the field of law.
University of California – Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
The University of California at Berkeley, or UC Berkeley as it is more commonly known, was founded in 1869 as the state’s first public research university. The school has earned a reputation as one of the best in the world. The fourteen colleges that make up UCC Berkeley’s 350 degree programs are home to the university’s 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
The 25 different research centers and the internationally renowned faculty at its law school make it one of the best in the world. The high academic standards at UC Berkeley have helped establish it as one of the world’s premier law schools. Prospective students can choose from a number of degrees, including the three-year Juris Doctorate Program, the Master of Laws, the Doctor of Jurisprudential Science, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Jurisprudence and Social Policy.
University of Amsterdam (UvAA)
In 1632, the Netherlands established the University of Amsterdam (UvA), a public research institution. UvA is well known because it is the third oldest university in the country and one of the largest research universities in Europe. It’s also highly regarded as a top school for aspiring international lawyers.
UvAA is also well-known for the high quality of its faculty and the diversity of the science and arts degrees it offers, especially in the areas of language, geography, economics, and finance. Most recently, in 2019, their media and communication degree programs were ranked first in the world by QS Rankings. Graduate students can consider potential areas of concentration while gaining a foundational understanding of all aspects of international law through the university’s Master of Public International Law program.
University of Melbourne (Unimelb)
In 1853, Victoria, Australia, became home to The Institution of Melbourne, a public research university. It is a member of the elite Group of Eight universities and holds the position of Australia’s number two university. Both Universitas 21 and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities count the school as a member.
The Law School at the University of Melbourne is widely regarded as a forerunner in both domestic and international legal education. On its grounds, students can count on a challenging academic atmosphere. International human rights law, international criminal law, finance, tax, law, and development, and international arbitration are just some of the many specializations available to aspiring lawyers at the Law School. Those with an appetite for international law can pursue a Graduate Diploma in International Law or an LL.M. in Public and International Law.
University of New South Wales
The University of New South Wales (UNSW) was established in 1949 as a public research university in Sydney, Australia. The university has risen steadily in international rankings, and now sits at number 67 on the Times Higher Education list and number 44 on the QS list of the best universities in the world.
UNSW’s Law and Justice School has been at the forefront of legal and criminological studies in Australia for the past half century. This fact alone establishes the institution as one of the world’s premier teaching centers for international law. Students in UNSW’s Master of Laws program have access to world-class faculty and resources.
What Do I Need to Study Law?
Entry requirements to law schools vary by country. Typical LSAT scores in the United States and Canada. Possessing a strong academic background in subjects like English, History, and Psychology may also be required. Further, if English is not your native tongue, you must show proof that you can communicate effectively in English.
How long does it take to study and practice Law?
In the United States, law school is a minimum of seven years. A JD degree in the United States requires a bachelor’s degree and another three years of full-time study. It’s possible that becoming an attorney doesn’t take as much as seven years of schooling in other countries.
When Should I Apply to Law School?
Different law schools have different application deadlines, but they usually occur in the first few weeks of the spring semester. However, that shouldn’t dissuade you from applying before the holidays, as doing so can boost your chances of being accepted.
The application process for law school includes creating a personal statement, resume, taking the LSAT, collecting transcripts from previous institutions to upload to the Law School Admission Council’s Credential Assembly Service, and gathering letters of recommendation.
A monthly plan can help you stay on top of things, meet your deadlines, and avoid having to rush through your work at the last minute.
Is Law School Worth it?
A career in law may be worthwhile if you feel you have no other interests or skills that would be as satisfying as doing so. However, there are many factors beyond just the perceived value of a legal education that contribute to this: How much does a J.D. cost, and how well does it prepare you for your professional life?
You should weigh the cost of attending law school against the expected salary you will earn after graduation.
The admissions processes at the world’s top law schools are extremely competitive, so prospective students should prepare to put in a great deal of time and effort.
Here, you can study worry-free while gaining valuable experience. While tuition at a prestigious law school can be quite high, many financial aid opportunities are available for those who demonstrate financial need.
Now that we’ve covered the top law schools around the globe, which institution do you most aspire to attend? Post your thoughts in the thread below.