Earning a law degree and passing the bar exam are prerequisites for practicing law in the United States. While that may seem far away, choosing a college and major during your undergraduate years is the first step toward achieving your goal of becoming a lawyer.
If you hope to practice law someday, there are many foundational questions you must answer early in your academic career. It’s a weighty decision because attending the right college can increase your acceptance odds into your preferred law school, which in turn can increase your chances of landing the dream job you’ve been eyeing for years.
We’ve made it easier on you by creating a ranking of the top schools for pre-law studies.
Best pre law schools in the us
It is widely agreed that Yale Law School is one of the best in the United States. The school had a yield rate of 87% for the Class of 2024, admitting only 214 students out of 5,296 who applied. Students with a median GPA of 3.94 and an average LSAT score of 174 were accepted to Yale Law School. A pre-law advisor is available at Yale’s Office of Career Strategy to assist students in their pursuit of admission to law school. The Yale Undergraduate Legal Aid Association, Yale Mock Trial Association, and the Yale Undergraduate Moot Court are just a few of the many law-related extracurricular groups that call Yale home when classes are out of session.
University of Chicago
There are many resources available to students at the University of Chicago who are considering a legal profession. The Careers in Law program provides individualized counseling, workshops, featured panel discussions, and an internship database to undergraduates interested in pursuing careers in the legal field.
Students entering their second, third, or fourth year at the university who are considering pursuing a graduate degree in law can participate in a one-year program called Law & Politics. Students who choose this concentration will have access to specialized counseling, mentoring from working professionals in the field, and elective courses.
The Rising Attorneys Program at the University of Chicago provides financial aid to promising law students from low-income families or groups that are underrepresented in the legal profession.
As an added bonus, the Chicago Law Scholars Program allows University of Chicago alumni and current undergraduate seniors to apply for early decision to the University of Chicago Law School.
University of Pennsylvania | UPenn
UPenn is widely regarded as one of the best pre-law schools in the country because of its extensive resources and excellent track record of placing students in top law schools. All the resources a prospective law student might need are available to them at UPenn, including pre-law advisors, student organizations like the John Marshall Pre-Law Honor Society, and a pre-law newsletter that is sent out once or twice a week. In the 2020-21 academic year, UPenn sent more than ten graduates to top-tier law schools like Harvard, Yale, and New York University.
Because there is no such thing as a pre-law degree, the University guides students through a specialized process that helps them develop the technical and interpersonal skills necessary for success in law school. Skills in research, mediation, and negotiations are just a few examples.
Bench and Bar, an undergraduate pre-law organization at Duke, offers students the chance to be mentored by a graduate of the school’s illustrious School of Law. This one-of-a-kind program provides students with personalized mentoring as they navigate the challenging pre-law process.
In addition, numerous events are held by the office of active pre-law advising all through the academic year. Workshops on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and informational sessions on the application process are included in these programs. To invite speakers to address their pre-law students, they network with law school admission officers, practicing lawyers, and LSAT prep companies.
Students at Brown University have access to the comprehensive curriculum necessary to develop the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for success in legal studies. The university provides individualized counseling for those interested in applying to law school, pursuing a legal education, and pursuing a legal career. The Brown Pre-Law Society and the Brown University Black Pre-Law Association are just two of the many law and advocacy-focused student organizations at Brown. Over the past decade, Brown students have consistently outperformed their peers on the LSAT and the national law school admission rate.
Georgetown University (Washington, DC)
The center of the American judicial system is in Washington, DC, where Georgetown University is also located. Students will have the rare opportunity to breathe and see the ever-changing world of politics, as the White House, District of Columbia Courts, and the Library of Congress are all within walking distance.
Undergraduates at GU can find pre-law resources like advising, LSAT prep courses, and workshops at the Cawley Career Education Center.
Students will be well-prepared for the rigors of law school by their undergraduate experience at Georgetown, which has an acceptance rate of just 12%.
Bachelor’s degrees in International Politics, Global Business, and International Economics are available at GU for those interested in learning more about international law and foreign policy.
University of California, Los Angeles
Students interested in a career in the entertainment industry who are studying law at UC Los Angeles are in the right place. Lawyers specializing in media and entertainment are in high demand in the Hollywood area due to the prevalence of high-profile cases involving celebrities, the negotiation of film rights, and the use of sporting venues.
The Law JumpStart program at UCLA brings together experts from various fields of law to share their knowledge with students. Workshops on topics like law school research and personal statement writing are offered through the program to help students get ready for the competitive application process.
Pre-law advisors recommend that students take law and politics, international law, principles of critical thinking, and logic before enrolling in law school.
University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
Students at the University of Michigan have the opportunity to put their legal training to use through organizations like Wolverine Street Law.
Student groups, career centers, and advising workshops are just a few of the University’s offerings that can help prospective law students determine if a legal education is right for them.
Through the University Career Alumni Network, undergraduates can observe licensed attorneys in action, and the University of Miami’s opportunity hub can connect them with internship opportunities. Student groups at this school are extremely dynamic.
Any prospective law school student would do well to apply to highly competitive universities like Harvard. Freshmen at Harvard also benefit from the university’s residential program, which places them in “houses” at the end of their first year. Pre-law advisors are assigned to each dorm, and they are usually current law students who can provide first-hand insight and advice on how to apply to law school. General career guidance, such as writing a resume, summarizing extracurricular activities, and searching for internships and fellowships, may be provided by Harvard’s Office of Career Services.
Columbia University is home to one of the best pre law schools in the United States, making it an ideal location for aspiring lawyers to mingle with other bright minds in the field. Undergraduates at Columbia University can join the Pre-Law Society to network with practicing attorneys, professors, and other law students, and to get answers to their questions about the legal profession and law school admissions.
Degree programs in economics, government, history, and philosophy are all available at Dartmouth and are highly recommended for those interested in attending law school. Dartmouth’s pre-law coordinator works closely with each student, advising them on when and where to apply to law school, what to study for the LSAT, how to craft an effective personal statement, and how to navigate the application process. Dartmouth offers many opportunities for students to gain real-world legal experience, including clerkships, internships, and volunteer work.
Brown University’s comprehensive curriculum gives students the foundational skills they need to succeed in law school. Individual counseling sessions and a variety of workshops and lectures on the legal education application process and the profession of law are offered by the institution. The Brown Pre-Law Society and the Brown University Black Pre-Law Association are just two of the many law and advocacy-focused student groups at Brown. Over the past decade, acceptance rates to law schools at Brown have consistently outpaced the national average and Brown students have consistently outperformed their peers on the LSAT.
The best liberal arts education is the best preparation for law school, according to Northwestern University, which is known for sending its undergraduates to the best law schools in the country. Undergraduates at Northwestern can connect their academic and professional interests in the legal professions through a Chicago Field Studies law internship, which is offered by Northwestern Career Advancement. Furthermore, students at Northwestern can pursue a major in legal studies, an interdisciplinary field that looks at the study of law from different perspectives (including cultural, historical, and empirical).
The academic rigor at Swarthmore will equip you with the tools you’ll need to succeed in law school, including the capacity to read, analyze, critique, write, and persuade. There is an office specifically for pre-law students, and they provide individual pre-law advising. Ninety-four percent of Swarthmore students who applied to law school over the past five years were accepted (the national average over that time period is only seventy-seven percent), and Swarthmore alumni can be found at some of the most prestigious law schools in the United States, including Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, and Yale.
What is Pre-law school?
In the United States, a student preparing for law school may take any undergraduate course and call it “pre-law.” According to the American Bar Association, prospective law students must hold a U.S.-recognized bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent in order to be considered for admission to law school.
Why are Pre-law courses taken?
The pre-law major helps to broaden students’ horizons by requiring them to take the same core classes that all students must take. The study of law is then introduced, with the first courses geared toward helping students hone their critical thinking and oral presentation abilities.
What Undergraduate School Is Best for Law?
There is no “best” university for pre-law studies. Applying to law school requires letters of recommendation from at least one faculty member, so it’s best to enroll in an undergraduate program at the same school.
A letter of recommendation from a current faculty member or an alumnus of the institution you are applying to will set your application apart. However, this is not required for admission to law school.
Which Ivy Is Best for Pre-Law?
As far as pre-law programs go, Harvard University is often cited as the best among the Ivies. Undergraduates can choose from a variety of tracks and programs, including joint JD programs and networking events with Harvard alumni.
Therefore, when applying to law schools, it is most important to have a high grade point average, be involved in extracurricular activities, get a high LSAT score, and show that you are dedicated to your studies and future career.
It is essential to choose a prestigious school that can help you build a resume and application that stands out from the crowd. However, if you choose Yale over Harvard and perform well academically and show a commitment to your career, you won’t be setting yourself back.
The best Ivy League school for pre-law is the one you end up loving and succeeding at, so don’t worry too much about getting it wrong.
Choosing the right pre-law program is crucial because it will set the tone for the rest of your academic and professional life.
It’s not easy to decide, but ultimately, there’s no wrong answer. This compilation of some of the finest pre-law institutions should prove useful to you as you deliberate.