The 25 best private law schools in America

caption
Harvard Law School is the No. 3 private law school in the country.
source
Courtesy of Harvard Law School

Business Insider recently released its ranking of the 50 best law schools in America, which highlights the top institutions that prepare students to land highly coveted jobs in the legal world.

Our methodology draws data from the American Bar Association and focuses on the percentage of graduates who land full-time, long-term, highly coveted jobs, which includes positions at big law firms that pay well – those with over 251 employees – and federal clerkships. Read more about our methodology here.

Private law schools, which hold significant clout in the legal profession, comprised half of our list – including nine of the top 10 spots. Here, we highlight the top 25 private law schools from our list.

Additional reporting by Kaitlyn Yarborough and Alexa Pipia.


25. Seton Hall University

source
Wikipedia

Location: Newark, New Jersey

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 7%

Bar passage rate: 83%

Median LSAT score: 157

The only private law school in New Jersey, Seton Hall offers instruction in the areas of health, intellectual property, public interest and public policy, and social justice. About 80% of graduates secured full-time, long-term jobs requiring bar-exam passage.


24. Fordham University

source
Fordham School of Law Office of Admissions/Facebook

Location: New York, New York

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 31%

Bar passage rate: 86%

Median LSAT score: 163

Following its motto of “in the service of others,” Fordham University’s School of Lawplaces an emphasis on pro bono work, and the class of 2015 racked up nearly 130,000 hours of public-interest work during their time in school. This hands-on experience pays off: 67% of graduates secured full-time, long-term jobs where they put their law degree to use.


23. Wake Forest University

source
Wake Forest University School of Law/Facebook

Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 10%

Bar passage rate: 82%

Median LSAT score: 161

The law school at Wake Forest University offers students legal instruction in business, criminal justice, and health and policy. A solid 66% of graduates from the class of 2015 secured full-time, long-term jobs requiring bar passage.


22. University of Notre Dame

source
Notre Dame Law School/Facebook

Location: South Bend, Indiana

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 33%

Bar passage rate: 84%

Median LSAT score: 164

The University of Notre Dame law school encourages students to extend their education outside of the US and offers several opportunities to study abroad, including stays at Notre Dame’s programs in London, Chile, or Italy. Grads join the ranks of successful alumni, such as Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano.


21. George Washington University

source
The George Washington University Law School/Facebook

Location:Washington, D.C.

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions:32%

Bar passage rate:86%

Median LSAT score:165

Theoldest law schoolin the nation’s capital, GW Law has the fourth-highest number of graduates – 465 – on our list. Students can choose from over275 elective coursesand 20 differentspecialized areas of study. The school’s intellectual-property law programis among the best in the country.


20. Southern Methodist University

source
SMU Dedman School of Law/Facebook

Location: Dallas, Texas

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 20%

Bar passage rate: 84%

Median LSAT score: 161

SMU’s Dedman School of Law offers comprehensive full- and part-time law-degree programs. Eighty-five percent of graduates take jobs in Texas after graduation.


19. Washington and Lee University

source
Washington and Lee School of Law/Facebook

Location: Lexington, Virginia

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 17%

Bar passage rate: 91%

Median LSAT score: 160

The only graduate school of Washington and Lee, the law school offers intimate instruction and several options for experiential learning, includinga residential programin Washington, D.C. Seventy-five percent of graduates land full-time, long-term jobs requiring bar-exam passage.


18. Georgetown University

source
Georgetown Law/Facebook

Location: Washington, D.C.

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 41%

Bar passage rate: 88%

Median LSAT score: 167

Georgetown Lawprepares students well: 88% of graduates pass the bar on the first try. These newly minted lawyers join the ranks of notable Georgetown alumni, including the “Today” show anchor Savannah Guthrie, former FCC Chairman Michael Powell, and former US President Lyndon B. Johnson, although he never graduated.


17. Baylor University

source
Wikimedia Commons

Location:Waco, Texas

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions:11%

Bar passage rate:91%

Median LSAT score:160

Baylor Law School prides itself on being one of the smallest law schools in the nation: It has the least number of graduates – 108 – on our list. Students can pick fromareas of concentrationthat include business litigation, healthcare law, and estate planning. It’s also the fourth-best school for trial advocacy, according toUS News & World Report.


16. University of Southern California

source
USC Gould School of Law/Facebook

Location: Los Angeles, California

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 34%

Bar passage rate: 87%

Median LSAT score: 166

The USC Gould School of Lawfeatures tailored programs, such as its Media, Entertainment, and Technology certificate program, that cater to its Los Angeles-based campus and students. Seventy-three percent of graduates land full-time jobs that require passing the bar.


15. Boston College

source
Boston College Law/Twitter

Location: Newton, Massachusetts

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 34%

Bar passage rate: 91%

Median LSAT score: 162

The private law school has a dynamic environmental-law program that offers a dual-degree with Tufts University to earn an MA in urban planning and environment. In 2015, 77% of Boston College Law graduates secured jobs requiring bar passage.


14. Boston University

source
Wikipedia

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 27%

Bar passage rate: 93%

Median LSAT score: 163

Boston Universityboasts one of the highest percentages of women on the list, with female students making up 55% of the class of 2015. BU Law features diversity in its classes as well, offering more than 200 courses that cover almost every type of law, from construction and patents to food, drugs, and cosmetics.


13. Northwestern University

source
Northwestern Law/Facebook

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 67%

Bar passage rate: 87%

Median LSAT score: 168

Out of 4,095 applications, thePritzker School of Lawenrolled just 213 students – 5.2% – for the 2015-16 academic year. The private institution was founded in 1859 and is renowned for its competitive admissions, with70% of entering studentspossessing at least two years of full-time work experience.


12. Emory University

source
Emory University School of Law/Facebook

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 26%

Bar passage rate: 89%

Median LSAT score: 165

Seventy-five percent of Emory Law‘s more than 300 graduates secured long-term, full-time jobs requiring bar passage. The private school, known for its public-service law program, costs $51,510 per year.


11. Washington University in St. Louis

source
WashULaw/Twitter

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 32%

Bar passage rate: 86%

Median LSAT score: 167

Post-graduation, a full 100% ofWash U Lawgraduates who were seeking a job secured one last year, with 76% of those positions requiring a law degree. This can be chalked up in part to Wash U’s myriad of opportunities for students to gain real-world experience, including a selection of nine externship opportunities, 18 clinical courses, and six trial teams and moot courts where students can put their skills to the test.


10. Vanderbilt University

source
Vanderbilt University Law School/Facebook

Location:Nashville, Tennessee

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions:39%

Bar passage rate:93%

Median LSAT score:166

Vanderbilt Law Schoolopened in 1847 as one of the university’s first two departments. It offers nine different programs – including social justice, international, and intellectual property – to JD candidates to focus on a specialized area of law once they complete the first-year core curriculum.


9. Yale University

source
Yale Law School/Facebook

Location: New Haven, Connecticut

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 66%

Bar passage rate: 92%

Median LSAT score: 173

Students admitted to Yale Law were among the best-performers on the LSAT, with a median score of 173 – tied for the top spot with Harvard. Thirty-four percent of graduates of the Ivy League school landed federal clerkships, the most of any school on our list. Its 81% of graduates who landed full-time, long-term jobs requiring bar passage was the lowest in the top 10.


8. Cornell University

source
Cornell Law School

Location: Ithaca, New York

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 62%

Bar passage rate: 92%

Median LSAT score: 167

Annual tuition for Cornell Law School is just shy of $60,000, among the highest on our list. But it pays off: 90% of graduates secured full-time, long-term jobs that required passing the bar. The school is recognized for its opportunities for pro bono work through programs like the Cornell Law School Public Service Challenge. Last year, students completed 1,165 hours of pro bono work.


7. Columbia University

source
Columbia Law School/Facebook

Location: New York, New York

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 77%

Bar passage rate: 92%

Median LSAT score: 171

Columbia Law School may be the most expensive school on our list – annual tuition runs $62,700 – but the price tag goes a long way toward securing a great job: 77% of graduates secure full-time, highly coveted jobs at big law firms or in federal clerkships. The school also welcomes diversity: 47% of students are women and 33% are minorities.


6. Duke University

source
Duke Law School/Facebook

Location:Durham, North Carolina

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions:68%

Bar passage rate:94%

Median LSAT score:169

Duke Law‘scurriculumfocuses on areas of law where the demand for jobs will increase in the near future, such as international, environmental, and public law. The alma mater ofRichard Nixon and Charlie Rose has the fifth-highest percentage on our list of graduates securing highly coveted jobs. It also has the highest percentage on our list of graduates securing full-time jobs at law firms with 251 to 500 employees.


5. New York University

source
NYU School of Law/Facebook

Location: New York, New York

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 65%

Bar passage rate: 96%

Median LSAT score: 169

Located in New York City’s Greenwich Village, the NYU School of Lawwas founded in 1835 and has gained a stellar reputation for its curriculum, especially its international and tax law programs. The school has 10 student-run publications, and 87% of graduates secured full-time jobs requiring bar passage.


4. Stanford University

source
Stanford Law/Facebook

Location: Stanford, California

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 73%

Bar passage rate: 90%

Median LSAT score: 171

Students of Stanford Law are paying an estimated $31,005 per year to live in California’s pricey Bay Area, on top of a $56,274 annual-tuition price tag. But the return on investment is worth it: 73% of graduates at the West Coast’s top law school secure highly coveted jobs, with 26% of graduates landing federal clerkships.


3. Harvard University

source
Harvard Law School/Facebook

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 68%

Bar passage rate: 95%

Median LSAT score: 173

With 68% of students accepting highly coveted jobs right out of school, a law degree fromHarvardproves well worth the investment. But it’s not easy to come by: The median LSAT score of accepted students is 173, tied with Yale as the highest on our list. Harvard Law also boasts several prominent alumni, including US President Barack Obama, former US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.


2. University of Chicago

source
Wikimedia Commons

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 80%

Bar passage rate: 92%

Median LSAT score: 170

Graduates of the law school cofounded by John D. Rockefeller are destined for success. The University of Chicago’s law school boasts the highest percentage of graduates securing highly coveted jobs – 80% – of any school on our list. And more than half of employed grads – 54% – find jobs at law firms with over 500 employees.


1. University of Pennsylvania

source
Penn Law/Facebook

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 75%

Bar passage rate: 98%

Median LSAT score: 169

Graduates of theUniversity of Pennsylvania’s law school, the No. 1 school for 2016, have no trouble landing top jobs: 75% of grads secure federal clerkships or positions at big law firms, and a full 90% end up in full-time jobs that require passing the bar. These graduates follow in the footsteps of several notable Penn Law alumni, including Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz and former US Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts.