The 25 best public law schools in America

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The University of Georgia
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University of Georgia/Facebook

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.

While private law schools often get overarching recognition for superior academics, many competitive public law schools boast similar track records in placing students in highly coveted jobs.

These law schools deliver a first-rate legal education, often at a more affordable cost. The annual tuition for public schools on our list is $11,357 less on average than private schools – $43, 041 compared with $54,398.

Here, we highlight the top 25 public law schoolsfrom our ranking.

Additional reporting by Alexa Pipia.


25. Louisiana State University

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LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center/Facebook

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 6%

Bar passage rate: 84%

Median LSAT score: 155

In addition to a traditional law degree in common law,Louisiana State University’s Paul M. Herbert Law Centeralso gives students the option to earn an additional degree in civil law, which the school describes as a “blend of Roman, Spanish, and French legal traditions.” After graduation, 70% of LSU law students secure full-time, long-term jobs that require passing the bar.


24. University of Kansas

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University of Kansas School of Law/Facebook

Location: Lawrence, Kansas

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 10%

Bar passage rate: 86%

Median LSAT score: 156

Law students at the University of Kansas can complete dual-degree programs in several areas, including business, journalism, and communications. Tuition for the public school is the third-lowest on our list at $35,328.


23. University of Washington

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University of Washington School of Law/Facebook

Location: Seattle, Washington

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 16%

Bar passage rate: 84%

Median LSAT score: 164

The University of Washington‘s law library is among the largest on the West Coast with more than 650,000 volumes aiding the school’s nationally recognizedLaw Librarianship program. Nearly 70% of graduates of the public school secured jobs that required passing the bar.


22. University of Nebraska

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University of Nebraska College of Law/Facebook

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 6%

Bar passage rate: 90%

Median LSAT score: 156

For students interested in subjects outside of law,Nebraska College of Lawoffers eight joint degree programs where students can earn their master’s in subjects such as journalism, business, and community planning. The school also boasts a high success rate for the bar exam, with 90% of graduates passing on the first try.


21. Florida State University

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Florida State University College of Law/Facebook

Location: Tallahassee, Florida

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 7%

Bar passage rate: 82%

Median LSAT score: 158

Programs in business, environmental, and international law are Florida State University’s specialties. About 70% of graduates of the FSU College of Law secure jobs in the state after earning their degree, and 73% enter jobs requiring bar passage.


20. College of William & Mary

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William & Mary Law School/Facebook

Location: Williamsburg, Virginia

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 24%

Bar passage rate: 88%

Median LSAT score: 163

Founded in 1779,William & Mary Law Schoolstands as the oldest law school in the US – and it’s still going strong. Fifteen percent of the class of 2015 secured jobs at big law firms with over 500 employees, and 88% passed the bar the first time around.


19. University of California at Davis

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UC Davis School of Law/Facebook

Location:Davis, California

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions:14%

Bar passage rate:86%

Median LSAT score:163

King Hall at UC-Davis’ school of law is named for Martin Luther King Jr. asa testamentto the school’s commitment to social justice. Outside of the eight different concentrations students have to choose from, there are over50 student-run organizationsand nine differentexternship programs.


18. Arizona State University

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Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law

Location: Tempe, Arizona

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 7%

Bar passage rate: 89%

Median LSAT score: 161

Named after the first female US Supreme Court Justice,the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Lawoffers over 250 unique law courses for students, with a faculty-to-student ratio of 10-to-1. According to the university, ASU law students performedmore than 152,000 hours of public servicelast year. Around 72% of ASU law graduates land positions in the state after graduating.


17. Georgia State University

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Georgia State University College of Law/Facebook

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 10%

Bar passage rate: 92%

Median LSAT score: 158

The law college at Georgia State has a top-ranking healthcare-law program whose Health Law Partnership Legal Services Clinicworks in collaboration with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Tuition for the public school is affordable at $36,466, and about 80% of graduates take jobs in Georgia after earning their degree.


16. University of Wisconsin

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University of Wisconsin Law School/Facebook

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 11%

Bar passage rate: 100%

Median LSAT score: 161

A full 100% ofUniversity of Wisconsin Law Schoolgraduates pass the bar on their first try – the highest pass rate of any school on the list. The school also stands out for its approach to teaching, using “law in action” as its guiding principle. Students learn not only what laws mean but also how they change, adapt, and evolve over time.


15. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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UNC School of Law/Facebook

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 24%

Bar passage rate: 88%

Median LSAT score: 161

University of North Carolina, the nation’s first state-supported university, maintains its reputation for high in-state attendance at its school of law, with North Carolina residents comprising 61% of law students and paying the more affordable in-state tuition of $23,041. As part of itsPro Bono Program, more than 70% of students participate in projects offering free legal services to North Carolina residents in need.


14. University of Georgia

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University of Georgia/Facebook

Location: Athens, Georgia

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 16%

Bar passage rate: 91%

Median LSAT score: 162

University of Georgia Law has excelled in international-law instruction for decades. Dean Rusk, the US secretary of state during the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson presidential administrations, served as a professor for more than a decade and is the namesake of the school’s international law center. The law school has one of the lowest annual tuition costs on our list at $37,524.


13. University of Florida

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UF Levin College of Law/Facebook

Location: Gainesville, Florida

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 10%

Bar passage rate: 89%

Median LSAT score: 157

Post-graduation, 77% of the 2015 class at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law landed full-time, long-term jobs that require passing the bar. And for UF Law alumni deeper into their careers, there’s a good chance of securing a spot as a judge: More than 250 graduates serve as state appellate and trial judges across the US.


12. University of Arizona

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University of Arizona Law/Facebook

Location: Tucson, Arizona

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 11%

Bar passage rate: 88%

Median LSAT score: 160

Financially speaking, earning a degree from theJames E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizonaproves a wise choice for students. At $29,000 per year for out-of-state students-make that $24,500 for Arizona residents-Arizona is the least expensive school on our list. More than half of Arizona Law students take a job in the state after graduation.


11. University of Colorado at Boulder

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University of Colorado Law/Facebook

Location:Boulder, Colorado

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions:11%

Bar passage rate:82%

Median LSAT score:161

Colorado Law is dedicated to making sure its students get the most out of their academic experience. The school offersseven dual-degreeprograms and a number of experiential learning programs. Students interested in public service can sign theColorado Law Public Service Pledge, in which they commit to 50 hours of law-related volunteer work while at the school.


10. University of Minnesota

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University of Minnesota Law/Facebook

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 19%

Bar passage rate: 85%

Median LSAT score: 164

TheUniversity of Minnesota Law School‘s libraryholds one of the largest collections in the nation, with over 1 million volumes. The curriculum promotes experiential learning and offers 24 diverse clinical programs that more than 50% of students use to gain real-world experience with clients.


9. University of Texas at Austin

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University of Texas Law/Facebook

Location: Austin, Texas

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 39%

Bar passage rate: 88%

Median LSAT score: 167

Texas Law had one of the largest graduating classes on our list, with more than 350 students earning degrees last year. The public school’s renownedtrial-advocacy programwas founded nearly 40 years ago and has won 17 national-advocacy championships in the past 11 years.


8. University of California at Los Angeles

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UCLA School of Law/Facebook

Location: Los Angeles, California

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 41%

Bar passage rate: 82%

Median LSAT score: 166

AtUCLA Law, students are both taught a spirit of community service and immersed in one through the school’s emphasis on mentorship. Students can take advantage of advice from hands-on professors as well as networking opportunities with UCLA’s alumni base. These connections in part help students land jobs, and a respectable 30% of the class of 2015 procured positions at large law firms with over 500 employees upon graduation.


7. University of Iowa

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The University of Iowa College of Law/Facebook

Location: Iowa City, Iowa

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 18%

Bar passage rate: 87%

Median LSAT score: 161

The University of Iowa College of Law is one of the most affordable choices in the top 25 of our list, with an annual tuition for nonresidents of $42,021 and estimated living costs of $16,892 per year. The school’sCitizen Lawyer programencourages students to promote public access to justice and law through pro bono work and community service.


6. University of Kentucky

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University of Kentucky College of Law/Facebook

Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 16%

Bar passage rate: 90%

Median LSAT score: 155

For Kentucky residents, tuition at theUniversity of Kentucky College of Lawcosts only $21,618 per year-that number rises to $40,836 for out-of-state students-comparatively much cheaper than other top 25 schools on the list. And there’s plenty to entice students to attend: The college offers four dual-degree programs, operates two law journals, and sponsors more than 20 student-run organizations.


5. Ohio State University

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Ohio State University Moritz School of Law

Location:Columbus, Ohio

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions:16%

Bar passage rate:93%

Median LSAT score:159

Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law is one of the top public law schools on our list. It offers over175 courses and seminars,and students studying for their JD have the opportunity to choose from over 20 different specialties. Ohio State was also ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the No. 1 school fordispute-resolutiontraining.


4. University of California at Berkeley

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UC Berkeley School of Law/Flickr

Location: Berkeley, California

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 54%

Bar passage rate: 88%

Median LSAT score: 166

Berkeley Law is the only top-20 law school on the West Coast aside from Stanford, and it’s revered for its robust intellectual-property program and pioneering environmental- and energy-law programs. Berkeley Law has the highest percentage of women enrolled-56% of students-on our list.


3. University of Alabama

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University of Alabama School of Law/Facebook

Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 17%

Bar passage rate: 95%

Median LSAT score: 163

The only public law school in the state of Alabama, theUniversity of Alabama School of Lawcounts Habitat for Humanity founder Millard Fuller among its distinguished alumni. An impressive 95% of Bama graduates pass the bar on the first try, and with annual tuition of $37,664, the school is the least expensive in our top 15.


2. University of Michigan

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University of Michigan Law School/Facebook

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 56%

Bar passage rate: 93%

Median LSAT score: 168

Michigan Law possesses a rich historical background. Three US Supreme Court justices have attended the school, and one of its graduates became the first woman with a law degree to be admitted to the state’s bar in 1871. Michigan Law is the second-highest-ranked public school on our list.


1. University of Virginia

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University of Virginia School of Law/Facebook

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

Percent of graduates with highly coveted positions: 68%

Bar passage rate: 94%

Median LSAT score: 168

Founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson himself, theUniversity of Virginia School of Lawis one of the oldest such schools in the nation, and it aims to train lawyers who are committed to the ideals of leadership, integrity, and community service. The top public school on our list, it has one of the best records of sending graduates into federal clerkships in the country, with 16% of the class of 2015 accepting such positions.