Best Law schools in America?

What are the best public and private law schools in America?

Check out the annual US News & World Report list of the highest-ranked schools based on certain criteria, and also the University of Texas list.

I don’t remember when they come out, but they come out every year.

Thereya go:

I just graduated from the Ave Maria School of Law last May. We’re a new school, so we’re not yet ranked in US News (next year will probably be our first). I can tell you that we had a 90% bar passage rate overall, 93% in its Jurisdiction (Michigan), and one idiot who passed two bar exams (ummmm…that was me). I’m guessing about a dozen of my classmates are serving as judicial clerks (which, if you don’t know, is the job to get after graduation), and 3 of us are going to some form of JAG Corps.

From looking at the list I would say the best are:


Boalt Hall

Anybody agree?


Yale, Chicago and Michigan.

I always heard it was Yale, Harvard, and Michigan.

What happened? Did Harvard hit the skids?

From what I hear - these days Harvard is less prestigious than Yale etc because Harvard takes more students and thus is not as difficult to get into. Although this may be just in relation to the LL.M course.

I’m amused.

When I was in school, we were ranked rather well. But there were a few quirky things about the school that made it different than the “absolutely traditional law school.” And there was a small, yet very vocal minority who kept whining and screaming that if we changed, if we became just like everyone else (if we ripped out the guts of some of the things that made the school pretty cool) the school would go up in rankings and everything would be wonderful!
Eventually, they won the fight. And changes were made.
And, according to the link, the school has dropped 20-something positions in the ranks…

I’m very amused.

UC Berkeley.

I was surprised to see that the University of Kentucky is in the first tier. Growing up I heard way more about their med school than their law school.

And I’m only two hours away from there. Hmmm …

Being a Chicago native, and the fact that Chicago has the most Nobel Laureates, I choose Chicago :slight_smile:

  • nose in the air *

University of Kentucky law grad checking in. My alma mater has bounced between the first and second tier for the last five years or so. When I started there in the fall of '99 we were #50, the last school in the top tier. My second year we dropped to the second tier, and my third year I believe we were in a three way tie for 48th.

All in all I think I received an excellent education there, but of course I’m incredibly biased. :slight_smile: The faculty is undoubtedly much better than the ranking reflects. If I’m not mistaken, five UK law professors have won “Great Teacher” awards in the past thirty years or so. This is basically “teacher of the year” at UK and spreads across all the colleges at the University. A great number of professors had incredibly strong backgrounds, although I know that’s the case at most good schools. My civil procedure professor, for example, drafted the Kentucky Penal Code, strangely enough. My constitutional law professor clerked for Justice Souter. My civil rights professor finished first in his class at Harvard Law School, one spot ahead of the Mr. Emmanuel of Emmanuel Law Outlines, or so he told us. SnoopyFan, you really ought to check out the school. I believe that only crappy facilities keep UK Law from being ranked much higher. The law building was built in the 1960s and looks like a chemistry building or something. Thankfully, a new building is on the way, due for completion in 2008 (yeah, I know, a lot can change between now and then).

I thought the top tier was the top 15 schools, is it more than that?

Yale, Harvard, Stanford.

Disclaimer: I’m a Harvard Law grad.

Have you ever read One-L by Turrow (sp?) Was Harvard like the book? I have always heard that the book is so much worse than how it really is, but the book never really made Harvard seem that bad to me.

Top 50…although there are sometimes three, four, or more way ties for some spots.

What are people’s thoughts on Yale Law? I just got in, much to my surprise, and everything I’m hearing about it (save for New Haven itself) make it sound like THE perfect place for me…

IANAL, but I have encountered a number of graduates of good law schools who discovered that the actual practice of law was so different from what they expected that they kissed it off and went into entirely unrelated fields. Seems like an expensive lesson. Are some schools better than others at preparing students for the nuts and bolts of practice? (I’m assuming that to meet ABA and state standards they must all cover the theory and philosophy of the law in pretty similar ways.)