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Top 20 Law Schools in the United States
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Business Insider has ranked the top 50 law schools in the United States.

Summary: Business Insider released a list of 50 of the country’s top law schools, observing employment rates and acceptance rates. The top 20 schools are listed below.

Business Insider has released its list of the top 50 law schools in the country. To create this list, Business Insider consulted over 300 industry professionals, and used Survey Monkey to organize the data. Business Insider also examined acceptance rates and post-graduation employment rates for the schools.


The top spot went to Yale Law School, with Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford trailing close behind.

1. Yale University

The school boasts a 93% employment rate for nine months past graduation, and 9.4% of applicants are accepted to the university. Famous alums include Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, and Hillary Clinton. The school is unique in that there are no letter grades, no rankings, and prides itself that a “spirit of collaboration reigns.” In fact, when Business Insider attempted to pen a feature on Yale’s most impressive students, the article was boycotted, because it went “against the community spirit of Yale Law School.”

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2. Harvard University

Harvard’s graduates enjoy a 97% employment rate nine months out of graduation. Roughly 16% of applicants are accepted for admission. Seven United States presidents attended Harvard, including President Barack Obama, President John F. Kennedy, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Over 80 percent of graduates work in law firms that employ over 500 people, and most of the remainder works for the federal government.

Here’s a list of law schools with the best professors.

3. Columbia University

Columbia University has a 21% acceptance rate, and a 98% employment rate. Columbia has the highest post-graduation employment rate of all of the law schools on Business Insider’s list. The median salary for the class of 2013 is $160,000. In addition, roughly 67% of graduates were working in New York state.

4. Stanford University

Stanford has an impressive 97% employment rate, and 10% of applicants are accepted. The school has a Law, Science, and Technology program that allows students access to distinguished faculty and experts who work in tech companies in Silicon Valley.

5. Duke University

Duke accepts 19% of applicants to its law school, and 91% of graduates are employed nine months after graduating. The school has an International Human Rights Clinic, and Richard Nixon and Charlie Rose are famous graduates.

6. University of California—Berkeley

Around 18% of students who apply are admitted here, and 93% are employed nine months after graduation. The school was a leader in creating classes related to intellectual property and technology law. Famous alums include Theodore Olson, whose clients were the plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which lifted the same-sex marriage ban in California.

7. Georgetown University

Georgetown University has a 92% employment rate, and a 31% acceptance rate. The Georgetown Law Center is a significant part of the federal government, and students are able to contribute to 10 different law journals, as well as 15 legal clinics.

8. Cornell University

Cornell accepts 30% of its applicants, and 92% of graduates have jobs nine months after graduation. It has one of the strongest international law programs in the United States, even offering a five-week comparative and international law summer program at the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne in Paris.

9. University of Chicago

The University of Chicago accepts 20% of applicants, and 98% have jobs nine months out from graduation. The school actually follows a quarter schedule, which offers three shorter terms and then a summer break. U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is a notable alumnus.

10. New York University

This law school accepts 31% of its applicants, and has a 97% employment rate. The school is ranked first in the country for tax law by U.S. News and World Report. It is ranked second for its clinical training.

11. University of Virginia

The University of Virginia has a 97% employment rate, and an 18% acceptance rate. The school was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, and has a strict honor code—students must hold each other accountable for honesty in their coursework. Students are also able to specialize in areas such as animal law, national security law, and environmental law.

Here’s a recent article about the Rolling Stone scandal at the University of Virginia.

12. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania reports a 97% employment rate, and accepts 17% of applicants. The school offers an interdisciplinary education to law students, which allows them to simultaneously earn an MBA, master’s in city and regional planning, or a master’s in bioethics along with a J.D. after three years of study.

13. University of Michigan—Ann Arbor

Graduates of the University of Michigan reported an 86% employment rate, and 27% of the school’s applicants are accepted. The school has a Summer Start program, which integrates new students into the school the summer before their first year, and offers them flexibility on their class schedules.

14. Northwestern University

This law school accepts 26% of its applicants, and reports a 92% graduation rate. Northwestern was the first law school to offer an accelerated J.D. program that allows students to earn their law degrees in just two years.

15. Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt accepts 34% of its applicants, and 93% of graduates are employed nine months after graduation. First-year students follow a regimented core curriculum, and then take electives their second and third years. Al Gore is a famous alum.

16. University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame has an employment rate of 83%, and accepts 28% of students who apply. The law school has a strong legal aid clinic, and several law journals. In fact, the Journal of College and University Law is the only law journal in the United States that is dedicated to higher-education concerns.

17. Boston College

Boston College has an employment rate of 78%, and 35% of applicants are accepted to the law school program. Boston College is just a few miles from downtown Boston, and has several specialty legal clinics, including the Women and the Law Clinic and the Land and Environmental Program.

18. College of William & Mary (Marshall-Wythe)

The Marshall-Wythe School of Law has a 89% employment rate, and accepts 30% of applicants. It was the first law school in the country, and graduates land more government jobs than alumni from any other law school.

Here are the best law schools for career prospects.

19. University of Texas—Austin

The school accepts 30% of its applicants, and 88% are employed nine months after graduation. This law school has eight societies for first-year law students that allow them to get to know each other and get involved in the school.

20. Emory University

Emory accepts 32% of its applicants, and 95% of graduates are employed nine months after graduation. Emory has a great relationship with the Carter Center, where students gain experience in clinics that promote world peace. The student-run Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal is one of a kind in the United States.

Does this list influence your decision when applying to law schools?

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