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Best Law Schools in California
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Home to some of the best law schools in the nation, California has twenty American Bar Association accredited law schools, and most of them top the state rankings based on criteria like bar passage rates, selectivity, course offerings, and job placement.

Since the California bar has an exceptionally low passage rate (well below 50%), going to a top law school is an essential factor for professional legal success. 

Here’s a look at the top 10 law schools in California:

10. UC Hastings College of the Law 

Admissions Statistics (2019 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate42.56%
Median LSAT Score158
Median Undergraduate GPA3.45

Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure

  
What
Where


The U.C. Hastings College of the Law is located in San Francisco, neighboring the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the California Supreme Court, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and City Hall. 

Hastings College of the Law is home to nine centers and programs, including the Center for Innovation, East Asian Legal Studies Program, and Center for Gender and Refugee Studies. The school is also the alma mater of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris.

Students at UC Hastings can choose from one of ten concentrations, including international law, criminal law, business law, and social justice. The school’s 15 clinics offer extensive hands-on experience.

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9. University of San Diego School of Law

Admissions Statistics (2019 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate40.59%
Median LSAT Score159
Median Undergraduate GPA3.57

Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure

Located on the main campus of the University of San Diego, The USD School of Law is well known for fields including intellectual property, constitutional law, public interest law, business and corporate law, and taxation. 

About 240 enrolled students can gain hands-on experience in their first year through the Experiential Advocacy Practicum, a class that simulates tasks like negotiation, drafting legal documents, and client interviews. 

Law students also have the chance to work with legal scholars at the school’s ten centers and institutes, including the Children’s Advocacy Institute, the Institute for Law and Religion, and the Center for Health Law Policy and Bioethics. USD takes pride in the extensive clinical education program through Appellate Clinic, Veterans Clinic, Energy Law and Policy Clinic, and the Education and Disability Clinic.

8. Pepperdine University School of Law

Admissions Statistics (2019 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate29.81%
Median LSAT Score161
Median Undergraduate GPA3.66

Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure

The Malibu-based law school is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, and Christian principles are present in both the school’s administrative policy and academic life. 

Pepperdine University School of Law takes pride in the personal attention it offers its students, as evidenced by a 7 to 1 student/faculty ratio. 

Students can also work with mentors to study legal analysis and ethics at the Parris Institute for Professional Formation-another remarkable feature of the school.

The school’s many clinics include the Legal Aid Clinic, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, and Faith and Family Mediation Clinic.

7. Loyola Law School

Admissions Statistics (2019 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate32.98% 
Median LSAT Score160
Median Undergraduate GPA3.57

Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure

Located in downtown Los Angeles, Loyola Law School wins high marks for its strong evening program and the high number of J.D.s awarded to minority students. Each year, the school enrolls 1,000 students who can choose from 325 elective courses.

Students choose a concentration in a specific field such as intellectual property law, entrepreneurship, public interest law, or immigrant advocacy.  

The combination of hands-on experience with a specialized area of study helps Loyola J.D.s make a strong impression on the legal job market.

6. UC Davis School of Law

Admissions Statistics (2019 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate31.03%
Median LSAT Score162
Median Undergraduate GPA3.61

Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure

The smallest of the five law schools in the UC system, the University of California Davis School of Law, has around 200 students in each class, which makes for a more personal law school experience than many schools on this list.

UC Davis School of Law students have the opportunity to solve real legal problems and represent real clients through the Family Protection and Advocacy Clinic, California Supreme Court Clinic, Civil Rights Clinic, Immigration Law Clinic, and Prison Law Office. 

The law school takes pride in its robust externship program so that students can gain real-world experience working in places such as the California Legislature, both state and federal Judicial Chambers and District Attorney Office.

5. UC Irvine School of Law

Admissions Statistics (2019 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate20.81% 
Median LSAT Score165
Median Undergraduate GPA3.59

Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure

Founded in 2008, the UC Irvine School of Law, made a name for itself as a progressive institution that promotes its identity as a visionary place for change. The school recently ranked among the top 25 in the nation, and its specialties in legal writing, tax law,  and intellectual property law also earn high marks.

First-year students at UCI Law students gain hands-on experience right from the start by participating in a Lawyering Skills course in which students interview real clients. After the first year, students can choose from ten core clinics focused on issues such as immigrant rights, community development, domestic violence, and criminal justice. 

4. UCLA School of Law

Admissions Statistics (2019 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate22.41%
Median LSAT Score168
Median Undergraduate GPA3.79

Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure

Ranked first in the country for entertainment law UCLA School of Law is also home to the only program in the United States, focused entirely on issues of race and justice- the Critical Race Studies program.

The UCLA Law alumni network includes 17,000 people across the country and the world, and each new class enrolls just over 300 students. Students have plenty of opportunities for experiential learning, and clinics focused on the Supreme Court and the First Amendment.

3. USC Gould School of Law

Admissions Statistics (2019 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate19.24% 
Median LSAT Score166
Median Undergraduate GPA3.78

Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure

The University of Southern California Gould School of Law continuously ranks among the best 20 law schools in the nation.  Located south of downtown Los Angeles, the school was founded over a century ago, and its long history means that graduates are part of a major alumni network of more than 11,000 people worldwide.

Thanks to Gould’s international partnerships, students interested in studying law abroad can attend law schools in Australia, Hong Kong, France, Italy, and Brazil. Students interested in gaining in-depth knowledge in a secondary field can choose from the 15 dual degree programs that combine law with fields such as public policy, business administration, gerontology, and international relations.

The Law school also takes pride in its year-long clinics that offer a more comprehensive experience than the semester-long clinics at most law schools.

2. UC Berkeley School of Law

Admissions Statistics (2019 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate19.68%
Median LSAT Score168
Median Undergraduate GPA3.81

Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure

Frequently ranked among the best 10 law schools in the nation, Berkeley Law is a significant research center where students can choose from six areas of study: Criminal Justice,  Law and Technology, Business and Start-Ups, Social Justice and Public Interest, Environmental Law, Constitutional and Regulatory Law or Law and Economics.

Experiential learning is a hallmark of Berkeley Law’s approach to legal education 

Like most of the top-ranked law programs, Berkeley Law takes pride in its real-world focus by offering various opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience. Students at Berkeley Law have the chance to work hands-on with real clients as early as their first year.

With incredibly high admissions standards, Berkeley Law enrolls a little over 300 new students each year.

1. Stanford Law School

Admissions Statistics (2019 Entering Class)
Acceptance Rate9.72%
Median LSAT Score171
Median Undergraduate GPA3.91

Source: American Bar Association Standard 509 Disclosure

Located in Palo Alto, California, Stanford Law is consistently ranked among the best law schools in the country and takes pride in its collegial environment with supportive faculty,team-driven clinics, and small classes.

Stanford Law School encourages innovation and interdisciplinary learning, and the U.S. News & World Report noted the law school’s specialties in intellectual property law, tax law, and clinical training.

Due to Stanford’s emphasis on interdisciplinary education and numerous joint degree opportunities, students are also welcome to create their specialties.

The law school also emphasizes experiential learning, and law students can find various options for simulation courses and law clinics. 




 

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