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Top 10 Law Schools: GPAs and LSAT Scores

A good LSAT score can be a deciding factor in your law school application. Of the 192 law schools that are fully accredited by the American Bar Association, 10 (well, 12 this year because of a three-way tie for the #10 spot) are chosen annually by U.S. News and World Report as the best in the country.

We’re giving you the numbers you want: the median LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs for recently accepted students at the nation’s best law schools. Keep in mind that your LSAT score is only one of many factors that are considered by each school’s admissions committee. Just because you might meet or exceed the median score for a particular school does not mean you are guaranteed an acceptance letter.

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10. (tie) University of California—Berkeley

Located in Berkeley, CA in the San Francisco Bay area, UC Berkeley School of Law (or BerkeleyLaw) is consistently ranked as one of the top law schools in the country, and is considered to be one of the best public U.S. law schools. With an unconventional grading system that only assigns marks of High Honors, Honors, and Pass, BerkeleyLaw forgoes the traditionally competitive environment of law school in favor of one that challenges the individual student to “compete with themselves,” according to the school. Students are not ranked, either, and no GPAs are calculated.

The recent graduating class had an 86% bar passage rate, and 98% of BerkeleyLaw graduates were employed within ten months of graduation with a median salary of $180,000. Students in the most recent incoming class had a median LSAT score of 168, and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.81.

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10. (tie) Northwestern University (Pritzker)

Established in 1859, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law is located in downtown Chicago, and was the first law school in the city. With about 650 students and 190 faculty members, Pritzker has one of the lowest student-faculty ratios in the country. The school is known for preferring applicants with professional work experience.

About 90% of accepted students have at least one year of full-time experience after graduating from college and 70% have more than two years. For the Class of 2021, the median LSAT score was 169, and the median undergraduate GPA was 3.84. 92% of the most recent graduating class passed the bar.

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10. (tie) Duke University

Duke University School of Law is located in Durham, North Carolina and has an enrollment of about 715 students pursuing a JD degree. Duke Law’s notoriously rigorous curriculum is effective—94.87% of the Class of 2018 passed the bar, which is one of the highest first-time bar passage rates in the country. Providing a solid foundation to prepare students for the practice of law, the school also has flexibility in its curricular plan to cater to students’ individual interests. Not only can Duke Law students tailor their classes in their second and third years to fit their career goals, but they can also design a full course—syllabus and all— or research project for credit.

The Class of 2022 had a median LSAT score of 169 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.78.

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9. University of Michigan—Ann Arbor

Michigan Law was founded in 1859 and has a total enrollment of about 930 students with 90 faculty on staff. Classroom learning is blended with practical experience at Michigan Law as students work with real clients under the supervision of faculty in various legal clinics. All students are guaranteed at least one upper-level clinic, though many end up taking more. The school also offers several study abroad opportunities—partner schools include Amsterdam Law School and Tokyo’s Waseda University Law School.

Michigan Law reported a 93.79% first-time bar passage rate for the Class of 2018. The most recent admitted class had a median LSAT score of 169 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.77.

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8. University of Virginia

The University of Virginia School of Law (UVA Law) is located in Charlottesville, VA. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, it is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the U.S. 92.6% of the Class of 2018 landed a full-time job within ten months of graduating, and the school has graduates in each of The American Lawyer top 100 firms. UVA Law’s 19 clinics offer students real-world experience to supplement their classroom learning.

The Class of 2022 had a median LSAT score of 170 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.90.

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7. University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania Law School, also known as Penn Law, is located in Philadelphia. 

PennLaw is unique in its cross-disciplinary approach, believing that the next generation of lawyers must not only be trained in law, but also in related fields, such as business, health, technology, education, and communications. Students are encouraged to expand the breadth of their law education through the school’s integrative curriculum and to take classes at other Penn schools. 99.2% of PennLaw’s Class of 2018 landed a full-time job within ten months of graduating.

The Class of 2021 had a median LSAT score of 170 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.89.

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6. New York University

NYU Law is the oldest law school in New York City, founded in 1835, and is located in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. The school’s 16 areas of study offer a wide range of fields in which students can specialize. NYU Law is particularly known for its excellence in public interest law. The Root-Tilden-Kern Program is considered to be the nation’s most prestigious public interest law scholarship, offering 20 students a full-tuition fellowship annually.

Also of note, 97.35% of last year’s graduating class passed the bar. The entering class in 2018 had a median LSAT score of 170 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.80.

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5. Columbia University

Also located in New York City a bit further uptown, Columbia Law School is one of the largest schools on this list with a total enrollment of about 1267. Columbia Law was one of the first law schools to instill a pro bono requirement, and the school maintains a commitment to public service.

Unsurprisingly, the school stresses the intellectual rigor of its curriculum, which is reflected by its 97.28% first-time bar passage rate for the Class of 2018. One of the most selective law schools in the nation, the entering class in 2018 at Columbia Law had a median LSAT score of 172 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.75.

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4. University of Chicago

The University of Chicago School of Law was founded in 1902. With over 200 faculty and just around 600 students, UChicago Law students are guaranteed close interaction with professors on a regular basis. According to the school, its ethos is “about ideas,” and it’s devoted to “learning for learning’s sake, not just for earning’s sake.”

Students are ranked and graded on a unique scale of 155-186. In 2018, the National Law Journal placed UChicago Law in the #1 spot for employment outcomes. The Class of 2021 had a median LSAT score of 171 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.89.

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3. Harvard University

With a total enrollment of nearly 2000, Harvard Law School is the largest on this list, and is the oldest continuously operating law school in the U.S. Though the school is large, each incoming class is broken up into seven sections of about 80 students each, and each section takes all of their first-year classes together. 2Ls and 3Ls can register for classes across the university to supplement their education based on their interests and career goals. Harvard Law’s pro bono program mandates all students complete a minimum of 50 hours of uncompensated public service work before graduating, with many students doing significantly more.

For the Class of 2021, the median LSAT score was 173 and the median undergraduate GPA was 3.9.

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2. Stanford University

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford Law celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2018. Stanford Law trains its students immersively, by engaging students in collaborative conversation and by taking legal education outside of the traditional classroom. The curriculum is customizable to each individual student—students can design a course, complete one of 21 joint degree programs, or supplement their law education with classes across the university. Like Yale, Harvard, and UC Berkeley, Stanford Law grades its students pass/fail, with a select few receiving honors. The most recent entering class at Stanford Law had a median LSAT score of 171 and an undergraduate GPA of 3.93.

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1. Yale University

Yale Law School is located in New Haven, Connecticut. With a little over 600 students, Yale Law’s acceptance rate is the lowest in the country—just 6.7%. The school is known for its scholarly focus, with nearly 10% of its graduates choosing a career in academia within five years of graduation and just 46% choosing to work in law firms in the same time period. Yale Law has only one semester of required classes (most law schools have a full year), and because of Connecticut court rules, students can start representing clients and garnering practical experience in their first year through one of the school’s 30 clinics.

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The Class of 2022 had a median undergraduate GPA of 3.93 and a median LSAT score of 173.

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