A firm grounding in tax law is essential for many disparate legal career paths. If you’re already considering specializing in tax law, keep these schools top of mind when considering where to apply for law school. Some schools offer the opportunity to complete a joint JD/LLM degree in taxation.
Here are the law schools with the best tax law programs, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, as well as the median LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs of recently enrolled students.
UCLA Law offers a Specialization in Taxation, which students can elect to complete beginning in their 2L year. The specialization involves about nine courses, including an intensive transactional skills course, where students hone and integrate skills through simulation. Students in business law can pursue a Specialization in Business Law. UCLA Law also has three research centers with faculty experts in tax law: the Center for Law & Economics, the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law & Policy, and the Ziman Center for Real Estate.
The UCLA Law Class of 2022 had a median LSAT score of 168 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.79.
8. (tie) University of California – Irvine
UCI Law’s expertise in tax law is demonstrated by its Graduate Tax Program, which was founded in 2018 and awards an LLM degree to successful graduates. Students pursuing their JD at UCI Law are offered dozens of courses—including in Corporate Tax, Federal Income Tax, and Partnership and LLC Tax topics—through the school’s Business Law focus. In the Startup and Small Business Clinic, students work with small businesses and startups to educate owners on all aspects of business operations.
The fall 2018 entering class at UCI Law had a median LSAT score of 163 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.57.
8. (tie) Harvard University
As part of the many taxation courses offered at Harvard Law, students can elect to work in the Federal Tax Clinic, representing low-income taxpayers in disputes with the IRS. Students work with actual clients on cases before the United States Tax Court and Federal District Courts. The Clinic is an immersive law practice, giving students valuable experiential training ahead of their professional careers post-graduation.
The Class of 2022 at Harvard Law had a median LSAT score of 173 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.89.
6. (tie) Stanford University
Stanford Law School has a broad range of courses to prepare future lawyers for careers in all aspects of business and tax law. In the Organizations and Transactions Clinic, students represent nonprofit organizations, providing support in all aspects of organizational operations. Outside of class, students can join the Stanford Law Tax Club, a student organization for law students interested in tax careers. The club curates resources, including connecting students with local tax lawyers and industry professionals. Past Stanford Law Tax Club students have participated in national tax law moot court competitions.
The Stanford Law Class of 2021 had a median LSAT score of 171 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.93.
6. (tie) Columbia University
Columbia Law School offers many foundational courses in taxation to students, as well as an upper-level Tax Deals Workshop, where students develop analytical, drafting and negotiating skills. Students gain hands-on experience in the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, where they represent entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, and community groups pro bono. In addition to potentially drafting agreements and working on transactions, students in the clinic hone their counseling and interviewing skills by interfacing with real clients.
The Class of 2022 at Columbia Law School had a median LSAT score of 172 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.80.
According to UVA School of Law, “the School’s tax faculty are known for converting students who are fearful of studying tax into fans of the field.” Faculty members have worked in private practice, the Treasury Department, and Congress. Up to four students annually can participate in the International Tax Practicum, which trains students in international tax law through simulation and sends students to the International and European Tax Moot Court Competition in Brussels. Outside of class, students can volunteer for the Volunteer Income Tax Association (VITA), helping individuals prepare their tax returns, or attend the Virginia Tax Study Group—an annual tax conference that attracts UVA alumni practicing in the field. Additionally, students can be members or editors of the Virginia Tax Review, which is the nation’s leading tax journal, or work on the Virginia Law & Business Review.
The UVA School of Law Class of 2022 had a median LSAT score of 170 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.90.
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s excellence in tax law is demonstrated by its strong Tax Program, which has been ranked in the #4 spot since 2005. The Program, which culminates in an LLM degree, features eight residential faculty who also teach in the school’s JD programs. Students interested in pursuing a joint-degree can get a JD-LLM in Taxation, which takes as few as six or seven semesters with most students completing both degrees in three years. Prospective Northwestern JD students can apply to the program as part of their initial application—non-Northwestern JD students can seek admission in their first or second year of law school.
The Class of 2021 at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law had a median LSAT score of 169 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.84.
UF Law has a strong taxation curriculum in its JD program, and also offers an LLM in Taxation and the nation’s first SJD (Doctor of Judicial Science) in Taxation. For JD students, UF Law offers several relevant curricular roadmaps: Business Law, Commerical/Bankruptcy Law, Entertainment & Sports Law, Real Estate Practice, Trusts & Estate Law, and Entrepreneurship & Law. Students can also specialize in Estate Planning or Real Estate Law, choosing to do so in their 2L or 3L year.
The UF Law Class of 2022 had a median LSAT score of 164 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.80.
Georgetown’s tax law curriculum includes over 70 courses and seminars in its JD program and Taxation LLM degree—the latter can be completed online. Students can also pursue a JD-LLM in Taxation joint-degree. Additional specialty certificates are offered in Employee Benefits Law, Estate Planning, International Taxation, and State and Local Taxation. In the Social Enterprise & Nonprofit Law Clinic, JD students work with nonprofits and small businesses for academic credit.
The Georgetown Law Class of 2020 had a median LSAT score of 167 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.79.
According to the school, “for nearly 70 years, NYU School of Law has set the pace in tax law, boasting a widely revered graduate tax program and offering more tax courses than any other school.” NYU Law offers several degrees in Taxation, including a JD/LLM. Several centers and events, including the Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium and the David R. Tillinghast Lecture on International Taxation, regularly expose students to practitioners and scholars from the field. The Tax Law Review Scholarship awards students editorial positions on the journal and half-tuition scholarships for the 3L year and LLM semester. Additionally, students in the JD/LLM program can apply for the Tax Policy and Fellowship Program, which places students as interns at the US Department of the Treasury or the Staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation after their JD curriculum is completed.
The NYU Law Class of 2021 had a median LSAT score of 170 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.80.