Legal education is a pivotal step for aspiring lawyers to gain the necessary skills and knowledge for a successful legal career. In this article, we delve into the world of legal academia to present the top 14 law schools for the year 2023. These institutions are recognized for their exceptional programs, distinguished faculty, and contributions to the field of law.
In some countries, law can be studied as a first undergraduate degree program while for some countries; a first undergraduate degree needs to be obtained in order to be eligible to study law. Country such as the United States offers law as a second degree. The rating of the schools of law is however not based on this. The schools are rated based on their capacity, performance output, policies and their local and global recognition. Here are the ten schools with the best schools of law in the world currently.
Top 14 Best Law Schools in the World 2023(Legal education)
1. New York University School of Law: New York University School of Law is a private law school and one of the oldest schools of law in Ney York City, having operated for 187 years as at 2022. The school was established on 2nd June, 1835.
It has its location at Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan, New York, United States. New York University School of Law offers the following programs: JD (Jurist Doctor), LLM (Masters of Law) and JSD (Doctor of Juridical Science). The school records a bar pass rate of 98.89%. At several rankings, the New York University Law School has always been at the top. In the year 2017, the law school was ranked 2nd best by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).
In 2020 and 2021, the school was ranked 4th best law school by the same ARWU. New York University School of Law has also been at the top based on rankings by the United States News and World Report, Social Science Research Network Rankings and the Princeton Review. The school is ranked the best for the study of International Law, Tax Law and Criminal Law & Procedure.
The dean of the school of law currently is Trevor Morrison. For their clinic, the ratio of clinician-student is at approximately 1:10. New York University School of Law has produced prominent lawyers, judges, professors and other prominent office holders in the society. The school has a highly competitive admission input and acceptance. Being a prestigious one, attending New York University School of Law boosts your chance of employment.
2. Harvard Law School: Harvard Law School is a prestigious private law school and the oldest school of law in the United States having operated for 205 years. The school was established in the year 1817. Harvard Law School has its location in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States.
The current dean of law is John F. Manning. The school has a bar pass rate of 99%. They offer JD, LLM and SJD programs. The school’s intake capacity is greater with about 560 students divided into section of about 80 students per division for the JD program. Harvard Law School has produced noble and notable alumni in the practising field, judiciary and the government.
Their notable alumni which includes Rutherford Hayes, Barrack Obama, Michelle Obama and the list continues. Harvard is notable for having the largest law library in the world. The U.S News and World Report have ranked Harvard Law School 4th best in the US. In 2019, the school was ranked 1st by the QS World University Rankings and also by the Academic Ranking of World Universities for the same year.
Passing though Harvard Law School is a global recognition and the certificate is most revered by all countries for the purposes of opportunities.
3. Stanford Law School: Here is another top school of law. The school is located at Stanford, California, United States and was founded in the year 1893. The current dean is Jennifer Martinez. The school has an admission capacity of about 550 students for all of their programs and a bar passing rate of 98.25%.
Their programs include; Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD), Masters of Laws (LLM), Master of Studies in Law (MSL) and Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD). Stanford Law School also offers law clinic series as part of their programs. The school also has produced notable jurists, judges and practitioners.
4. Yale Law School: Yale Law School was established in 1824 and is located at New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Yale Law School has consistently remained at the top of the rankings made by the U.S News and World Report since the 1980’s.
The admission rate of Yale Law School is rated at about 4% which is the lowest in the United States. This is an advantage for the professor-student ratio. Currently, the dean is Heather K. Gerken. Yale Law School has a bar pass rate of 99%. As an integral part of their program, Yale Law School offers intensive clinical training to the students. The school also has produced prominent alumni all round the sector.
5. University of California, Berkeley School of Law: Berkeley School of Law is a public law school established in the year 1894. The school programs are JD, LLM, JSD and PHD. Berkeley School of Law records a bar pass rate of 95.5%. Their admission rate for the JD program ranges to about 330 students which are further divided into class sections. Berkeley School of Law also has produced notable scholars and eminent jurists, judges and leaders.
Berkeley School of Law also has consistently been on the op list of the QS World Rankings and the U.S News and World Report, having been ranked the best particularly in Environmental Law, Corporate and Intellectual Property Law, and 2nd in Criminal Law.
6. Columbia Law School: By the rankings of the QS World University Rankings and the U.S News and Worlds Report, Columbia Law School has consistently remained at the top 5. Columbia Law School was established in the year 1858.
The school has its location at New York City, New York, United States. The school has a bar rate of 95.11%. Columbia Law School has produced prominent alumni for the society ranging from Supreme Court Justices, members of the cabinet, Governors, Senators, Presidential Advisers and alumni who has made the Forbes list.
For its prestige and quality output, alumni of Columbia Law School are open to greater chances of employment. The Columbia Law School is particularly ranked best in Business and Corporate Law, Contracts and Commercial Law. Columbia Law School has also made the Forbes List as the number one career prospects and the second school of law with the highest earning alumni.
7. Faculty of Law, University of Oxford: In the year 2019, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed the Faculty of Law, Oxford University as the best in the world. It is the largest school of law, having intakes from countries all around the world.
Oxford Law School specializes on Business Law, Dispute Resolution, Human Rights, Intellectual Property, Health Care Law, Medical Law, Property Law, Jurisprudence, Criminology, Regulations and Labour Law.
The school offers Bachelor of Laws and post graduate degrees (LLM and PHD). Admission into Oxford School of Law is a competitive one. Students who pass through the school are in high demand in the employment sector. Oxford University School of Law has consistently been within the top 7 by the other various rankings of U.S News & World Report, The Guardian University Rankings, The Complete University Guide –University Ranking (UK), and Times Higher Education University Ranking.
8. Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge: University of Cambridge School of Law is regarded as the best in the UK. The school is located at Cambridge, United Kingdom. Its acceptance rate is approximately 700 for undergraduates and 250 for post graduates.
Cambridge University has been ranked 1st by the Complete University Guide – University Ranking (UK), 1st by the Guardian University Rankings, 1st by the Times Higher Education University Ranking and 3rd by the QS World University Ranking all in 2022. The school programs are Bachelor of Laws at the undergraduate level, Master of Laws and Doctorate in Law for the postgraduates.
9. University of Chicago Law School: Chicago University Law School is located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is a private law school founded in the year 1902. The dean of the faculty currently is Thomas J Miles. Chicago Law School has a bar pass rate of 97.9%. The school has been consistently ranked amongst the top law schools in the United States and globally.
It has been ranked third by the Princeton Review (2021) for the best classroom experience, third by Forbes for Highest Earning alumni (2021), third by the U.S News & World Report, fourth globally by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and 2nd in US, first by the Above the Law, second by the Business Insider and Forbe’s best career prospects. With all these prestige, Chicago Law School graduates are open to better opportunities.
10. Georgetown University Law School: Georgetown University Law School offers part-time and full-time programs in law, having been ranked 1st for part-time programs and 14th overall by the USNWR and 13th by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). The school was founded in the year 1870. It has recorder a bar pass rate of 90.96%. The School programs are JD, LLM and SJD.
Georgetown University Law School is located in Washington DC. The school has a greater capacity for intakes and a higher acceptance rate. Georgetown University Law School has consistently been at the top, having not gone beyond 14th at all ratings. The prestige of the school manifests in the quality of their education and policies, scholarships and prominence of its graduates in the society.
11. University of Virginia School of Law: Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, the University of Virginia School of Law is a public research institution. Thomas Jefferson established it in 1819. The second-oldest continuously running law school in the country is this university. It has been in existence for the past four centuries.
Law & Business and Law and Public Service programs are among UVA Law’s curricular offerings, along with courses in criminal law, human rights, race and the law, environmental and land use law, immigration law, intellectual property, public policy and regulation, health law, etc. In addition, UVA Law offers courses in professional ethics, public speaking, trial advocacy, and other practical skills, as well as programs that aid students in developing these skills.
12. Duke University School of Law: Duke College in Durham, North Carolina, is a private research university. Duke University School of Law is located on the campus of Duke University. One of Duke University’s 10 schools and colleges, the School of Law is a constituent part of the university’s academic structure. It was established in 1868.
Duke Law is consistently ranked among the top fourteen law schools in the country. It has never been ranked lower than U.S. News’ 12th position or Above the Law’s 7th position. Of the three T14 law schools that produced a president of the United States, Duke Law is one of them (Richard Nixon). Forbes classified Duke Law as having the second-highest median mid-career wage among law schools that produced graduates. It ranks eighth among all American law schools for 2015.
13. National University of Singapore (NUS): The National University of Singapore (NUS) is a public research university with an advanced legal education and is regarded as one of the top law schools in Asia. One of the top 35 law schools in the world, NUS is recognised for emphasising practical experience and experiential learning a lot.
These Schools provide undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degree programmes in law, including the Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Master of Laws (LLM), and Doctor of Jurisprudence (SJD) programmes. Additionally, the NUS Law School has forged collaborations and alliances with prestigious organisations and schools of law throughout the globe, providing students with the opportunity to study and do research abroad and get a global perspective on the law.
14. The London School of Economics (LSE) and Political sciences: The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is a public research organisation that is regarded as one of the world’s premier social science universities. The LSE offers several undergraduate and graduate degree programmes in topics including as economics, law, political science, sociology, anthropology, and international relations.
In addition to other legal disciplines, the LSE Law Institute is well known for its work in the domains of public, business, international, and human rights law. Its faculty is made up of prominent academics and professionals who are actively engaged in research, education, and public policy initiatives. They aid students in forming a critical understanding of how the law interacts with other social, economic, and political factors as well as a broader perspective on the role of law in society.
The top 14 schools of law as discussed above are alike for their consistency and prominence in their output. One common advantage asides quality education is that having passed through any of these schools, the world places you at a higher view. The schools listed above have really stood the test of time consistency.