You’ve taken the LSAT and you know what your score was. You’re getting close to the end of your undergraduate college career and you have a good idea of what your final GPA will be. You might even know more or less where you rank for your graduating class. Now you’re thinking about law school, and you don’t want all of the effort that you’ve put in to your undergraduate career to be for naught. You want to make sure that you go to the best law school that your personal combination of numbers and experience will allow you to get into. But how do you know which are the best law schools?
Law schools are ranked and divided into tiers, with Tier One schools being the best of the best. The rankings are not actually done by any board which oversees the law schools and are not necessarily supported by important legal organizations such as the Bar Association. However, the rankings remain important to the people who might be hiring you once you graduate from your law school career, so if you’re looking to get in with a big name company, you’re going to want to know what the best law schools are.
U.S. News and World Report magazine puts out an annual list of the top graduate schools, ranking the law schools based upon a number of factors including everything from the reputation of the school as perceived by the general public to the statistics on job placement after graduation from the school. The result is the tier-based list of the best law schools. While it changes from year to year, there are a few big names which always pop up on the list of best law schools. The Bay Area of San Francisco does well, providing the home to both Stanford and Boalt Hall (Berkeley) law schools. The East Coast doesn’t do so bad either; Harvard, Yale, NYU and Columbia Law Schools are others which frequently make the list. Other names which might sound familiar to those who peruse the best law schools lists include Cornell, Georgetown, Duke, and the University of Chicago.
When you start looking in to the average GPA and LSAT scores of the applicants to Tier One Law Schools such as these, you might find that you’re a little bit intimidated by them. It’s true that it’s frequently the cream of the academic crop that gets into the best law schools. However, it’s possible to get into the best law schools based on an application which takes more into consideration than just your numbers. And on the other side of the same coin, it’s possible to get a great education without attending one of the supposed best law schools in the country. After all, it’s possible that a school which doesn’t make the best law schools list might still make the list of “best schools for you”. Law schools offer different specialties, different environments, and different job opportunities upon graduation.
If you are particularly concerned about only applying to the best law schools, you can get the updated list of law school rankings from the website for U.S. News and World Report. There are also other private reports which publish their assessment of the best law schools; a basic internet search should turn up additional information to help supplement your initial findings. However, keep in mind that the best law schools have their good sides and their bad, and you should spend as much time figuring out what you need from your school and which are the best law schools for those needs as you do looking at the external factors assessing all schools.
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