Enrolling in any one of the more than 200 law schools recognized by the American Bar Association can equip students with the expertise needed for a successful career in law. However, these schools vary considerably in selectivity. While the more competitive law schools do not necessarily offer a better education, top law firms often only recruit from the most selective and elite law schools.
Using data from the American Bar Association, 24/7 Wall St. created an index of three measures of selectivity to identify the 50 hardest law schools to get into.
The first index measure is the acceptance rate, or the number of offer letters a school sent in 2019 as a share of the number of applications. The second is the median LSAT score of newly enrolled students in fall 2019, and the third measure is the median undergraduate GPA of newly enrolled students. We also reviewed the share of students in the class of 2018 who took the bar exam and passed on their first attempt.
Many of the most powerful people in the United States have attended the most selective schools on this list. The nine most recent justices of the Supreme Court graduated from one of two elite Ivy League law schools. Similarly, the past three U.S. presidents with backgrounds in law were trained in those same institutions: Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton at Yale Law School, and Barack Obama at Harvard Law. In fact, most U.S. presidents have been lawyers.
Law school is a considerable investment of both time and money, often costing over $150,000 in tuition and fees over the course of three years. Partially because of the investment, an education in law (regardless of the selectivity of the institution) is a pathway to many exceptionally high-paying careers.
The hardest law school in America to get into is Yale, which is slightly tougher than Harvard or Stanford. Yale has an acceptance rate of only 8.2%. Applications for fall 2019 numbered 3,198. The median undergraduate GPA of new enrollees was 3.93, the median LSAT score of new enrollees was 173 out of 180, and the bar exam passage rate was 96.8%.
For those who want to apply to Yale Law School, here is the application.