Lawyers are sometimes portrayed as among the most despised professionals in our society. However, the law has an impact on virtually every part of daily life, and having a legal background opens up an almost limitless choice of opportunities. It’s no wonder, then, that so many people want to get a law degree. In fact, the competition to get into law school has never been fiercer.
To determine the 50 hardest law schools to get into, 24/7 Wall St. created an index based on three measures of selectivity from the American Bar Association: acceptance rate, or the number of offer letters a school sent in fall 2021 as a share of the number of applications; median LSAT score of newly enrolled students in fall 2021; and median undergraduate GPA of newly enrolled students. (We also reviewed the share of students in the class of 2018 who took the bar exam within two years of graduation and passed.)
If you want to get into any of the top 10 law schools, you’d better study. The median LSAT score of new enrollees is at least 170 out of a score of 180, and new enrollees need a median undergrad GPA of at 3.66. (Law schools aren’t the only institutions of higher education with high standards. Consider this list of the hardest college to get into in every state.)
It usually takes aspiring lawyers three years after they’ve earned a bachelor’s degree to finish law school, but it is generally considered to be worth the time and effort (and expense). A legal career path can provide job satisfaction for attorneys defending the rights of the poor and disenfranchised, while legal eagles can earn big money in corporate law. Harvard law school graduates lead the field in salary, with median starting pay of $180,000 a year in the private sector. (Not counting law, these are the highest-paying college majors.)
Law-school graduates are among the most powerful people in society. Twenty-six of our 46 presidents have been lawyers. Of the nine Supreme Court justices, only Amy Coney Barrett did not attend Ivy League law school.
Those Ivy League institutions are well represented on the list, with three of them chalking up acceptance rates of 10% or less. Of the 10 law schools with the lowest acceptance rates, in fact, eight are private (the two public ones are the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan.)
Five law schools on this list have a bar-exam passage rate of 99% and above. Note that they are not all Ivy League schools.
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