Expensive, intimidating, and smart – many of the traits that often signify a good lawyer are the very same that make the legal profession among the most vilified in the United States. But despite any perceived faults, attorneys are indispensable and crucial to upholding and enforcing the legal framework that allows society to function.
A law school education confers a specialized skill set with a broad range of applications, and those who earn a JD can apply those skills to virtually any industry they choose, without necessarily being bound to a career in the courtroom. While about half of all law school graduates in 2022 accepted jobs at law firms, more than one-in-four took jobs in business and industry, government, or public interest, according to the American Bar Association.
For those seeking a career that offers both job and financial security, law school is also a practical choice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical lawyer earned $127,990 in 2021, and over the next decade, demand for lawyers is projected to increase by 10%, double the projected growth of all occupations. (Here is a look at the 65 jobs with six-figure salaries.)
But as is the case with an undergraduate education, where you enroll matters, as graduates of top-tier law schools have a definitive edge in the job market. And the best law schools tend to be highly selective when it comes to the admissions process.
Using data from the ABA, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 hardest law schools to get into in the United States. Schools are ranked on an equally weighted index of three measures: the fall 2022 acceptance rate, median undergraduate GPA for new enrollees for the fall 2022 semester, and median LSAT score of new enrollees in fall 2022. As a supplemental measure, we also reviewed bar exam passage rates for the graduating class of 2020.
The 50 institutions on this list represent about one-quarter of all ABA accredited law schools in the United States. Among them, the share of applicants who were offered admission for fall 2022 ranges from about 37% to just 6%. Each of these schools requires a record of high academic achievement, as the majority of students accepted had an undergraduate GPA of 3.7 out of 4.0 or higher. (There are the hardest undergraduate colleges and universities to get into.)
The quality of education offered at these schools is evidenced, in part, by the share of graduates who pass the bar – a two-day competence test law school graduates must pass in order to be licensed to practice law. In 49 of the 50 schools on this list, over 90% of graduates in the class of 2020 passed the bar, and in 41, the share was over 95%.
Click here to see the 50 hardest law schools to get into.
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