Obtaining a law degree from a prestigious law school is one of the best ways for aspiring lawyers to prove to future employers, colleagues, and potential clients that they are intelligent, capable legal professionals.
Being accepted to a highly selective, highly esteemed law school shows that you are among the best law students in the world, with a stellar academic record, a nearly perfect LSAT score and undergraduate GPA, and phenomenal critical thinking skills.
Although prestige is certainly not the only factor that should determine where you choose to go to law school, there is a general correlation between law school rankings and employment outcomes.
Top schools are known to produce more US Supreme Court justices and clerks, heads of state, prominent leaders in business and industry, and intellectual giants than other law schools.
Thus, attending a highly rated law school is almost sure to lead you to a successful legal career, regardless of what type of law you are interested in practicing, where you wish to establish your career, or whatever other factors that generally influence the likelihood of securing elite employment opportunities.
The following list consists of some of the most highly ranked law schools in the entire world.
Read on to learn a bit about what these top schools have to offer, including their J.D. and L.L.M. programs, research facilities, networking opportunities with highly successful alumni, and more.
The ranking is determined by where each school positions in the QS World University Rankings.
10. National University of Singapore Faculty of Law (Singapore, Singapore)
The National University of Singapore Faculty of Law is widely known as one of the best law schools in Asia.
Located in Singapore, the school is positioned right at the center of booming international commerce and other commercial activity.
Singapore is also known as the nexus between the East and West, making NUS Law an ideal location for attending law school.
NUS Law regularly hosts a number of visiting faculty and students from around the world, further contributing to the cosmopolitan atmosphere the school boasts.
Since its founding in 1957, NUS Law has strived to curate a curriculum that is interdisciplinary, inclusive of multiple perspectives, and globally focused.
They emphasize the importance of diversity by offering a broad range of courses on a vast number of different topics, such as Asian legal studies, jurisprudence, and intellectual property law.
9. University of California – Berkeley Law School (Berkeley, CA)
The University of California Berkeley Law School regularly ranks in the top ten best American law schools and within the top three best public law schools in the nation.
The school is known for its unconventional approach to legal education. At UC Berkeley Law, there are no letter grades or GPAs, nor are students ranked against one another.
Additionally, Berkeley Law offers unique, specialized survey courses, including one called Wine Law, for example. Students can also design their own elective courses.
After completing a first semester consisting primarily of required courses, students are given the opportunity to customize their courses of study to best suit their individual academic and professional aspirations.
In addition to J.D. degree programs, Berkeley Law also offers L.L.M. programs, master’s programs, and multiple options for concurrent degree programs.
8. New York University School of Law (New York, NY)
Founded in 1835, the New York University School of Law is the oldest surviving law school in the state of New York, as well as the oldest law school in New York City.
Situated in the heart of the largest city in the United States by population, NYU Law gives students access to an immense number of businesses, highly esteemed employers, and bustling industrial and political activity.
NYU Law offers over 40 different clinical programs through which students can gain hands-on practical experience representing clients, preparing case briefs, and working with practicing legal professionals.
With 16 different areas of study, over 300 course offerings, and more than 100 widely-acknowledged faculty members, NYU has a wealth of resources for its students.
Additionally, the school has over 30 centers and 80 student organizations on campus, giving students even more options for enriching their law school experience by getting involved and using these facilities.
7. Columbia Law School (New York, NY)
Columbia Law School is known as a world leader in the fields of law and legal education. The school boasts a number of solid and longstanding relationships with many of the world’s foremost law firms, Fortune 500 companies, social justice institutions, and various other valuable professional entities.
With a student-to-faculty ratio of only 5.2:1, Columbia Law students are able to receive ample direct attention from professors, working closely with these well-renowned legal scholars.
The school is known for the rigor of its academics and its highly competitive admissions.
With a median LSAT score of 174 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.84, the incoming first-year class of 2021 is no exception to Columbia’s policy of only accepting students of the highest caliber.
With numerous experiential learning opportunities, including pro bono legal service, clinical programs, and externships, Columbia Law offers students many different options to gain real-world experience working with clients.
6. London School of Economics and Political Science Law School (London, EN)
Founded over a century ago, the London School of Economics and Political Science Law School began teaching the subject of law as early as 1895. Throughout its long history, LSE Law has become one of the best law schools in the world.
The school has been named the best school in the United Kingdom for research outputs in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF).
LSE Law School emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary, international perspectives to study law. The school considers inclusivity an essential component of their identity and their approach to legal education.
The school is located in London, at the heart of legal activity in the United Kingdom. Its campus is situated in close proximity to Lincoln’s Inn, one of the four Inns of Court of which all UK barristers must be members, as well as the Royal Courts of Justice.
Additionally, the House of Parliament is within walking distance for LSE Law students.
5. Stanford Law School (Stanford, CA)
Stanford Law School has been ranked among the top three law schools in the United States every year since 1992, when the US News and World Report began releasing their annual school rankings.
SLS ranks first in terms of median undergraduate GPA of accepted applicants who enroll at the school, with a near-perfect 3.93 average.
The school offers students unparalleled opportunities, such as the chance to design unique, personalized joint degree programs or create new courses based on the individual student’s interests.
With a student-to-faculty ratio of only 4.4:1, Stanford students work closely with the school’s highly esteemed faculty, many of whom are among the world’s foremost legal scholars and experts.
Located near Palo Alto, California, in Silicon Valley, SLS offers its students close access to this global center for the technology industry and innovation. An impressive 88.8% of Stanford law students in the graduating class of 2017 were employed at the time of graduation, rising to 90.4% at ten months after graduation.
4. Yale Law School (New Haven, CT)
Ever since the US News and World Report began releasing its annual ranked list of the best law schools in the country, Yale Law School has consistently held the #1 spot.
The university is known for its exceptional faculty, its stellar track record for successfully placing students in illustrious careers after graduation, and its state-of-the-art research facilities.
Yale Law School has been the alma mater of a number of prominent public figures, including United States presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Yale Law’s acceptance rate for the 2020 to 2021 academic year was only 4%, making it the most selective law school in the country.
With a yield rate of 87%, the highest among all law schools in the nation, few students would turn down Yale Law, as receiving an offer for admission to this school is highly competitive.
The school’s nearly perfect bar passage rate of 99% is evidence of the high quality education Yale Law offers its students.
3. University of Cambridge Faculty of Law (Cambridge, EN)
Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge is the fourth-oldest university in the world.
Legal education has been offered at the school since as early as the thirteenth century.
The school has upheld a legacy for greatness for centuries. Early Faculty of Law students were responsible for writing the first known law reports in the ius commune — Latin for common law — tradition, designating the school as a pioneer in the field of law worldwide.
Located at Cambridge, a global hub for technology and innovation, the university emphasizes the intersection between academia and business.
Cambridge’s network of living alumni includes nearly 300,000 graduates from all corners of the world, with a substantial number now located in the United States, Canada, China, and all across Europe. Among these alumni are over 100 Nobel Prize Laureates, almost 200 Olympic Medalists, and 47 Heads of State.
2. University of Oxford Faculty of Law (Oxford, EN)
There is evidence that suggests that the teaching and study of law began at the University of Oxford as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the second oldest university in continuous operation in the entire world.
Over the course of its more than 800-year history of providing legal education, the University of Oxford Faculty of Law has become a world leader in law, establishing itself as a globally recognized institution for learning and for fostering rich intellectual debate.
According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the University of Oxford has been ranked the best university in the world first for six consecutive years (2017 to 2022).
Notable alumni, or “Oxonians,” including 28 British Prime Ministers, 55 Nobel Prize Laureates, 120 Olympic Medalists,and over 30 international heads of state.
1. Harvard University Law School (Cambridge, MA)
Harvard University Law School is famous for being one of the top law schools in the entire world.
The school’s dedication to liberal arts and sciences education encourages students to make use of the world-class courses, research institutes, and faculty mentorship offered across all parts of Harvard to pursue their passions, make difficult inquiries, and conduct ground-breaking research.
Each year, about 560 students enroll in Harvard’s three-year J.D. program. The school’s large class sizes and rigorous academic environment allow Harvard to regularly graduate a great number of esteemed lawyers, legal professions, and widely-renowned scholars.
Distinguished Harvard alumni include former United States president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama.
Additionally, Harvard holds the record for sending the most graduates to US Supreme Court Clerkships, producing an impressive 491 graduates who went on to fill these esteemed positions since 1960.