Law Schools in Boston – List, Ranking, and How to Get In

Everyone who pursues a law degree understands the importance of finding a reputable law school. A prestigious law school gives future lawyers the best chance of acquiring the outcome they desire: a stable career with a reputable firm or company. Undoubtedly, getting a law degree is challenging, but it carries a certain measure of respect. Needless to say, any prospective law school student wants to attend a law school that has not only a rigorous curriculum, but also a prestigious reputation. 

All of this brings us to our article today about law schools in Boston. Undoubtedly, one of the most popular cities to study law is, in fact, Boston, home to several excellent schools for the study of law. These schools represent a collection of institutions with incredible legal minds on faculty, alumni now working for the top law firms, and students who graduated from the best undergraduate schools worldwide.

Today, we are going over Boston’s six law schools and their ranking according to their position in the US News National Law Schools list. All six of the schools on this list are excellent, and any law student graduating from one of these five schools will never fear answering the inevitable question, “What law school did you attend?” 

List of Boston Law Schools and Their Ranking

6. New England School of Law 

New England School of Law
Biruitorul, NESLBoston, public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

The New England School of Law (NESL) is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. In 2021, the Princeton Review ranked NESL as #3 on the “Greatest Resources for Women” list. This ranking was based on a student survey asking whether, regardless of their gender, students felt they received equal treatment by other students and faculty members. NESL was ranked as one of the country’s top law schools for career outcomes, admissions selection, and academic challenge. 

NESL offers law students the chance to join an experiential learning program, allowing them to engage with faculty, practicing attorneys, judges, and internationally known prosecutors. This experience prepares NESL law graduates for a greater chance of landing their future law placement. 

Students can choose from programs such as Elder Law Clinics, Family Law Mediation Clinic, International Human Rights Clinics, and Real Estate Practicum. Clinics pair students from the School of Law to offer their legal assistance in a variety of areas to maximize education and personal interests.

5. Suffolk University Law School 

Suffolk University Law School
Marco Almbauer, Sargent Hall, Suffolk University, CC0 1.0

Located in downtown Boston, this private school was founded in 1906. Today, it’s the 3rd largest university in Boston. As New England’s fourth oldest university, Suffolk’s founding father’s goal was to provide a legal education for students who wanted to study but experienced racial and socio-economic discrimination. 

Because of Suffolk’s ideal downtown Boston location, students have the opportunity to participate in law internships and clinics throughout one of the east coast’s best cities. Suffolk additionally runs the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service, offering fellowships for its law students. Besides internships, students at Suffolk can participate in the school’s moot court, legal clinics, and law publications. The law school offers programs to study abroad at Lund University in Sweden. This is where well-known Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg did her 1960s research for her book about Swedish Law.

The law professors at Suffolk represent legal scholars who still practice in major law firms, large corporations, district attorneys, legal departments, and public defenders. They have a reputation for being eager to mentor and advise their students. Ranking it among the schools for finding a job upon graduation, this law school boasts that 84% of its law students find a job within 10 months of graduating. 

4. Northeastern University School of Law 

Northeastern University School of Law
Piotrus, Northeastern University School of Law, CC BY-SA 3.0

A supreme law school, Northeastern’s bar pass rate for students in some years is as high as 90%, making it among the leading schools nationwide in this important statistic. 

While Northeastern excels in many areas of law, it is widely regarded among the top law schools in the country for Public Interest Law. Northeastern’s Center for Public Interest Advocacy and Collaboration, abbreviated as CPIAC, focuses on delivering legal and social justice solutions for their clientele. Additionally, Northeastern hosts a number of clinics in IP law, public health, immigrant protection, and more.

Experiential learning is at the heart of the Northeastern University Law School experience; every student who graduates from Northeastern must participate in a co-op program. The co-op is a signature program at Northeastern University for any major, where students must enroll in a full-time job for at least one semester while completing their studies. For law school students, this means greater experience when approaching the open job market upon graduation.

3. Boston College Law School 

Boston College Law School
John Phelan, Boston College Newton Campus, Newton MA, CC BY 3.0

Ranked by the US News & World Report as the 31st best law school in 2021, Boston College Law School is an impressive institution. Although Boston claims ownership of Boston College Law School, it is technically located six miles west of downtown Boston in Newton, Massachusetts. 

In 1929, BC Law School was the first graduate program at Boston College. Within three years, the law school joined other prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Yale, and Boston University as renowned law schools in New England with superior academic recognition. 

Today, the school has about 800 law students with 125 faculty members. BC’s small size and prestige as a law school make it a popular choice for students pursuing their law degree. The school offers students opportunities to practice in social justice, human rights and public interest law, business law, criminal and civil litigation. For students seeking an international experience while pursuing their Juris Doctor, BC also hosts exchange programs with law schools in Paris and China. 

Boston College Law professors earned the Princeton Review’s 7th place ranking for “Best Professors” in 2020. Additionally, BC Law ranks highly in schools that place graduates in American law firms, just behind Harvard in the top 20 Boston area law schools.

2. Boston University Law School

Established in 1872, this private university is one of the oldest law schools in America. Boston University Law School (BU) made the U.S. News & World Report 2021 list of top law schools list, ranked as the 20th best law school in the United States. 

This top-tier law school’s faculty is nationally acclaimed for their writing and research scholarship in the private and public sectors. Because of this, it’s no surprise that BU is consistently ranked in the top schools in the country by the Princeton Review for “Best Professors” and “Best Classroom Experience.” 

BU students can choose from a large selection of legal seminars and classes. First-year students can participate in various hands-on activities to help them develop their skills and learn tasks such as how to negotiate, counsel clients, and solve complex legal challenges and cases. 

Second and third-year students can participate in clinical partnerships under the guidance of experienced professors. Additionally, the school also offers a semester-in practice system that allows students to have full-time work experience with organizations such as the United Nations or the United States government. 

The national state bar passage rate is around 81.9%, but Boston University Law School bar passage rate is considerably higher at 92.8%. It’s no surprise that students who graduate from BU are quick to find a job and start their law careers

1. Harvard Law School

Law Schools in Boston
Chensiyuan., Harvard Law School Library in Langdell Hall at night, CC BY-SA 4.0

Harvard Law is so prestigious, it may very well be the most famous law school in the entire world. Harvard is located in Cambridge, adjacent to Boston and just across the Charles River. Harvard is also in the prestigious group of “T14” law schools, a select group of law schools considered among the very best nationwide.

Founded in 1817, Harvard Law School (HLS) is the oldest continually operated law school in the country, beating out both William & Mary Law School and the University of Maryland School of Law due to their closures during the Civil War. 

Ranked by US News #3 in its “Best Law Schools” list in 2021, HLS provides first-year students the chance to participate in its Student Practice Organizations. These organizations allow pupils to test their legal skills by representing people from all walks of life, including inmates at their disciplinary hearings, professional musicians navigating the complexity of copyright laws, and others. Interestingly, students must practice at least 40 hours pro bono before they can graduate.

HLS has done away with the more traditional system of letter grades; instead, students are awarded grades as “fail,” “low pass,” “pass,” or “distinction of honors.” Additionally, there are over 90 student organizations on campus including student-written journals, drama societies, service groups, performing arts organizations, and more. Harvard’s student newspaper, the Harvard Law Report, has been running since the 1940s, qualifying it as one of the oldest law school newspapers in the United States.

Harvard revealed that in 2019, an astonishing 99% of the school’s law graduates passed the Bar exam. It’s no wonder the school continuously is ranked in the top law schools in the country.

Some of Harvard Law School’s well-known alumni include former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama. 

How to Get Into Law Schools in Boston – Tips for Admission

Because these law schools are some of the best schools in the country, admission is very competitive. Here are the steps to get into law schools in Boston. 

Receive an LSAT Score Above 170 for Harvard, Above 160 for Most Other Quality Programs

When it comes to admission into a top law school, having a stellar LSAT score is essential for success, especially when it comes to admission for a T14 law school such as Harvard Law. The typical LSAT score for Harvard Law is over 170! Considering the test itself is out of 180 total points, this represents a considerable challenge for even the most astute scholars. While some schools are doing away with standardized testing, most prestigious law schools still require the LSAT for admission.

Letters of Recommendation

Law schools usually ask applicants for a letter of recommendation. This could be a former employer to vouch for a student’s work ethic or an undergrad professor who is familiar with the student. Typically, students will have to submit at least two recommendation letters; one good strategy would be to find someone from the institution you attended, and another “outside of school” person, such as a lawyer or a professional you interned under. Additionally, it may be best to speak with whoever is writing the letter of recommendation ahead of time to discuss what should be included in the letter. 

Completing a BA degree

Of course, completing a Bachelor’s Degree is the first priority to attending law school. While law schools universally don’t require any specific courses for admission, some courses can certainly help your chances for admission. These courses can include anything related to pre-law courses, language classes, and other traditional academic capstones.  Additionally, because GPA’s are so highly scrutinized when it comes to law school admissions, earning an excellent grade point average (GPA) is a requirement for entrance into a great law school. Typically, higher-tier schools look for at least a 3.5 GPA.

Request Your Transcripts Be Sent to the Colleges On Your List

Prospective students should pull together their school transcripts from their undergrad and grad schools or any certification programs they attended. Copies of transcripts typically cost anywhere from $10 to $20. Finally, it takes several days to get transcripts so plan ahead to ensure these records get to the law school in time. 

Write a Personal Statement

This can be a difficult task for students, but it’s a requirement to get into law schools. This written statement gives a student the opportunity to showcase their personality. They can talk about their career goals, academic achievements, or whatever they think could help them get into the school. Some law schools give applicants ideas or writing prompts about what to write. 

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