Stanford Law School – Acceptance Rate, Ranking, and More

When it was founded in 1893, Stanford Law School was already an impressive institution, hiring former president Benjamin Harrison as one of its teachers. Since then, the school has only grown in reputation, consistently ranking as one of the top three schools in the nation.

Stanford Law owes its success in part to the many innovative law centers it operates. These programs and centers not only work on some of the most present legal issues of our time, but they also allow students to do hands-on work serving the community. 

One such initiative is the Center for Internet and Society (CIS), which addresses laws and policies related to technology. Bringing scholars and legislators together with students, the CIS works with concerns such as privacy, free speech, the public commons, and more. 

Stanford Law publishes several extremely influential law journals, including the Stanford Law Review, the Stanford Journal of International Law, and the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties

The school has always boasted as faculty some of the world’s finest lawyers and legal scholars. Professor Jeffrey L. Fisher is the co-director of the Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic and has argued 27 cases before the American Supreme Court. 

Professor Michael W. McConnell is a constitutional law scholar and a former Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

But is Stanford Law the right school for you? 

Stanford Law School Acceptance Rate

Stanford University School of Law
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

In 2020 alone, 3,807 students applied to be accepted into the program. 

Out of that group, only 10.48% were given offers of application. That’s a pretty low acceptance rate. 

Stanford Law School isn’t just one of the most recognized and respected law schools in the country. It’s also one of the most popular. 

By a point of contrast, Harvard Law School accepts 15.6% of its applicants. Duke Law School takes 20.2% of the applications it receives. In fact, only Yale accepts a smaller percentage of students, with a 6.9% acceptance rate. 

To help you visualize how selective Stanford is, imagine ten students trying to get into a program. Out of that ten, only one will make it in. Occasionally, a second student will also be let in, but most of the time, nine will be rejected. 

While that certainly sounds hopeless, it shouldn’t be. 10.48% of 3807 students is still 399, which means that nearly 400 people are granted admission each year. 

Of course, Stanford Law doesn’t just take everybody. But they are looking for the right people to bring into the program.

How do you get accepted? Make yourself into one of the right people. Work to bring your grades to meet the school’s standards (more on that later). Secure strong letters of recommendation and do the extracurricular activities schools accept. 

With some work, you can put yourself in the best position to be among that 10.48%. 

Stanford Law School Tuition

Everybody knows two things about lawyers: they like to argue, and they cost a lot of money. 

Most recognize that the first issue is just part of the job – you want a lawyer who will argue persuasively for you. But the second issue is just as much part of the job.

Lawyers charge so much because it takes a long time and costs a lot of money to go to law school and acquire the knowledge needed to practice your trade. 

That’s particularly true of students at Stanford Law School. For 2021-2022, the base tuition at the school is $64,350/year

On top of that, the school recommends that students plan for $107,055 per school year. That amount will allow them to spend $31,557 in room and board and to spend $1,530 a year on books and supplies, as well as other living costs. 

Keep in mind that specific modifiers can affect that cost. Even if you don’t pursue any scholarships to offset tuition requirements, you can lower your expenses by living with a roommate, traveling via carpool or bike, and seeking out used books. 

Furthermore, Stanford costs look much more reasonable when put next to the costs of other programs. Yale Law charges $67,108 each year, even more than Stanford. 

Without question, this is a lot of money. But with some smart budgeting and help from financial aid, it can be done. 

Stanford Law School Requirements

Stanford University Claw Fountain
Oleg Alexandrov, Claw Fountain at Stanford University, CC BY-SA 3.0

As one of the best law schools in the world, Stanford Law can limit itself to only the best of the best. If you want to be among the happy 399 students who get accepted into the program, you can’t rely on luck. 

You need to carefully plan your application, which means that you need to know the school’s application requirements. 

Stanford Law does not have a required minimum GPA, but most observers recommend that applicants have at least a 3.77. On average, students entering the school in 2020 had a GPA of 3.89

Stanford law requires scores from one of two standardized tests. 

The most common standardized test completed by law school applicants is the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT measures the skills and knowledge students develop as undergrads, indicating students’ potential for success in law school. 

Throughout its five sections, students answer questions about logical reasoning, verbal proficiency, and reading comprehension. 

However, students can also take the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations). Like the LSAT, the GRE measures knowledge gained during undergraduate study. However, it is a general test, not specific to law school. 

On average, students entering Stanford Law score 171 on the LSAT. Those who submit GRE scores have an average of 328. 

In addition to scores such as these, Stanford Law looks for materials such as letters of recommendation and an application essay. 

Stanford Law School Notable Alumni

Stanford Law is one of the most prestigious and recognizable law schools in the nation. To earn that reputation, Stanford Law has trained some of the world’s greatest legal minds and politicians. 

Sandra Day O’Connor began her studies at Stanford University when she was just 16 and eventually graduated with a law degree in 1952. 

In 1981, O’Connor became the first woman to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court, a position she held until 2006. President Barack Obama awarded O’Connor the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. 

O’Connor’s Class of 1952 classmate William Rehnquist served as Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel under President Nixon. Rehnquist became an associate justice of the Supreme Court in 1971 and Chief Justice in 1986. In his almost 19 years, Rehnquist presided over cases that would change the course of history. 

In addition to the many Stanford Law graduates who serve in legislative capacities, several have gone on to become politicians and members of the legislative and executive branches. 

Former U.S. Senators Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, and Frank Church graduate from Stanford, as did U.S. Congressmen William Donlon Edwards, Charles M. Teague, and Xavier Becerra. 

Outside of law and politics, Stanford Law graduates include business leaders such as Seattle Mariners president Chuck Armstrong and Paypal founder Peter Thiel. Stanford Law also trained Legally Blonde author Amanda Brown, All Things Considered host Jami Floyd, and James Bond producer Michael G. Wilson. 

Stanford Law School Ranking

By the accounting of nearly every observing publication in the world, Stanford Law is among the five best law schools in the nation. As evidence of the school’s success, the outlets cite the placements of its graduates, its research contributions, and publications from faculty members. 

The most comprehensive listing is done by U.S. News & World Report. The magazine’s rankings have become the gold standard for observers, thanks in part to the quality of its research into the schools. 

According to U.S. News, Stanford Law is the second-best law school in the United States, behind only Yale and outranking Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Chicago. U.S. News also puts Stanford Law in the number five spot on its list of contracts and commercial law programs, number four in criminal law programs, and number one in international property law. ranks schools not only in the United States but around the world. 

On this list, Stanford Law drops to fifth place, below American schools Harvard and Yale, as well as the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge in the UK. 

The site gives Stanford particularly high grades for its reputation among academics, its reputation as an employer, and the faculty-to-student ratio.

As these outlets indicate, Stanford Law is easily one of the world’s best schools. By every metric, the school provides a first-rate legal education. 

Should You Attend Stanford Law School?

Stanford Law School is one of the best law schools in not just the United States, but in the world. It was the alma mater of some of history’s most impressive legal minds, including two Supreme Court justices. Stanford Law regularly falls near the top of rankings done by the world’s most respected outlets. 

So should you attend Stanford Law? 


There’s no denying that Stanford Law would give a great head start to anyone looking for a career in law, business, or politics. In addition to the first-class training you’ll receive, you’ll also make connections with some of the most powerful people in the country. 

But you must also know that it will take hard work to get into Stanford Law and even harder work to stay in. 

With an acceptance rate of less than 11%, Stanford Law only accepts the best of the best, and that means you must have excellent grades and outstanding application materials. 

If that doesn’t scare you, then you should certainly consider Stanford Law.

With its excellent research and academic history, Stanford can give unprecedented legal training. Students will get to study some of the most critical decisions in American history, sometimes alongside the people who argued those cases. 

For those who aren’t afraid of the challenge and want the best possible law school experience, Stanford Law is an excellent choice.