Law School Rankings 2023: Beyond USWNR

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Where should you go to law school? There are nearly 200 law schools in the United States, and the right law school rankings can help you choose. 

With a myriad of factors to consider, including tuition cost, career outcomes, average first-year lawyer salaries, and quality of life, many prospective students look to the rankings to determine where to spend their time applying.

Here, we look at the best-known law school rankings and provide our own ranking—weighing key factors for law students in 2023, such as whether schools offer technology classes and remote classes. Today, law students must have a firm grasp of technology for a successful career in law moving forward.

Clio Law School Rankings 2023

Law students gather in a lecture hall
   Schools with the Clio logo are part of Clio’s Academic Access Program (CAAP), which offers free Clio access to prepare students for the future of law.

 

1 Duke University
2 Vanderbilt Law School
3 University of Virginia
4 Cornell University
5 Northwestern University (Pritzker)
6 Columbia University
7 University of Chicago
8 University of Pennsylvania (Carey)
9 Washington University in St. Louis
10 University of Notre Dame
11 University of Texas – Austin
12 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
13 University of Georgia
14 University of California – Berkeley
15 Yale University
16 University of Southern California (Gould)
17 Harvard University
18 Stanford University
19 New York University
20 Boston College
21 Boston University
22 Washington and Lee University
23 University of Minnesota
24 Wake Forest University
25 University of California – Los Angeles
25 University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
27 Emory University
28 Georgetown University
29 Fordham University
30 University of Alabama
31 Villanova University
32 University of Iowa
33 Ohio State University (Moritz)
34 University of Utah (Quinney)
35 Indiana University – Bloomington (Maurer)
36 Florida State University
37 University of Tennessee – Knoxville
38 Texas A&M University
39 University of Wisconsin – Madison
40 Brigham Young University (Clark)
41 University of Florida (Levin)
42 University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
43 University of Kansas
44 SMU (Dedman)
45 University of Kentucky
46 Wayne State University
47 University of Houston Law Center
48 University of Missouri – City
49 Drexel University (Kline)
50 University of Oklahoma

How we determined the top law schools of 2023

Law students gather in front of one of the top law schools

To create a law school ranking that is relevant for law students in 2023, we used a combination of existing rankings as well as a score for remote class options and technology class offerings. Here’s how the rankings break down:

  • 40% – USWNR Ranking. The annual law school rankings from USWNR have been the most influential rankings in the US for over three decades.
  • 30% – Above the Law (ATL) ranking. ATL looks heavily at employment outcomes, weighing heavily towards a quality jobs score, employment score, and education cost it assigns to each school.
  • 12% – Technology classes score. We assigned a score to each law school based on how many, if any, technology related classes were offered—covering either the use of technology (like artificial intelligence) or implications of technology for the law. Knowledge of technology is crucial for successful legal careers in 2023 and beyond.
  • 6% – Remote classes score. The ability to attend some or all classes remotely is an important accessibility option for many students.
  • 3% – Princeton Review Best Professors ranking. Based on student ratings of their professors—the quality of one’s legal education provides a rich foundation for their legal career.
  • 3% – Princeton Review Best Career Prospects ranking. We believe it’s important that law students are able to launch strong careers after graduation.
  • 3% – Princeton Review Best Quality of Life ranking. Based on some troubling law student mental health statistics, it’s crucial to consider the environment at any law school you’re thinking of attending.
  • 3% – Princeton Review Best Classroom Experience ranking. Whether in the classroom or attending remotely, the experience in class needs to be top notch to get the most out of your legal education.

USWNR Law School rankings 2023

USWNR has released annual law school rankings since 1990. It is widely respected, with terms such as “T14 law school” arising from its ranking system. Over 196 law schools were included in its rankings for 2023.

The USWNR ranking is based on the following factors—relevant weightings are in brackets:

  • Peer assessment score (0.25)
  • Lawyers and judges assessment score (0.15)
  • Employment rates for 2020 graduates 10 months after graduation (0.14) and at graduation (0.04)
  • Bar passage rate (0.03)
  • Average debt incurred obtaining a J.D. at graduation (0.03) and the percent of law school graduates incurring J.D. law school debt (0.02)
  • Median Law School Admission Test and Graduate Record Examination scores (0.1125)
  • Median undergraduate grade point average (0.0875)
  • Acceptance rate (0.01)
  • The average spending on instruction, library and supporting services (0.09) and the average spending on all other items, including financial aid (0.01)
  • Student-faculty ratio (0.02)
  • Library resources and operations (0.01)

Read more about the USWNR methodology for ranking here.

In 2023, the top 10 law schools according to USWNR were:

1 Yale Law School
2 Stanford Law School
3 University of Chicago Law School
4 Harvard Law School
5 Columbia Law School
6 University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
7 New York University School of Law
8 University of Virginia School of Law
9 University of California Berkeley Law
10 University of Michigan Law School

ATL Law School rankings 2022

ATL provides a ranking of the top 50 law schools each year. Their rankings are based on:

  • 35% – Quality of jobs (jobs where graduates can actually pay off their debt)
  • 30% – Graduate employment
  • 15% – Education cost
  • 10% – Debt per job
  • 5% – Graduates who are active federal judges
  • 5% – Graduates who are SCOTUS clerks

You can learn more about the rationale behind ATL’s law school ranking system here.

In 2022, the top 10 law schools according to ATL were:

1 Duke University School of Law
2 University of Virginia School of Law
3 Cornell Law School
4 University of Chicago Law School
5 Vanderbilt Law School
6 Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
7 University of Michigan Law School
8 Columbia Law School
9 Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
10 University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Princeton Review Law School rankings 2023

Princeton Review provides 14 unique ranking lists for law schools based on surveys of 17,000 US law school students and administrators. The categories include Best Online JD Programs, Greatest Resources for Minority Students, Best Career Prospects, and much more. 

Read more about the Princeton Review Law School Rankings here.

Final notes on law school rankings

Law school rankings are a valuable resource when deciding which law schools to apply to. Ultimately, different considerations apply for different students when deciding on the best law schools for them—which is why we’ve created a law school ranking that combines both trusted rankings with factors law students should be considering to prepare themselves for a successful future, including technology considerations. 

Wherever you choose to apply to law school, good luck with your applications! And don’t forget to sign up for Clio’s Academic Access Program—this program provides law students with a head-start on their legal practice by introducing them to the opportunities available through cloud-based practice management software. Sign up for Clio’s Academic Access Program here.

How do I get into law school?

Law school is incredibly competitive. To get in, you’ll need an undergraduate degree with a healthy GPA, and you’ll need to take the LSAT and get a strong score in order to be a contender for getting into most law schools.

 

How much does law school cost?

In 2023, law school tuition costs range from $13,438 (University of the District of Columbia (Clarke)) to $76,088 (Columbia University). The median tuition cost is $43,290. Tuition will cost more if you are an out-of-state student. In addition to tuition, factors like housing, textbooks, and living expenses will factor into your budget and vary wildly depending on your location. 

How many law schools should I apply to?

You should apply to anywhere between 7-15 law schools. These should be a mix of reach, target, and safety schools, with at least two schools in each category:

  • Reach schools are schools where, well, it’s a reach for you to get in, but you have a chance.
  • Target schools are schools where you’re a fit with expectations for LSAT scores and other relevant scores, and thus have a pretty good chance of getting in.
  • Safety schools are schools where you exceed benchmarks for relevant scores and where it’s extremely likely you’ll get in.

Of course, the number of law schools you apply to will depend on your financial resources for applying, as well as your goals.

When do law school applications open?

Law school applications typically open in the fall. Depending on the school, the deadline typically falls somewhere between February and April of the following year. For precise deadlines, check the website of each law school you are considering. 

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