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Best universities in the US for law degrees 2023

Find the best universities in the United States for law degrees through Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data

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October 27 2022
Best universities in the US for law degrees


Top 10 universities in the US for law degrees 2023

Scroll down for the full list of best universities in the US for law degrees

US law rank 2023  WUR law rank 2023  University State
1  1  Stanford University California
2  2  New York University New York
3  5  Yale University Connecticut
4  6  Harvard University Massachusetts
5  10  The University of Chicago Illinois
6  12  Columbia University New York
7  13  University of California, Berkeley California
8  =21  University of California, Los Angeles California
9  25  University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Michigan
10  27  Cornell University New York

There are a number of world-renowned law schools in the US, making the country one of the top places to go to if you wish to study for a law degree.

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Students who complete a course of study at a law school in the US will graduate with a juris doctor (JD) degree. The JD programme normally lasts three years for full-time students and four years for part-time students. Teaching is based on the British system of common law, which is not used in every country, so international students might not necessarily be able to practise in their home country without taking further courses or exams.

The US legal system consists of judicial, regulatory and governmental authorities that work together to enforce laws across federal, state and local levels. Every state has its own government, which holds legal and administrative jurisdiction within its limits.

These are the best universities in the US for law degrees.

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5. The University of Chicago

The Law School at The University of Chicago offers the JD programme for undergraduate students. There are two master’s degree programmes available, too: the master of laws and the master of legal studies, which is a one-year course for PhD students. The school also offers two graduate degrees beyond the master’s level: doctor of jurisprudence and doctor of comparative law.

The Socratic method is the most widely used teaching method at the school. This method engages law students in a dialogue around some of the most complex legal and social problems. It helps students to prepare for the pressured environment of a boardroom, a courtroom or a legislative chamber.

Research is conducted at the university’s numerous research centres, such as the Kreisman Initiative on Housing Law and Policy and the Centre for Law, Philosophy and Human Values. The Law School publishes its research in six professional journals, three of which are edited by students.

4. Harvard University 

Harvard University Law School offers a JD Programme, an LLM programme and and SJD programme. 

Students are also able to study for a joint law degree with other subjects including public health, business and urban planning. 

There are more than 400 courses, seminars and reading groups available. Many of these courses have less than 25 students enrolled meaning that students will benefit from working in smaller groups. Some of the courses available include advertising law, animal law, criminal law, critical race theory, cyberlaw and many more. 

There are also a range of clinical and pro bono programmes which allows students to allows students to gain practical legal experience under the supervision of licensed lawyers. 

3. Yale University

There are five degree programmes offered at Yale Law School: the JD programme; master of laws; doctor of the science of law; master of studies in law; and the PhD in law. The school also offers joint degrees with other academic disciplines.

Yale Law School allows students to take clinics and appear in court during the spring of their first year, which is unusual among law schools. There are almost 30 clinics available for students to choose from, and students may take more than one clinic.

The Law School organises a range of events and workshops throughout the year. These include the Bert Wasserman Workshop in Law and Finance and the Abdallah S. Kamel Lectures on Islamic Law and Civilisation.

The Yale Law School Center for Global Legal Challenges allows students and academics to interact with the public and private sector using international law, foreign affairs law and national security law to tackle some of the biggest global challenges.

What can you do with a law degree?

2. New York University

New York University’s School of Law was established in 1835.

The School of Law offers the JD for undergraduate students. Also offered are dual JD degrees in various fields such as taxation, international law, economics, history, philosophy or politics and French studies. There are a number of graduate programmes available, as well as LLM dual degrees with other schools including the University of Melbourne Law School and the National University of Singapore.

There are more than 40 clinics and externships at NYU such as the Centre for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging and the Centre for Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law, which give students the opportunity to gain real-life legal experience.

Students also have the opportunity to study abroad as part of NYU Law Abroad in Buenos Aires and Paris.

1. Stanford University

Stanford Law School was established in 1893 and has since become one of the world’s leading law schools.

There are three types of joint degree programmes available at Stanford Law School: JD/master’s; JD/MD and JD/PhD. These degrees are offered across 21 different subject areas.

The school also offers four advanced degree programmes: master of laws; the Stanford programme in international legal studies; master of legal studies; and the doctor of the science of law degree.

Stanford Law School works closely with the Mills Legal Clinic. Within this are 11 clinics where students work on real cases in areas including criminal defence, environmental law, immigrants’ rights and religious liberty. All the clinics are directed by faculty members.

Stanford Law School set up the law and policy lab to encourage students to engage in public policy. Under the guidance of staff, students advise clients on a range of areas including energy and the environment, education, and copyright and patent reform.

Top universities in the US for law degrees 2023

Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2023 profile

US law rank 2023  WUR law rank 2023  University State
1  1  Stanford University California
2  2  New York University New York
3  5  Yale University Connecticut
4  6  Harvard University Massachusetts
5  10  The University of Chicago Illinois
6  12  Columbia University New York
7  13  University of California, Berkeley California
8  =21  University of California, Los Angeles California
9  25  University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Michigan
10  27  Cornell University New York
11  28  Duke University North Carolina
12  31  Georgetown University Washington D.C
13  =34  University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
14  =36  University of Virginia (Main campus) Virginia
15  44  University of Washington Washington
16  49  George Mason University Virginia
17  52  George Washington University Washington D.C
18  58  American University Washington D.C
19  74  University of Minnesota Minnesota
20  77  University of Texas at Austin Texas
21  =83  Boston University Massachusetts
22  =87  Indiana University Indiana
23  =90  University of California, Irvine California
24  93  Vanderbilt University Tennessee
25  94  University of Florida Florida
26  =98  Northeastern University Massachusetts
=27  101–125  University of Colorado Boulder Colorado
=27  101–125  University of Miami Florida
=27  101–125  Northwestern University Illinois
=30  126–150  Arizona State University (Tempe) Arizona
=30  126–150  Boston College Massachusetts
=30  126–150  Emory University Georgia
=30  126–150  University of Houston Texas
=30  126–150  Michigan State University Michigan
=30  126–150  Temple University Pennsylvania
=36  151–175  University at Buffalo New York
=36  151–175  Florida International University Florida
=36  151–175  Florida State University Florida
=36  151–175  University of Iowa Iowa
=36  151–175  University of Kentucky Kentucky
=36  151–175  Penn State (Main campus) Pennsylvania
=42  176–200  University of Arkansas Arkansas
=42  176–200  University of Connecticut Connecticut
=42  176–200  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Illinois
=42  176–200  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill North Carolina
=42  176–200  Ohio State University (Main campus) Ohio
=42  176–200  University of South Carolina-Columbia South Carolina
=42  176–200  Southern Illinois University Carbondale Illinois
=49  201–250  University of Alabama Alabama
=49  201–250  University of Arizona Arizona
=49  201–250  University of California, Davis California
=49  201–250  Drexel University Pennsylvania
=49  201–250  University of Georgia Georgia
=49  201–250  Georgia State University Georgia
=49  201–250  Louisiana State University Louisiana
=49  201–250  University of Nebraska-Lincoln Nebraska
=49  201–250  University of Nevada, Las Vegas Nevada
=49  201–250  University of Notre Dame Indiana
=49  201–250  University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus Pennsylvania
=49  201–250  Saint Louis University Missouri
=49  201–250  University of Southern California California
=49  201–250  University of Utah Utah
=49  201–250  Washington University in St Louis Missouri
=49  201–250  Wayne State University Michigan
=49  201–250  William & Mary Virginia
=49  201–250  University of Wisconsin-Madison Wisconsin
67  251+  University of Denver Colorado

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