Law school rankings are not everything when it comes to choosing the right schools to apply to, but they may help you narrow down which programs you might want to pursue. Keep in mind that just because a school is known for low law school acceptance rates, does not mean that it's a great school for you. You must do a lot of your own research to figure out whether a program is the right fit. The law school rankings below can help you start your selection process as you familiarize yourself with law schools in the US and Canada.
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Law School Rankings: The Best Law Schools in the US
The following are the best law schools in the US based on the bar exam pass rate. After all, a school with a high bar exam passing rate is a lot more useful to you than a school that requires a really high LSAT score or a high GPA! We also include the median GPA, LSAT, and overall acceptance rate in the table so you can make a more informed decision.
Law School Rankings: The Best Law Schools in Canada
The list below outlines the bar exam passing rate by province. Since in Canada, each province has its own jurisdictions, we decided to demonstrate which of the law schools you can attend in each province and pass the bar your first time.
British Columbia: 94.1% passing rate
Law schools in BC:
- University of British Columbia
- Thompson Rivers University
- University of Victoria
Ontario: 90% passing rate
Law schools in Ontario:
- Lakehead University, Bora Laskin Faculty of Law
- Toronto Metropolitan University, Lincoln Alexander School of Law
- York University, Osgood Hall Law School
- University of Ottawa
- Queen’s University
- University of Toronto
- Western University
- University of Windsor
Quebec: 80%-85% passing rate
Law schools in Quebec:
- Université Laval – Baccalauréat en Droit
- McGill University – Faculty of Law
- Université de Montréal – Faculté de Droit
- Université du Québec – Faculté de Science Politique & Droit
- Université de Sherbrooke – Faculté de droit
New Brunswick: N/A
- Law schools in New Brunswick
- University of New Brunswick – Faculty of Law
- Université de Moncton – Faculté de Droit
***Four of the provinces have canceled the bar exam requirement***:
- University of Alberta – Faculty of Law
- University of Calgary – Faculty of Law
- University of Manitoba – Robson Hall Faculty of Law
- University of Saskatchewan – College of Law
- Dalhousie University – Schulich School of Law
Do you need to submit law school optional essays? Check out our tips below:
Law School Rankings: How to Get Accepted
Use the information provided above to choose the best law school for you. Remember that prestige and name are fleeting. The worth of your law school education is mostly up to you – whether you go to Stanford Law School or a less-known program, it’s up to you to build your academic and professional reputation. A grad from an Ivy League law school with poor recommendations and little experience will not impress employers.
So how can the information we provide above help you choose the right schools to apply to? Here’re the steps you can take to increase your chances of admission and further success in your legal career:
Step 1: Research the Schools’ GPA and LSAT Requirements
In our table, we provide you with the median accepted GPA and LSAT for each of the schools. While we do not believe these stats determine whether you will be a good lawyer, many law schools in Canada and the US do pay special attention to these 2 application components. Remember, law school admissions are very competitive. Schools get thousands of applicants each year and do everything in their power to narrow down the pool of applicants. Commonly, GPA and LSAT scores are used to shrink the number of applications the admissions committee has to review. This is why it's important to aim for a really high GPA and LSAT score – not because they will necessarily make you a good lawyer, but because you do not want to give the admissions committee any reason to cut you out of the applicant pool.
With that said, out of the law school rankings we provide above, apply to schools where you at least meet the GPA and LSAT requirements. It’s best if you exceed the requirements set by the school. Once you narrow down your list to the schools where you meet these two law school requirements, you can start being more selective in terms of the kind of schools and work you want to pursue. But it’s important to look at the stats cut-offs first, so you do not apply to schools you like but have little chance of getting into because of GPA and LSAT.
Step 2: If You Have the Chance, Increase your GPA and LSAT
If you're seeing that your GPA and LSAT are not competitive for most schools, consider increasing these application components. The truth is, your GPA and LSAT are usually reviewed first. They are considered indicators of your academic abilities. So, if you find that your stats are not enough to get into law school, you might want to do some extra work. There are ways you can get into law school with a low GPA, and one of the most common ways is to use the LSAT to outweigh low grades. But if both of these items are on the lower spectrum in your application, then it’s worthwhile to improve them.
Here're some ways you can increase your GPA and LSAT:
Step 3: Research the Schools’ Mission, Goals, and Values
Now that you have your school selections based on admissions stats, you can do more research into their mission, values, goals, and the kind of work they do. Find schools that align with your career and personal goals. Choose 10 to 15 schools you believe will get you where you want to go in your career and start brainstorming your application.
This research step into mission and values will further help with brainstorming what events, experiences, skills, and qualities you will want to emphasize in your application and interview – so, do a thorough job before you jump into the next steps.
Important reminder: while we do encourage you to apply mostly to schools where your statistics at least meet the set GPA and LSAT standards, you can have a couple of "reach schools", i.e., schools that have higher GPA and LSAT expectations than your grades and scores. This is especially true if your law school extracurriculars or work experiences make you an absolutely perfect fit for that school’s mission and goals. With the right skills and knowledge, a law school may overlook slightly lower scores. And we mean slightly lower – do not expect to be admitted to a school with a 3.8 median GPA if you have a 2.8 GPA.
Step 4: Submit Really Strong Essays
Based on what you learn about your chosen schools from your research, you can start drafting your law school personal statement and your law school optional essays. Note what the schools are looking for based on their mission statement and their community engagement. Are they dedicated to equity and diversity? Are they working with underserved communities? Do they do pro-bono work with certain organizations? All this will help you reflect on what kind of story about yourself you will want to share in your law school admissions essays.
Keep in mind that most schools, whether you’re applying through a unified application system like OLSAS or to each school individually, look for a personal statement that answers the question “why do you want to be a lawyer?” Many schools will not present you with a law school essay prompt that directly asks you this question, but it is truly what’s being asked in this essay. In a page or two, you must outline what events influenced you to pursue a career in law. Remember to stick to the individual essay requirements of each application system – you do not want to disregard these under any circumstances.
A tip for your law school personal statement: stick to 1 to 3 events or experiences that led you to pursue law. This is not a law school resume – it's narrative, which means you will want to expand on each event with some detail. Sticking to 1 to 3 events will allow you to provide the reader with a captivating narrative of your journey.
In addition to your law school personal statement, you might need to submit supplemental materials like a law school diversity statement or a law school addendum. Make sure you research all the requirements of your chosen schools and be ready to submit them.
When it comes to additional essays, there are some general rules you must follow:
Rule #1 is to answer the prompt. Yes, it’s that simple, but many students overlook this. While your law school personal statement does not usually come with a prompt, optional essays, addendums, and other supplemental essays will usually have prompts – read them carefully and make sure to address them. For example, if your prompt is asking you to reference a specific value of the program, like innovation, make sure to address innovation in your submission – not something else. Remember that most law school essay prompts are quite open, so you do not need to worry that you will not have something to say – you can tailor an experience to address the prompt you are presented with. Simply do not ignore the prompt! Make sure to tailor your essays accordingly.
Rule #2 is to follow all the guidelines. Make sure to stick to the character or word limit and submit the essays on time. Even the most impressive essay will not be considered if it’s late or too long.
Rule #3 is to demonstrate and use examples. This is a rule for all admissions tools – make sure you show and not tell. Ultimately, no matter the admissions requirement, the school you're applying to wants to know why they should choose you. Instead of simply stating vague claims like "I am a leader. I have strong attention to detail. I have great organization skills.", show them that you possess these skills via actions. Remember, actions speak louder than words. If you're a leader, provide them with an example from your life where you showcased your leadership skills. If you have great attention to detail, submit an essay without any typos that follows the submission guidelines to the letter. And this goes beyond your essays – if you have great organizational skills, demonstrate them by having a flawless setup for your law school video interview.
Rule #4 is to proofread. This goes without saying. Your essays must be completely error-free.
Check out more tips for law school personal statement:
Step 5: Secure Strong Recommendations
Once you do everything in your power to showcase what a great candidate you are via your grades, scores, essays, extracurriculars, etc., let someone from the legal community support your candidacy. This will allow for an objective assessment of your suitability, skills, and character.
Typically, programs will ask for 2 or 3 law school letters of recommendation. Some law schools may even indicate what kind of referees they want to write your letters, i.e., professors, management, colleagues, volunteer supervisors, and so on. A lot may also depend on your current circumstances: if you are a non-traditional applicant, it might be more challenging for you to get 3 academic references, so schools will adjust their requirements accordingly. Make sure to research the recommendation letter standards and follow them to the T.
Your law school letters of recommendation must be very strong. You do not want mediocre letters. They must be glowing, complementing your own submissions. To get a strong letter, let your writers know what kind of experiences, qualities, and events from their time with you they should highlight. Provide them with your CV, resume, a draft of your personal statement, and anything else that may help them write a strong letter. Make sure to remind them of the deadline and send a follow-up email 2 weeks before the letter is due if it has not been submitted.
Step 6. Ace the Interview
If all goes well with your application, you will most likely be asked to attend a law school interview. This is really the last step before admissions decisions are made. If you’re invited to an interview, this means that you made a great impression on paper, so now it’s time to make a great impression in person.
Even before you get an invite, it might be prudent to start preparing for your law school interview. How to prepare for your law school interview may depend on the format, but there are some common steps you should take no matter what kind of interview you have. Firstly, figure out whether you’re having an MMI interview, a panel interview, a one-on-one interview, and so on. This will really determine what kind of law school interview questions you will practice with.
Some law school interview questions like “why law?”, “tell me about yourself”, or “why our school?” will be used in most interview formats, so make sure to brainstorm and prepare for them. Use mock law school interviews to get comfortable with the interview format and questions. A realistic simulation will help you get comfortable and perform well on the day of the interview. It’s best to work with law school admissions consulting professionals because they will be able to provide you feedback on your performance so you can work on improving your interview skills.
After the interview, make sure to follow up within 24 hours to thank your interviewer for their time. And remember, if your chosen school accepts a law school letter of continued interest, you might want to update them on your status if you do not hear back from the admissions office after a couple of months.
Here're some law school interview questions to practice with!
Other Law School Ranking Factors to Consider
Ultimately, law school rankings are not going to be the biggest influence on your school choice. There are factors that may affect your school list much more than the bar exam passing rate or average accepted GPA. The two biggest ones are location and cost.
The location of a school has a tremendous influence on whether you can apply to and attend it. There are many states where it’s hard to establish residency in order to pay in-state tuition and then practice. This means higher costs for you and ambiguity as to whether you will be able to establish yourself as a lawyer in the state where you make all your professional connections. That’s a grim prospect.
Cost is also an important factor that may influence where you want to attend law school. Your tuition, fees, and living costs add up. If money is a concern (and for most of us, it is) then try looking at schools with great financial aid, as well as grants and scholarships you will be eligible for. You will need to get used to the idea that you will be graduating with debt, but you can try to make as much of a dent in it as possible by attending a school that provides you with some financial support.
1. What is the best law school in the US?
According to our law school rankings, the University of Virginia School of Law is the best law school in the United States.
2. What is the best law school in Canada?
Law schools in British Columbia have the highest bar exam passing rate, but there are many great law schools in Canada to choose from.
3. What are the easiest law schools to get into in the US?
The 3 easiest law schools to get into in the US based on acceptance rates are Creighton University, University of Wyoming, and Marquette University.
4. What are the easiest law schools to get into in Canada?
Based on acceptance rates, the 3 easiest law schools to get into in Canada are the University of Manitoba, the University of Alberta, and McGill University.
5. What GPA do I need to get into law school in US and/or Canada?
Research each school individually, but you should aim to have a GPA of 3.6 to be a competitive candidate.
6. What LSAT score do I need to get into law school in US and/or Canada?
Research each school you’re applying to, but you should aim to have an LSAT score of 158-160 to be a competitive candidate.
7. Do all law schools in Canada and the US require the LSAT?
No, not all. Some substitute the LSAT with other standardized tests like GRE, or other application components.
8. How do I choose which law schools to apply to?
Choose the schools where your GPA and LSAT meet the requirements and apply to schools that will help you meet your career goals.
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