The 50 Law Schools That Are The Hardest To Get Into (2020)


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How can you measure a law school’s worth, aside from the employment statistics of its graduates? Another telling sign of its success may be its acceptance rate. Generally speaking, law schools with low acceptance rates — that is, law schools that were selective when it came to choosing their entering classes — masterfully weathered the storm over the past decade, keeping their standards high during a time when applications plummeted and entering students’ qualifications sank.

But which law schools were the most selective of them all?

Thanks to 24/7 Wall St., there’s a new ranking for that. Here’s their methodology:

Using data from the ABA, 24/7 Wall St. created an index of three measures of selectivity to identify the 50 hardest law schools to get into.

The first index measure is the acceptance rate, or the number of offer letters a school sent in 2019 as a share of the number of applications. The second is the median LSAT score of newly enrolled students in fall 2019, and the third measure is the median undergraduate GPA of newly enrolled students. We also reviewed the share of students in the class of 2018 who took the bar exam and passed on their first attempt.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 law schools that are the hardest to get into:

10. University of Southern California Gould School of Law
• Acceptance rate: 17.7%
• Applications for fall 2019: 5,648
• Median undergrad GPA of new enrollees: 3.80
• Median LSAT score of new enrollees: 166 out of 180
• Bar exam passage rate: 81.0%

9. Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
• Acceptance rate: 18.0%
• Applications for fall 2019: 5,441
• Median undergrad GPA of new enrollees: 3.85
• Median LSAT score of new enrollees: 169 out of 180
• Bar exam passage rate: 92.0%

8. University of Chicago Law School
• Acceptance rate: 18.6%
• Applications for fall 2019: 4,933
• Median undergrad GPA of new enrollees: 3.90
• Median LSAT score of new enrollees: 170 out of 180
• Bar exam passage rate: 90.3%

7. University of Michigan Law School
• Acceptance rate: 16.6%
• Applications for fall 2019: 5,629
• Median undergrad GPA of new enrollees: 3.81
• Median LSAT score of new enrollees: 169 out of 180
• Bar exam passage rate: 93.8%

6. Columbia Law School
• Acceptance rate: 15.9%
• Applications for fall 2019: 7,193
• Median undergrad GPA of new enrollees: 3.80
• Median LSAT score of new enrollees: 172 out of 180
• Bar exam passage rate: 97.3%

5. University of Virginia School of Law
• Acceptance rate: 14.7%
• Applications for fall 2019: 5,645
• Median undergrad GPA of new enrollees: 3.90
• Median LSAT score of new enrollees: 170 out of 180
• Bar exam passage rate: 95.3%

4. University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
• Acceptance rate: 14.5%
• Applications for fall 2019: 6,483
• Median undergrad GPA of new enrollees: 3.89
• Median LSAT score of new enrollees: 170 out of 180
• Bar exam passage rate: 92.1%

3. Harvard Law School
• Acceptance rate: 12.5%
• Applications for fall 2019: 7,333
• Median undergrad GPA of new enrollees: 3.89
• Median LSAT score of new enrollees: 173 out of 180
• Bar exam passage rate: 96.5%

2. Stanford Law School
• Acceptance rate: 9.7%
• Applications for fall 2019: 3,908
• Median undergrad GPA of new enrollees: 3.91
• Median LSAT score of new enrollees: 171 out of 180
• Bar exam passage rate: 94.7%

1. Yale Law School
• Acceptance rate: 8.2%
• Applications for fall 2019: 3,198
• Median undergrad GPA of new enrollees: 3.93
• Median LSAT score of new enrollees: 173 out of 180
• Bar exam passage rate: 96.8%

Click here to see the rest of the Top 50.

As you may have guessed, the law schools that are the most difficult to get into are some of the usual suspects, perhaps better described as the elite schools found at the tippy top of the U.S. News rankings (although they’re out of order here). Absent from the list are NYU and Duke, but look at which law school managed to sneak into the top 10 — it’s USC, which is currently ranked No. 17 by U.S. News. Way to go!

Where does your law school stand when it comes to its selectivity? Based on the new 24/7 Wall St. ranking, you may be surprised.

Degree of difficulty: These are 50 of the toughest US law schools to get into [USA Today via 24/7 Wall St.]


Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.





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