2017 U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings: Highs, Lows and Specialties

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Summary: Learn more about the 2017 law school rankings released by U.S. News & World Report in this in-depth article.
 
2017 U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings: Highs, Lows and Specialties

The U.S. News & World Report law school rankings are back, catching the attention of students, attorneys and law school administrators throughout the country. This year’s rankings reveal upgrades or downgrades for schools like the University of Michigan, the University of Cincinnati and Brooklyn Law School, as well as tuition and enrollment variations among schools.
 
None of the three highest ranked schools took top honors in any specialty category, but all three placed in the top ten of at least two specialties categories.
   

View the top 100 law schools by their updated rankings in the below chart:
 
Rank Law School Name Tuition and Fees Enrollment (full-time) LSAT scores (25th-75th percentile) Acceptance Rate Employed 10 months after graduation
1 Yale University $58,050 per year (full-time) 614 171-176 9.7% 86.1%
2 Harvard University $58,242 per year (full-time) 1,767 170-175 17.9% 94.4%
2 Stanford University $56,274 per year (full-time) 572 169-173 11.3% 93.0%
4 Columbia University $62,700 per year (full-time) 1,165 168-173 21.3% 95.7%
4 University of Chicago $56,916 per year (full-time) 617 166-172 21.9% 96.2%
6 New York University $59,330 per year (full-time) 1395 166-171 33.1% 96.7%
7 University of Pennsylvania $58,918 per year (full-time) 753 163-170 18.8% 97.8%
8 University of California-Berkeley $48,679 per year (in-state, full-time); $52,630 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 935 162-168 21.1% 95.5%
8 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor $53,112 per year (in-state, full-time); $56,112 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 932 164-169 28.0% 93.3%
8 University of Virginia $54,000 per year (in-state, full-time); $57,000 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 934 163-170 20.2% 96.6%
11 Duke University $57,717 per year (full-time) 668 166-170 23.3% 93.0%
12 Northwestern University (Pritzker) $58,398 per year (full-time) 658 163-169 22.6% 90.0%
13 Cornell University $59,900 per year (full-time) 588 164-168 30.6% 96.3%
14 Georgetown University $55,255 per year (full-time) 1725 161-168 28.1% 87.2%
15 University of Texas-Austin $33,162 per year (in-state, full-time); $49,244 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 949 162-169 21.9% 86.9%
16 Vanderbilt University $51,360 per year (full-time) 538 161-168 38.1% 87.1%
17 University of California-Los Angeles $45,284 per year (in-state, full-time); $51,778 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 974 162-169 29.7% 87.5%
18 Washington University in St. Louis $51,626 per year (full-time) 684 161-168 27.6% 91.1%
19 University of Southern California (Gould) $58,022 per year (full-time) 598 161-167 29.9% 85.7%
20 Boston University $49,330 per year (full-time) 672 160-164 37.9% 80.5%
20 University of Iowa $24,177 per year (in-state, full-time); $42,021 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 387 156-162 43.5% 86.9%
22 Emory University $51,510 per year (full-time) 836 156-166 32.0% 89.9%
22 University of Minnesota $42,231 per year (in-state, full-time); $50,373 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 632 158-166 44.4% 81.5%
22 University of Notre Dame $52,372 per year (full-time) 581 161-165 35.0% 85.5%
25 Arizona State University (O'Connor) $27,074 per year (in-state, full-time); $42,794 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 623 158-163 43.3% 88.4%
25 George Washington University $54,114 per year (full-time) 1469 158-166 39.7% 89.2%
25 Indiana University-Bloomington (Maurer) $31,800 per year (in-state, full-time); $51,800 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 538 155-162 53.1% 82.4%
28 University of Alabama $22,324 per year (in-state, full-time); $37,664 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 431 156-164 36.7% 85.4%
28 University of California-Irvine $44,765 per year (in-state, full-time); $51,259 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 334 161-165 26.5% 84.9%
30 Boston College $48,670 per year (full-time) 694 158-163 45.3% 83.9%
30 Ohio State University (Moritz) $29,131 per year (in-state, full-time); $44,081 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 523 156-161 49.7% 89.0%
30 University of California-Davis $47,339 per year (in-state, full-time); $56,590 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 494 159-165 31.1% 82.2%
33 College of William and Mary (Marshall-Wythe) $30,800 per year (in-state, full-time); $39,800 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 645 158-164 36.2% 82.3%
33 University of Georgia $19,476 per year (in-state, full-time); $37,524 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 576 156-164 33.0% 77.9%
33 University of Washington $31,962 per year (in-state, full-time); $44,124 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 496 159-166 26.9% 74.5%
33 University of Wisconsin-Madison $21,378 per year (in-state, full-time); $40,074 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 519 155-162 48.8% 79.7%
37 Fordham University $54,116 per year (full-time) 956 160-165 35.1% 74.3%
38 Brigham Young University (Clark) $11,970 per year (LDS member, full-time); $23,940 per year (Non-LDS member, full-time) 392 156-164 40.3% 88.4%
38 University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill $23,041 per year (in-state, full-time); $39,672 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 657 160-164 44.6% 77.0%
40 University of Arizona (Rogers) $24,500 per year (in-state, full-time); $29,000 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 359 155-162 32.5% 81.9%
40 University of Colorado-Boulder $31,864 per year (in-state, full-time); $38,650 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 555 157-163 46.3% 78.8%
40 University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign $41,328 per year (in-state, full-time); $49,078 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 477 158-163 45.7% 82.2%
40 Wake Forest University $42,738 per year (full-time) 492 157-162 56.1% 83.4%
40 Washington and Lee University $46,497 per year (full-time) 314 158-162 48.6% 74.8%
45 George Mason University $25,351 per year (in-state, full-time); $40,737 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 329 156-162 34.9% 79.9%
45 Southern Methodist University (Dedman) $49,962 per year (full-time) 560 156-163 46.9% 82.7%
45 University of Utah (Quinney) $25,752 per year (in-state, full-time); $48,908 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 322 154-160 47.1% 78.0%
48 University of Florida (Levin) $22,299 per year (in-state, full-time); $38,904 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 961 155-160 61.8% 76.1%
48 University of Maryland (Carey) $30,177 per year (in-state, full-time); $43,657 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 514 154-160 53.7% 77.4%
50 Florida State University $20,683 per year (in-state, full-time); $40,695 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 565 156-161 43.9% 77.2%
50 Temple University (Beasley) $23,336 per year (in-state, full-time); $36,336 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 534 155-162 43.1% 71.4%
50 Tulane University $51,130 per year (full-time) 570 155-161 60.2% 76.1%
50 University of California (Hastings) $48,638 per year (in-state, full-time); $54,638 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 903 155-161 42.1% 58.0%
50 University of Houston $29,784 per year (in-state, full-time); $44,044 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 605 155-161 38.3% 83.6%
55 Baylor University $55,547 per year (full-time) 393 158-162 29.0% 73.5%
55 University of Richmond $39,950 per year (full-time) 469 155-161 41.7% 81.9%
57 Case Western Reserve University $48,760 per year (full-time) 380 156-162 41.8% 66.1%
57 Georgia State University $16,858 per year (in-state, full-time); $36,466 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 455 155-160 27.8% 79.7%
57 University of Nebraska-Lincoln $14,721 per year (in-state, full-time); $33,415 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 330 152-158 62.2% 87.2%
60 University of Cincinnati $24,010 per year (in-state, full-time); $29,010 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 277 152-157 58.4% 82.4%
60 University of Kentucky $21,618 per year (in-state, full-time); $40,836 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 374 152-158 60.2% 88.7%
60 University of Miami $47,774 per year (full-time) 909 154-160 54.4% 79.4%
60 University of New Mexico $16,490 per year (in-state, full-time); $35,183 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 344 150-157 41.7% 86.5%
60 University of Oklahoma $19,973 per year (in-state, full-time); $30,398 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 467 154-159 49.2% 79.0%
65 Loyola Marymount University $50,050 per year (full-time) 800 156-161 44.7% 71.0%
65 Pepperdine University $51,180 per year (full-time) 598 154-161 48.7% 59.6%
65 Seton Hall University $51,018 per year (full-time) 353 153-159 48.6% 83.5%
65 University of Connecticut $27,934 per year (in-state, full-time); $57,852 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 328 153-158 50.9% 69.0%
65 University of Kansas $20,718 per year (in-state, full-time); $35,328 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 362 152-159 65.8% 79.8%
65 University of Missouri $20,771 per year (in-state, full-time); $38,400 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 324 154-159 58.8% 80.7%
65 University of Tennessee-Knoxville $19,256 per year (in-state, full-time); $37,930 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 385 153-161 37.3% 66.9%
72 Loyola University Chicago $45,288 per year (full-time) 582 155-160 54.0% 71.8%
72 University of Denver (Sturm) $44,530 per year (full-time) 701 154-158 45.1% 65.3%
74 St. John's University $53,290 per year (full-time) 604 154-159 40.6% 73.9%
74 University of San Diego $48,830 per year (full-time) 634 156-161 40.5% 58.6%
74 Villanova University $42,540 per year (full-time) 491 152-158 48.5% 77.7%
74 Yeshiva University (Cardozo) $54,895 per year (full-time) 852 156-161 56.4% 67.3%
78 American University (Washington) $51,002 per year (full-time) 1052 152-158 59.2% 70.2%
78 University of Nevada-Las Vegas $25,749 per year (in-state, full-time); $37,149 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 275 155-161 32.2% 71.2%
78 University of Oregon $31,506 per year (in-state, full-time); $39,210 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 366 154-159 49.0% 59.8%
78 University of Pittsburgh $32,426 per year (in-state, full-time); $40,250 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 453 153-159 36.8% 71.5%
82 Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge (Hebert) $21,947 per year (in-state, full-time); $41,297 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 525 153-158 59.2% 82.0%
82 Northeastern University $46,400 per year (full-time) 453 152-162 34.7% 61.1%
82 St. Louis University $39,195 per year (full-time) 418 152-158 66.3% 78.3%
82 University of New Hampshire School of Law $37,383 per year (in-state, full-time); $41,383 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 215 153-159 53.2% 73.0%
86 Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago-Kent) $46,822 per year (full-time) 635 152-158 62.0% 67.6%
86 Pennsylvania State University (Dickinson) $45,078 per year (in-state, full-time); $45,078 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 157 158-161 38.6% 72.2%
86 Pennsylvania State University-University Park $45,392 per year (in-state, full-time); $45,392 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 354 152-159 43.0% 72.2%
86 Syracuse University $47,178 per year (full-time) 505 151-156 54.6% 72.0%
86 University of Arkansas-Fayetteville $15,224 per year (in-state, full-time); $31,443 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 350 151-158 67.0% 79.1%
86 University of Tulsa $35,529 per year (full-time) 238 151-156 37.2% 84.7%
92 Lewis & Clark College (Northwestern) $41,328 per year (full-time) 414 154-161 58.8% 64.1%
92 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey $26,842 per year (in-state, full-time); $39,048 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 893 153-158 48.8% 71.1%
92 University of Hawaii-Manoa (Richardson) $20,880 per year (in-state, full-time); $42,384 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 232 151-158 36.7% 72.4%
92 University of Louisville (Brandeis) $20,288 per year (in-state, full-time); $37,628 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 302 151-157 68.2% 81.3%
92 University of South Carolina $24,208 per year (in-state, full-time); $48,472 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 618 152-157 58.6% 74.8%
97 Brooklyn Law School $1,526 per credit (full-time) 907 152-158 51.6% 63.9%
97 Wayne State University $30,111 per year (in-state, full-time); $32,894 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 365 154-159 52.1% 62.1%
97 West Virginia University $19,008 per year (in-state, full-time); $35,568 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 323 151-157 52.9% 79.1%
100 Indiana University-Indianapolis (McKinney) $25,625 per year (in-state, full-time); $45,210 per year (out-of-state, full-time) 519 148-156 69.7% 76.0%

Top Ten
 
The rankings reveal few changes to the ranks of the most elite law schools. Yale University remains in the top spot, followed by Harvard University and Stanford University, which share the second spot.
 
Columbia University and the University of Chicago share the fourth spot, while the University of California, Berkeley, Michigan and the University of Virginia share the eighth spot. (Michigan switched places this year with Duke University, with Michigan moving up from No. 11 to No. 8 and Duke moving down from No. 8 to No. 11).
 
The remaining top ten law schools are New York University in the No. 6 spot and the University of Pennsylvania in the No. 7 spot.
   
Top Twenty-Five
 
The additional top 25 law schools are: Duke University (No. 11); Northwestern University (No. 12); Cornell University (No. 13); Georgetown University (No. 14); University of Texas, Austin (No. 15); Vanderbilt University (No. 16); University of California, Los Angeles (No. 17); Washington University in St. Louis (No. 18); University of Southern California (No. 19); Boston University (No. 20); University of Iowa (No. 20); Emory University (No. 22); University of Minnesota (No. 22); University of Notre Dame (No. 22); Arizona State University (No. 25); George Washington University (No. 25); and Indiana University, Bloomington (No. 25).
 
Indiana, Boston University, Michigan, Iowa, Vanderbilt, USC, and Arizona State moved up at least one slot.
 
Greatest Gains and Losses
 
Some law schools made significant gains this year, while others suffered losses. Within the top 100 ranked schools, Cincinnati had the most improved ranking, getting bumped up from No. 79 to No. 60.
 
Other schools that moved up five or more spots are Boston University (up 6 to No. 20); Indiana (up 9 to No. 25); Wake Forest University (up 7 to No. 40); University of California, Hastings (up 9 to No. 50); University of Houston (up 9 to No. 50); University of New Mexico (up 11 to No. 60); University of Oklahoma (up 7 to No. 60); Loyola Marymount University (up 10 to No. 65); Loyola University Chicago (up 6 to No. 72); St. John’s University (up 8 to No. 74); Villanova University (up 13 to No. 74); Louisiana State University, ​Baton Rouge (up 12 to No. 82); Northeastern University (up 5 to No. 82); St. Louis University (up 5 to No. 82); University of New Hampshire School of Law (up 5 to No. 82); and Wayne State University (up 8 to No. 97).
 
On the flip side, Brooklyn Law School experienced the greatest decline in ranking, getting downgraded from No. 78 to No. 97.
 
Other schools that moved down five or more spots are the University of Alabama (down 6 to No. 28); University of Washington (down 5 to No. 33); Pepperdine University (down 13 to No. 65); University of Tennessee, Knoxville (down 13 to No. 65); University of Denver (down 5 to No. 72); American University (down 7 to No. 78); University of Nevada, Las Vegas (down 11 to No. 78); Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago-​Kent) (down 8 to No. 86); Pennsylvania State University (Dickinson) (down 15 to No. 86); Pennsylvania State University, University Park (down 15 to No. 86); University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (down 11 to No. 86); Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (down 5 to No. 92); University of Hawaii, Manoa (down 10 to No. 92); Michigan State University (down 6 to No. 100); and SUNY Buffalo Law School (down 13 to No. 100).
 
Ranking Criteria
 
The U.S. News rankings are based on 2015 and 2016 data and calculated according to the weighted average of various measures including peer assessment scores, median LSAT scores, median undergraduate GPAs, acceptance rates, employment rates for graduates, bar passage rates, and library resources.
 
Enrollment and Cost
 
The U.S. News rankings also include information on enrollment and tuition. Of the top 50 law schools, the school with the highest enrollment is Harvard, with 1,767 students (followed by Georgetown, with 1,725 students). The school with the lowest enrollment is Washington and Lee University, with 314 students (followed by University of California, Irvine, with 334 students).
 
When it comes to tuition and fees, the most expensive of the top 50 law schools is Columbia, at $62,700 per year (followed by Cornell University, at $59,900 per year). The least expensive of the top 50 schools (at least for certain students) is Brigham Young University, at $11,970 per year for full time LDS members (followed by University of Georgia, at $19,476 per year for in state students).
 
Starting Salaries
 
The median starting private sector salary for 2014 law school graduates from 108 schools was between $50,000 and $74,999. Graduates of 39 schools had a median starting salary of between $75,000 and $100,000, while graduates of 30 schools had a median starting salary of more than $100,000.
 
For public sector jobs, graduates from 69 schools had a median starting salary of under $50,000, and graduates from 112 schools had a median starting salary of between $50,000 to $74,999.
 
Specialty Rankings
 
The following law schools each came in No. 1 for the following specialty areas of law: Georgetown for clinical programs (overall rank No. 14); Seattle University for legal writing (overall rank No. 111); Stetson University for trial advocacy (overall rank No. 103); St. Louis University for health care law (overall rank No. 82); Vermont Law School for environmental law (overall rank No. 132); Ohio State University for dispute resolution (overall rank No. 30); Berkeley for intellectual property law (overall rank No. 8); and NYU for both international law and tax law (overall rank No. 6).
 
None of the law schools ranked in the top three overall (Yale, Harvard and Stanford) earned the top spot in any specialty ranking. However, Harvard made the top ten for health care law, dispute resolution, international law and tax law. Yale made the top ten for clinical programs and international law, while Stanford made the top ten for clinical programs and intellectual property law.
 
Conclusions
 
With the rankings now in, ambitious college students can set their sights on making it into law schools in the coveted top ten. Those who aspire to practice in niche areas like environmental or tax law can hone in on the most appropriate schools for them. Meanwhile, law school administrators at upwardly mobile institutions can celebrate their accomplishments this year while their counterparts at schools heading in the other direction can assess how to reverse course and move up by the time the rankings roll around again next year.

Learn the 10 Factors That Matter to Big Firms More Than Where You Went to Law School

See the following articles for more information about law school rankings from previous years:
 




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