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Top 5 Law Schools in California

California is a great state to be a law student. You’ll be spending a lot of time in the library, preparing for classes and exams, so it helps to be in a state that offers you beaches, great weather, and city life on the weekends! Check out our guide to the best law schools in California to help you decide which ones you’d like to apply to.

1. Stanford Law School

Stanford is a top-three law school that helps make up the HYS trinity (Harvard, Yale, and Stanford). Stanford’s admissions process is very competitive, as the school accepts only 9.92% of applicants, so your Stanford application needs to be very strong. However, those who make it past the admissions stage report loving the school’s tightknit community and emphasis on academics. Students benefit from a small class size of 180 students and have access to world-class professors, particularly thanks to Stanford’s 4:1 student-faculty ratio. Upon graduating, students become part of a powerful alumni network that places grads in all fields, including law, business, tech, and nonprofit work.
LSAT 25th-75th percentile: 168-173
GPA 25th-75th percentile: 3.79-3.95

2. UC Berkeley School of Law – Boalt Hall

Berkeley is known for being one of the top public schools in the nation, and its law school is no exception. In 2018, US News ranked Berkeley the 9th best law school in the country. Admissions are competitive, as the school boasts an acceptance rate of just over 22%. Although it’s one of the largest law schools with over 900 students, students still benefit from a low overall student-faculty ratio (5.2:1). Graduates most often go on to work in firms, business, government, and public interest.
LSAT 25th-75th percentile: 162-168
GPA 25th-75th percentile: 3.66-3.90

3. UCLA School of Law

UCLA’s law school is even larger than Berkeley’s, and its student population numbers almost a thousand. That said, the school still has a very low student-faculty ratio (7.1:1), and students graduate into a large alumni base that most commonly plants UCLA roots in firms, business, government, and public interest. The school has an acceptance rate of about 30%. Although tuition at UCLA is expensive for a public school (even California residents have to pay over $45,000 a year in tuition), 80% of students report receiving a scholarship of some kind.
LSAT 25th-75th percentile: 164-168
GPA 25th-75th percentile: 3.66-3.88

4. Gould School of Law, USC

Getting accepted to Gould, like the other law schools in California on this list, is not easy—only about 24.4% of candidates are admitted. You can increase your chances of acceptance by applying early decision – USC is rare in that it offers this option to students who would unequivocally attend USC despite any other acceptances on the table. Gould enrolls about 600 students and offers a student-faculty ratio of 6.4:1. Graduates commonly go on to work in law firms and in government.
LSAT 25th-75th percentile: 162-166
GPA 25th-75th percentile: 3.49-3.86

5. UC Davis School of Law – King Hall

The law school at UC Davis is similarly tough to get into, as the school has a 29.7% acceptance rate. About 500 students make up the law school student body. UC Davis gives students the opportunity for individualized academic attention with its 7.1:1 student-faculty ratio and the chance to participate in more than forty student organizations. Most graduates go on to work in law firms and government. However, alums typically choose to work at small law firms instead of large firms.
LSAT 25th-75th percentile: 157-165
GPA 25th-75th percentile: 3.37-3.73

Other Law Schools in California

There are plenty of other excellent law schools in California. A great place to start your search is startclass, where you can search by location, acceptance rate, median LSAT, median GPA, bar pass rate, or even “smart rank.” Happy hunting!

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