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Top 5 Law Schools in California

Who doesn’t dream of spending time on a beach in California? While you’ll spend a lot of time in the library as a law student, preparing for classes and exams, you’ll still have time to explore and have fun. So, why not study somewhere beautiful—at one of the top law schools in California!

Check out our guide to the top five California law schools to help you decide which one is right for you.
 

Top Law Schools In California

1. Stanford Law School

Stanford’s admissions process is very competitive. The school accepts only 8.7% of applicants, so your Stanford application needs to stands out from the rest. However, it’s definitely worth trying to get in—students report loving the school’s tightknit community and emphasis on academics.

Additionally, 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. Another bonus, Stanford Law is ranked number 1 in the country for intellectual property law. Upon graduating, students become part of a powerful alumni network and 90% of students are employed within 10 months.

Here are some helpful numbers to keep in mind when applying:

 
LSAT 25th-75th percentile: 169-174
GPA 25th-75th percentile: 3.82-3.99
 

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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 2019, Berkeley tied for the 10th best law school in the country. Not surprisingly, admissions are competitive—the school boasts an acceptance rate of just over 20.2%.

Although it’s one of the largest law schools with over 900 students, students still benefit from a low overall student-faculty ratio (5.8:1). And like Stanford Law, over 90% of graduates are employed within a year of graduation, with many working in government and public interest.

Here are the numbers Berkeley is looking for:

LSAT 25th-75th percentile: 165-170
GPA 25th-75th percentile: 3.64-3.90
 

3. UCLA School of Law

UCLA’s law school is even larger than Berkeley’s, with around 950 students. That said, the school still has a very low student-faculty ratio (5.9:1), and students graduate into an extensive and active alumni base. Even with such a large student body, UCLA Law has a competitive acceptance rate of 22.5%.

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. Also, if you’re interested in environmental law, the high tuition might be worth it for you–UCLA ranks number four in the country for that field of study.

Here’s what you’ll need to join UCLA Law:

LSAT 25th-75th percentile: 165-169
GPA 25th-75th percentile: 3.52-3.85
 

4. Gould School of Law, USC

Like the other law schools in California on this list, getting into Gould is not easy—only about 19.2% of candidates are admitted. However, you can increase your chances of acceptance by applying early decision—a rare option in the world of law schools. Gould enrolls about 600 students, yet maintains a student-faculty ratio of 5.9:1. Graduates commonly go on to work in law firms and in government.

Numbers to keep in mind for Gould:
 
LSAT 25th-75th percentile: 163-167
GPA 25th-75th percentile: 3.61-3.89
 

5. University of California – Irvine

UC Irvine is a competitive law school, with only about one in four applicants getting accepted. With a top clinical training program and tax law program, it’s easy to see why so many students want to attend. With only a little over 500 students, UC Irvine is one of the smaller California schools on the list. The student faculty ratio is 5.8:1, ensuring personalized attention and access to professors throughout your time in law school.

UC Irvine by the numbers:

LSAT 25th-75th percentile: 161-165
GPA 25th-75th percentile: 3.4-3.73
 

Other Law Schools in California

There are lots of other excellent law schools in California, like UC Davis, besides the top five listed here. If you’re interested in learning about other California schools, start your search with startclass, where you can search by location, acceptance rate, median LSAT, median GPA, bar pass rate, or even “smart rank.” You can also check out the top 100 law schools in the country to see where else you may want to attend!

Takeaway

The top law schools in California are very competitive, and you’ll need a strong GPA and LSAT score to have a chance of getting accepted. These schools offer rigorous academic programs and feature some of the best clinical programs and specialized law programs in the country. If you’ve got your sights set on attending one of these top California schools, be sure to set your study plan early and get the best LSAT score you can!

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