Some of the hardest law schools to get into are also the most expensive. With an average law school length of three years, the annual tuition costs definitely add up. This infographic explores the hardest law schools to get into based on their acceptance rates and provides fascinating insights into their annual cost, median GPA, employment rate after 10 months, and bar passage rate.
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How Much Does it Cost to Become a Lawyer?
The average annual tuition and fees for the 2019-20 academic year added up to $49,548 for private law schools and $28,248 for public law schools, according to a U.S. News & World Report annual survey. The difference between the average annual tuition for private schools and the average annual tuition at public schools is a staggering $21,300. Keep in mind that all of these numbers apply only for in-state law school tuition. However, it’s important to note that degrees from the most expensive law schools often correlate with the best-paying jobs for students following graduation.
What Are the Top Law Schools in the U.S.?
According to the U.S. News 2021 law school rankings, here are the top law schools in the U.S. and how many students they enroll each year:
- Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut: 630 students
- Stanford University, Stanford, California: 567 students
- Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts: 1,740 students
- Columbia University, New York, New York: 1,244 students
- University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois: 614 students
- New York University, New York, New York: 1,379 students
- University of Pennsylvania (Carey), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 772 students
- University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia: 964 students
- Northwestern University (Pritzker), Chicago, Illinois: 747 students
- University of California (Berkeley), Berkeley, California: 986 students
U.S. News determined these top schools with a thorough methodology; 194 law schools fully accredited by the American Bar Association were ranked on 12 measures of quality. Scores include peer assessment (how the deans and other faculty rank the law school), lawyer and judge assessment (how practicing attorneys and judges rank the law school), selectivity, median LSAT and GRE scores, median undergraduate GPA, acceptance rate, placement success, bar passage rate, faculty resources, expenditures per student, student/faculty ratio, and library resources.
What Is the Average Salary of a Lawyer?
The national average salary of a lawyer is $122,960, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is more than double the average annual salary for all occupations, $51,960. Here are the highest-paying states for lawyers and the average lawyer salary in each:
- California: $171,550
- New York: $167,110
- Massachusetts: $165,610
- Connecticut: $153,640
- Illinois: $152,980
- Texas: $150,250
- Colorado: $147,560
- Arizona: $145,750
- Virginia: $139,180
- New Jersey: $139,020
The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook projects that the employment of lawyers will increase by 50,100 from 2018 to 2028. At a rate of 6%, the growth in this field is predicted to be about the same as the average growth for all occupations.