Researching Law Schools

With more than 200 ABA-accredited law schools in the U.S., it's important to diligently research schools and identify those where you will be competitive and that interest you.  Every law school is required to publish a "Standard 509 Disclosure" form with data including bar passage rates, academic profile, information about the faculty, and more.  As a "standard" form, this data is easily comparable from school to school, however it requires pulling up the information from each school.  The Law School Admission Council's Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools has a search feature that allows you to pull up a list of all schools or only those in a specific state or region, or to sort by LSAT or GPA profiles.  Each school's page in the online guide will include the following:

  • Information that the law school feels is important to share, from library resources to clinical programs to extra-curricular opportunities.
  • A link to the law school's website.
  • A link to the law school's ABA Data (the Standard 509 Disclosure).

Of all the online resources presented by third parties, one of the most widely used and trusted is the Wilson-Stern Book of Law School Lists.  This does not rank schools, but presents lists to indicate which schools offer opportunities such as:

  • Clinical Programs (arranged by program area)
  • Summer Abroad programs (arranged by schools)
  • Schools offering Need-Based Scholarships
  • Schools with an Evening Division
  • Dual Degree Programs

Ohio State students also have the opportunity to attend The Ohio State Law Fair every autumn.  The largest of its kind in Ohio, the Law Fair is an excellent opportunity to get information about law schools and talk directly with representatives from nearly 100 law schools around the country.

As you collect information that will be useful to you, be sure to figure out what your priorities are - does it matter what state you're in?  How will cost factor in to your decision?  Is there a particular certificate program you're looking for?  Elements to consider when building a list of law schools to apply to:

  • Your GPA and LSAT (or practice LSAT) - where will you be competitive?  What might constitute reach schools or safety schools?
  • Where do you want to live and work after law school?  Graduates of law schools located in cities/states you're considering will have an advantage when it comes to networking in the local community.
  • Academic programs - if you have a sense of the type of law you want to practice, what law schools offer courses, clinics, etc. in that field?
  • Bar passage rate.
  • Job placement.
  • Anything else that is important to you.

 

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