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September 11, 2017updated 21 Jul 2021 4:30pm

Best law schools in the world

By Spear's

Choosing which law school to apply to is a big step for any aspiring lawyer. From schools with the best career prospects to those offering the opportunity to study abroad, we take a look at some of the best eight law schools in the world.

Law schools in America are known for being among the best in the world. Whether you’re drawn to Ivy League institutions credited with educating the likes of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, or innovative schools that pride themselves on preparing students for law in the 21st century, having a name like Yale, Harvard or NYU on your CV is an impressive feat.

If signing up to a university in the UK is an option, an Oxbridge education is considered to be the best you can get. And the long arm of impressive alumni who have completed law programmes at these universities speaks volumes.

Australia is another location highly regarded for its high caliber of law schools thanks to a strong community of legal professionals, close ties with international establishments and internship programmes.

Yale Law School, USA

Best law schools in the world: Yale Law School

With a reputation for being one of the best law schools in America and worldwide, Yale Law School is notoriously hard to get into with an admission rate of around 6%.

But once students have got their foot in the door at the New Haven, Connecticut establishment, they’re given access to some of the legal world’s best minds. Talks from leading figures, such as former student Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, are not just one-offs, while credentials are high among teaching staff.

Small classes in a highly intellectual environment, endless opportunities for clinical training, and of course the Yale name itself, make Yale Law School an obvious choice for young, bright minds.

Notable alumni: Bill Clinton, Hilary Clinton, Sonia Sotomayor, Ben Stein.

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Image credit: Michael Marsland/Yale

Harvard Law School, USA

Best law schools in the world: Harvard Law School

Unlike Yale, Harvard Law School isn’t known for its small classes. Instead, this powerhouse institution has a 2020 intake of first-years of more than 500.

But the size of the school also works in its favour. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Harvard has more classes than any other American law school, while over 100 different student organisations ensure a bustling campus lifestyle.

With an impressive alumni (Barack Obama leads the pack), the opportunities to make good connections at Harvard are almost a guarantee. A bar passage rate of 99% proves why it is one of the highest ranked law schools in the world.

Notable alumni: Barack Obama, US Attorney General Francis Biddle.

University of Cambridge, UK

Best law schools in the world: Cambridge University

The University of Cambridge is one of the most famous educational establishments in the UK, and its expertise in law makes it one of the top law schools in the world, too.

As the biggest law school in Britain, the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Law teaches more than 600 Bachelor of Arts (BA) Law students, who have access to one of the UK’s leading academic law libraries – The Squire Law Library – which houses some 180,000 books, including law textbooks, monographs, reports and legislation.

Aside from its academic strengths, the University of Cambridge provides the perfect backdrop for extracurricular activities, including mooting and voluntary work at legal charities.

Notable alumni: Former Thailand Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun, Glanville Llewelyn Williams, Sue Carr QC.

Image credit: Andrew Dunn

University of Oxford, UK

Best law schools in the world: Oxford University

The law programme at the University of Oxford is one of the most highly regarded programmes in the world.

With an impressive international legal community, Oxford prides itself on being different from any other law school. Fifteen percent of undergraduates are international, while half of the Faculty have studied in other countries.

And its extensive alumni – including Oxford graduates who have appeared in the European Court of Human Rights, Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and the Court of Appeal of England and Wales – speaks volumes about the quality of teaching.

Notable alumni: Tony Blair, King Olav V of Norway.

Image credit: Nasir Hamid

Melbourne Law School, Australia

Best law schools in the world: Melbourne University

Considered to be one of the best law schools in Australia, the University of Melbourne’s law school provides students with the opportunity to network with a strong community of legal educators, members of the profession, government and business institutions.

A leader in law education, the Melbourne Law School has close ties with international law schools and offers students the chance to go on exchanges in several overseas locations.

In addition to a library spanning three levels, the university has an award-winning state-of-the-art moot court complex and access to an internship programme.

Notable alumni: Olympic rower Kim Crow, former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard.

New York University School of Law, USA

Best law schools in the world: NYU

With the recent enhancement of its curriculum, term-long clinics for students and leading attorneys among teaching staff, NYU Law prides itself on ensuring its students are prepared for law in the 21st century.

Students also have the opportunity to study a term in Buenos Aires, Paris or Shanghai to explore law in another part of the world.

Located in Manhattan, the law school also offers leadership training and other classes that help students develop careers in professions other than law.

Notable alumni: Will & Grace writer Will Truman, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

London School of Economics, UK

Best law schools in the world: LSE

Dating back 100 years, the LSE Law Department teaches students from the heart of legal London, equipping them with analytical and research skills, and the foundations of legal knowledge.

In addition to extracurricular activities including mooting, LSE arranges a weekend away for staff and students each year at a picturesque royal house set in Windsor.

Located in central London, students come from all over the world to study at this leading law school.

Notable alumni: Cherie Blair.

Columbia Law School, USA

Best law schools in the world: Columbia Law School

Columbia Law School has gained a reputation as one of the best places to study law thanks to its high-quality teaching and graduate employment rates.

Located in New York City, Columbia Law School gives students the opportunity to network with an exceptional legal circle, while a diverse mix of backgrounds gives the establishment a unique sense of community.

Notable alumni: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former President Theodore Roosevelt and U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.

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