The law schools of the US dominate world rankings figures and many of them are considered to offer some of the best legal educations in the world.
But what is it that makes these law schools so well respected and popular? Let’s take a look.
Why does the US dominate the rankings of top law schools?
There are a whole host of reasons why law schools in the States are considered the best in the world. Part of the reason is the way university-level education is funded in the US and partly the importance of the legal profession in the US. In the US the legal services industry is worth around $437 billion annually.
Before the American Revolution, most lawyers did not attend law school but instead served an apprenticeship to an existing practising lawyer before taking the Bar Exam. In 1784 the Litchfield Law School opened with the more famous Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania opening or beginning to offer a specific legal education not long afterwards.
US legal education style
In comparison to a law school experience in much of the rest of the world, law schools in the US use the Socratic Method of teaching. This means that instead of giving long lectures, professors and lecturers usually have a short lecture and then begin a discussion of the topic by selected different students to speak at random.
Because of the nature of US legal history, with its connections to English Law and its different systems, students from all over the world travel to America to study law there. Many law schools, especially the well-respected ones such as Harvard offer LLM programs aimed specifically at the needs of international students who have already gained a legal education outside of the US.
How law schools are funded
In comparison to Europe, there are many more privately funded universities in the US. This gives many law schools more independence in curriculum and research compared to their state-funded competitors. Although, this does not mean that public-funded law schools in the US are not well respected, for example law schools such as the publicly funded University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles and the University of Michigan all regularly rank highly.
Top 10 US law schools
Let’s take a look at some of the tuition fees and world rankings of the top 10 law schools in the United States, their tuition fees and international ranking.