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Top Law Schools in New York

  • by Fehbe Meza
  • Jan 12, 2022
  • law admissions, law schools, top law schools

Whether you go upstate or to the middle of Manhattan, some of the top law schools in the U.S. are in New York. Many famous and prestigious lawyers came from New York law schools, and it’s not hard to see why. 

New York City is the crossroads for many industries, including finance, technology, government, and fashion. There are countless opportunities for legal externships and to gain general experience. New York state also has the most law schools after California. 

There are plenty of law schools to choose from in the state, but we wanted to make sure you knew what the top law schools in New York are. While it’s far too difficult to name any of these as the best law school in New York or North America, each of these law schools made it onto this list thanks to their high bar passage rates, top law programs, and other stand-out features. 

Best Law Schools in New York (State)

  1. 1. Columbia University (Columbia Law School)
  2. 2. New York University (NYU Law)
  3. 3. Cornell University 
  4. 4. Fordham University 
  5. 5. Yeshiva University (Cardozo)
  6. 6. St. John’s University
  7. 7. Brooklyn University
  8. 8. University at Buffalo—SUNY
  9. 9. City University of New York Law School (CUNY)
  10. 10. Syracuse University

Best Law Schools in New York City

  1. 1. Columbia University (Columbia Law School)
  2. 2. New York University (NYU Law)
  3. 3. Fordham University 
  4. 4. Yeshiva University (Cardozo)
  5. 5. St. John’s University
  6. 6. Brooklyn University
  7. 7. City University of New York Law School (CUNY)

 

  1. 1. Columbia University Law School
    U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #4
    Tuition: $74,995
    Average GPA: 3.82
    Average LSAT Score: 172
    Acceptance Rate: 16.7%
    Bar Passage Rate: 96.4%

At the top of our list of best law schools in New York, Columbia University Law School offers a quintessential Ivy League education. With its rich history, prestigious law review, esteemed faculty, and notable alumni, Columbia easily sets itself apart from the rest of the top law schools in New York.

Its Contracts/Commercial Law program is ranked #1 in the country, while the Business/Corporate Law, Constitutional Law, International Law, Criminal Law, and Environmental Law are all placed in the top 10. It comes as no surprise that Columbia Law School graduates are well prepared for the real world, with 96% passing the bar their first time and 97% finding a job by graduation. 

Understandably, many pre-law students wonder how to get accepted into Columbia Law School. It’s not an easy task. The average LSAT score is 172 (that’s the 99th percentile) and the average GPA is 3.82. However, since many high-achieving students apply to Columbia, you’ll need more than good numbers to stand a chance. Make sure your application is well-rounded and your personal statement clearly shows who you are and the value you would bring to the best law school in New York. 

Once you’re in, you’ll be set up for success. Columbia pushes the boundaries of legal education with an innovative curriculum and courses in emerging subject areas. While it’s not the most affordable law school, financial aid is available; nearly 4% of students receive grants of full tuition. 

  1. 2. New York University School of Law
    U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #6
    Tuition: $71,304
    Average GPA: 3.82
    Average LSAT Score: 170
    Acceptance Rate: 21.6%
    Bar Passage Rate: 95.8%

New York University School of Law is an international beacon of excellence and makes sure its students receive a holistic legal education from Day One. 1L law students are enrolled in NYU’s Lawyering Program, which teaches the real-world skills (including financial literacy) that all lawyers need. Each Lawyering class size is small, averaging about 26 law students, allowing the professors to develop a closer relationship with each student. If you’ve ever been in a giant lecture hall with hundreds of other students, you can understand the benefits of a smaller class. 

Student involvement is also a major push at New York University. There are more than 100 student groups to join across different interests. The Law School offers more than 40 clinics, and guarantees summer funding for law students working in government and nonprofit organizations. Law students can also apply to join the law review.

If you’ve always wanted to study abroad, you’ve come to the right place. Situated in the middle of the gateway to the world, NYU Law has many opportunities across the world, including law programs in Buenos Aires and Paris.

If you’re ready to apply to New York University, make sure your application is up to par. Your GPA and LSAT score need to be nearly pristine to compete with nearly 11,000 applicants. Increase your LSAT score by making sure you’re prepping long enough and with the right LSAT prep materials. 

  1. 3. Cornell University Law School
    U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #13
    Tuition: $70,274
    Average GPA: 3.86
    Average LSAT Score: 168
    Acceptance Rate: 19%
    Bar Passage Rate: 94.2%

If you’re looking for a small law school with a distinguished reputation, then Cornell Law School should be at the top of your list of best law schools in New York. The school does a great job at nurturing a small community amongst its law students and faculty, allowing students to engage with their professors even outside the classroom. 

As an Ivy League law school, Cornell attracts leaders in their fields to teach the next generation of lawyers and give them the education they need for the competitive job market. Their first-time bar passage rate of 94.2% blows away New York State’s rate of 73.5%. It’s no wonder Cornell is ranked third in the nation for job placement in the top 100 law firms. 

However, you certainly get what you pay for. Cornell has one of the highest tuition rates in the area. The median grant amount is $25,000 and less than 2% of students receive grants of full tuition. 

  1. 5. Fordham University
    U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #35
    Tuition: $64,832
    Average GPA: 3.64
    Average LSAT Score: 164
    Acceptance Rate: 27.4%
    Bar Passage Rate: 89.9%

Fordham Law, one of the largest law schools in the nation, is a staple in the Manhattan legal scene. Its trial advocacy program is ranked in the top 10 and it offers five distinct concentrations: business and financial law, intellectual property and information law, international, comparative and foreign law, litigation and dispute resolution, and public interest. 

Fordham graduates practice all over the world. This New York law school reports a 77.6% employment rate with Big Law and federal clerkships (according to ABA data). Its first-time bar passage rate is higher than the statewide rate, so you know you’ll graduate with all the tools you’ll need. 

Most students go to law school full time, as not many schools offer part-time programs. Fordham Law’s part-time program is actually ranked third in the nation, but its average LSAT score and GPA are still as competitive as its full-time counterpart (160 and 3.53, respectively). Still, attending law school part-time allows you to juggle your other responsibilities while still pursuing a legal career. 

  1. 5. Yeshiva University Cardozo Law School
    U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #53
    Tuition: $63,900
    Average GPA: 3.65
    Average LSAT Score: 162
    Acceptance Rate: 37.7%
    Bar Passage Rate: 86.3%

Cardozo Law School boasts nationally recognized Dispute Resolution and Intellectual Property Law programs. However, you might have heard about its most acclaimed program, The Innocence Project, an initiative that aims to assist prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. To date, they have helped exonerate 300 people in the U.S. through DNA testing. The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 at Cardozo Law, cementing its commitment to social justice and protecting civil rights.

Over the years, Cardozo Law School has continued to add specialized clinics in other concentrations. Most recently, they added the Intellectual Property Program, the Fashion, Arts, Media & Entertainment Law Center, and the Cardozo Data Law Initiative. Law students flock to this top law school in New York to receive real-world experience before they even graduate. 

With a high acceptance rate and a modest average LSAT scores, Cardozo Law is an incredible law school in New York. You’ll receive practical, hands-on training while connecting with faculty and outside lawyers to give you an advantage during the job hunt. 

  1. 6. St. John’s University Law School
    U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #72
    Tuition: $64,442
    Average GPA: 3.62
    Average LSAT Score: 160
    Acceptance Rate: 41.1%
    Bar Passage Rate: 87.8%

If you’re looking for a top law school in New York with a Roman Catholic affiliations, look no further than St. John’s University Law School. Located in Queens, it’s just a quick train ride into Manhattan, providing easy access to the city’s big law firms. 

This New York law school prides itself on sending out graduates that are ready to hit the ground running. The curriculum emphasizes legal theory and research, experiential learning, and legal skills training. Law students also get exposed to different types of law so they can find one they’re passionate about. 

Getting accepted to St. John’s University Law School isn’t an easy feat, but your high LSAT score will come in handy here and balance a lower GPA. However, with an acceptance rate of 41%, you confidently put St. John’s in your target school list. 

  1. 7. Brooklyn University Law School
    U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #81
    Tuition: $62,046
    Average GPA: 3.44
    Average LSAT Score: 158
    Acceptance Rate: 48.8%
    Bar Passage Rate: 82.7%

Brooklyn University Law School is minutes away from the center of Wall Street and all that New York City has to offer. This top New York City law school pioneered clinical programs, creating one of the first in the nation. Brooklyn University’s clinical program is still regarded as one of the finest and more comprehensive and places students in hundreds of state and federal courthouses, government agencies, law offices, and businesses throughout New York City.

If you’re looking for the best law school with diversity, you’re in the right place. Brooklyn Law School has been committed to increasing the accessibility to a legal education for everyone since its founding in 1901. During a time when some law schools excluded women and minorities, Brooklyn Law School opened its doors to any qualified law student. Today, more than half of the student population is female and students come from a large variety of backgrounds. 

Although Brooklyn Law School isn’t the most affordable law school in New York City, it’s not a terrible value. Its high bar passage rate and acceptance rate (thanks to a median 158 LSAT score) makes Brooklyn Law School a good option for students who want to go to law school in New York. 

  1. 8. University at Buffalo—SUNY
    U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #98
    Tuition: $32,372
    Average GPA: 3.52
    Average LSAT Score: 155
    Acceptance Rate: 44.9%
    Bar Passage Rate: 72.4%

As the only law school in the State University of New York school system, the University of Buffalo School of Law offers unique opportunities. Students can take advantage of domestic and international law opportunities across North America thanks to this law school’s proximity to the Canadian border. 

While most law students look forward to winter break before the spring semester, Buffalo law students can enroll in short January courses in a diverse array of topics including tax law in Paris and legal culture in Thailand. 

If you’re looking for an affordable law school in a city with a low cost of living, then the University of Buffalo Law School should be at the top of your list. Even if you don’t meet the GPA median, a high LSAT score can help offset that. To get started, create a free Blueprint LSAT account to take a free diagnostic LSAT practice test and discover what your starting point is. Don’t worry too much about what your diagnostic score is; Blueprint students see an increase of 11 points from their diagnostic, on average. 

  1. 9. The School of Law at CUNY
    U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #102
    Tuition: $26,203
    Average GPA: 3.45
    Average LSAT Score: 154
    Acceptance Rate: 34.5%
    Bar Passage Rate: 74.5%

The School of Law at the City University of New York ranks #1 in both public interest law and clinical training. Its mission aims to include those who the law has excluded, marginalized, and oppressed through a tradition of “radical lawyering.” If you’re looking to enact real change, start at CUNY School of Law.

Both CUNY’s full-time and part-time programs are highly ranked and among the most affordable New York law school options. The out-of-state tuition ranges from $24,500-$26,203, while in-state is just over $16,000.  More than half of the full-time students receive grants and 2% of part-time students receive grants of more than full tuition. 

If you’re ready to start your social justice career at CUNY School of Law, you better polish off your application. City University of New York law school acceptance rate is just under 35%, making it more selective than some of its higher-ranked counterparts. Not only will your LSAT and GPA need to be solid, but you’ll need to pay close attention to your entire application, including choosing writers who can stellar letters of recommendation and crafting a stellar personal statement that tells clearly conveys your story. 

  1. 10. Syracuse University College of Law
    U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #102
    Tuition: $55,682
    Average GPA: 3.53
    Average LSAT Score: 155
    Acceptance Rate: 39.1%
    Bar Passage Rate: 88.1%

Do you look good in orange? Because you will be seeing a lot of it if you go to Syracuse University College of Law. The campus is visually stunning and houses one of the 50 most impressive law buildings in the world. 

Syracuse Law students jump into the job market with a competitive edge. Nearly 90% of the Syracuse graduates pass the bar their first time, a higher percentage than the state’s average. This New York law school offers 13 joint degree programs, ranging in everything from a joint MBA to an M.S. in Forensic Science. Whatever you’re passionate about, you can chase it at Syracuse Law while pursuing a law degree.

How Do I Get Accepted to a New York Law School?

Whether you’re applying to the best law school in New York City or New York state, the first step in the law school admissions timeline is to take the LSAT. Although there are no required LSAT scores for law school, all of these law schools in New York have median LSAT scores you should aim to reach or surpass. Remember, law schools want to attract the strongest applicants, so make sure you give yourself the best chance by getting a high LSAT score.

Blueprint LSAT Prep has the best LSAT prep courses tailored to your individual learning style. From a DIY Self-Paced Online LSAT Course to a Live LSAT Class and even private LSAT tutoring, we have the LSAT course designed to increase your LSAT score by 11 points, on average! 

Don’t want to commit to a prep course right now? Get access to a bunch of free LSAT resources when you create a Blueprint LSAT account. And when you’re finally ready to make the final jump into LSAT prep, we’ll be here to help!