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Top Law Schools in Texas

  • by Fehbe Meza
  • Dec 22, 2021
  • top law schools, top law schools in texas

Everything is bigger in Texas, including their law schools. If you’re an aspiring lawyer trying to find the best law school in Texas, it can be hard to narrow down your choices. Choosing the right law school is a critical decision that can have a massive impact on your future lawyer salary and legal career prospects. Luckily, we put together a list of the top law schools in Texas and what average LSAT score and average GPA you’ll need to be a competitive applicant. 

Top Law Schools in Texas

  1. 1. University of Texas—Austin
  2. 2. Southern Methodist University (Dedman School of Law)
  3. 3. Texas A&M University
  4. 4. Baylor Law
  5. 5. University of Houston
  6. 6. Texas Tech University
  7. 7. South Texas College of Law Houston
  8. 8. St. Mary’s University
  9. 9. Texas Southern University (Thurgood Marshall School of Law)

These Texas law schools are considered some of the top law schools in the U.S. and have top-ranked law programs and high Texas Bar passage rates. Keep reading to see what makes each school stand out in the Lone Star state. 

  1. 1. University of Texas—Austin

U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #16
Tuition: $36,429 (in-state)
Average GPA: 3.76
Average LSAT Score: 168
Acceptance Rate: 18.4%
Bar Passage Rate: 93.9%

Go Longhorns! The University of Texas—Austin School of Law might be the best law school in Texas. It has one of the top 10 Constitutional Law programs, top 20 Criminal Law (Criminal Justice) programs, and was ranked #1 in Best Starting-Salary-to-Debt Ratio of any law school by U.S. News and World Reports. 

Although out-of-state tuition is considerably higher than in-state tuition, 91% of students receive grants. UT Austin School of Law does offer full-tuition grants, but you’ll need to make sure your LSAT score and GPA are in the top percentiles to stay competitive. Make sure you apply early before the application deadline to give yourself the best chance. 

  1. 2. Southern Methodist University (Dedman School of Law)

U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #52
Tuition: $57,566
Average GPA: 3.73
Average LSAT Score: 162
Acceptance Rate: 40.8%
Bar Passage Rate: 86.2%

The Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University is a solid law school in Texas. Located in the heart of Dallas, this ABA-approved law school in North Texas will get you ready for your law career through innovative experiential learning programs, including 11 clinics and multiple externship programs. If you’re looking to be an advocate of criminal justice, you can’t go wrong with SMU.

You’ll benefit from a close-knit community at this Dallas college that’s difficult to find at a larger school. Small class sizes allow you to get to know your professor and flex your networking skills. The Mustang Exchange mentoring program connects students with 300+ mentors/alumni. 

SMU begins accepting applications in September through March, but will accept late applications if there are spaces left. But, trust us, it’s always better to apply to law school earlier rather than later. 

If you’re looking for a law school that has community and impressive programs, this North Texas law school might be perfect for you.

  1. 3. Texas A&M University

U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #53
Tuition: $31,900 (in-state)
Average GPA: 3.76
Average LSAT Score: 160
Acceptance Rate: 22.4%
Bar Passage Rate: 89.7%

Known for more than their football team, Texas A&M also has an impressive law school. The Texas A&M School of Law is ranked in the top 10 law schools for Intellectual Property Law and Dispute Resolution. 

True to its commitment to delivering an affordable world-class legal education, 28% of Texas A&M law students receive grants of full tuition. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? 

It’s no wonder competition to apply is stiff. With a 22% acceptance rate, you’ll need a high LSAT score for the best chances of admission. Fortunately, the application deadline is usually towards the end of May, allowing you to take the LSAT in the fall and retake in the Spring, if necessary. 

  1. 4. Baylor University Law School

U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #58
Tuition: $64,955
Average GPA: 3.63
Average LSAT Score: 160
Acceptance Rate: 34%
Bar Passage Rate: 90.8%

Most law students don’t step foot in a courtroom before graduating. That’s not the case with Baylor Law School. Since the 1920s, Baylor Law students have participated in this Texas law school’s required Practice Court Program. This intensive program provides each law student with the valuable experience of trying a case from beginning to end—a skill that’s especially valuable if you’re going into criminal justice.

Another feature that separates Baylor Law is its unique quarter system. Baylor has three entering classes: Spring, Summer, and Fall. Yet, it’s still one of the smallest law schools in the county. The small size, hands-on approach, and 34% acceptance rate make Baylor a top law school in Texas. 

  1. 5. University of Houston Law Center

U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #60
Tuition: $34,044 (in-state)
Average GPA: 3.57
Average LSAT Score: 160
Acceptance Rate: 33.7%
Bar Passage Rate: 85.4%

The University of Houston Law Center is ranked 5th in Healthcare Law, which is no surprise given that Houston is home to the world’s largest health care and medical complex. 

The University of Houston is also one of the few law schools with a part-time program. Students at this highly-ranked program attend law school part-time in the evenings Monday-Thursday and can complete a J.D. in four years. It’s a great option if you’re looking to change careers but need to work while going to law school. All you’ll need is a solid LSAT score and the ability to balance work, school, and personal obligations.

  1. 6. Texas Tech University School of Law

U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #10
Tuition: $26,932 (in-state)
Average GPA: 3.56
Average LSAT Score: 156
Acceptance Rate: 36.8%
Bar Passage Rate: 82%

The Texas Tech University School of Law proves you don’t need to go into massive debt for a law degree. This law school has one of the lowest debt-to-starting-income ratios in Texas, with the average debt of 2020 graduates clocking in at nearly $57,000; for context, the ABA reported the average law school debt is around $108,000. They also offer out-of-state tuition waivers for qualified students. 

With a reasonable average LSAT score of 156, a Texas bar passage rate of 82%, and a students-first approach, it’s no wonder Texas Tech Law School is consistently considered the Best Value Law School by National Jurist

  1. 7. South Texas College of Law Houston

U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #147-193
Tuition: $35,650
Average GPA: 3.17
Average LSAT Score: 152
Acceptance Rate: 45.5%
Bar Passage Rate: 76.7%

South Texas College of Law Houston has an undeniably diverse student population. More than half of its students are minorities ranging in age from 16 to 64. The school gives students of all backgrounds a chance at earning a law degree with two start dates (one in the fall and one in the spring) and a part-time program.

If you’re looking for practical hands-on experience, South Texas College has the largest legal clinic program of any law school in Texas and has won 133 national advocacy championships. With its high acceptance rate and attainable average GPA and LSAT scores, South Texas College of Law Houston is an ideal law school in Texas if you’re looking to practice law in Texas.

  1. 8. St. Mary’s University School of Law

U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #147-193
Tuition: $39,950
Average GPA: 3.2
Average LSAT Score: 151
Acceptance Rate: 58.3%
Bar Passage Rate: 69.7%

St. Mary’s University School of Law has one of the Top 4 Advocacy Programs in the nation and a part-time program that ranks 49th in the Best Part-Time Law Schools. 

As part of its commitment to social justice, St. Mary’s Law students worked more than 10,000 pro bono hours in 2020. You’ll be expected to get involved even before you step foot on campus. Incoming law students must complete 30 hours of community service before graduation. If you’re looking to make a difference, then St. Mary’s Law School might be right for you.

  1. 9. Texas Southern University (Thurgood Marshall School of Law)

U.S. News Top Law School Ranking: #147-193
Tuition: $21,038 (in-state)
Average GPA: 3.17
Average LSAT Score: 148
Acceptance Rate: 30.4%
Bar Passage Rate: 54.7%

Texas Southern University is recognized as one of the most diverse law schools in the country. This law school has a rich history as an HBCU and is committed to making an impact on urban communities. It’s also the most affordable law school in Texas, which is always a welcome reprieve! 

While average LSAT scores and GPA aren’t as strict as other law schools, TSU Law’s acceptance rate is still considerably low. That’s because the admissions committee looks beyond an applicant’s numbers and into who they are as a person. Leadership ability, community service, work experience, the student’s background, extra-curricular activities, and graduate study in another discipline are taken into consideration. So, if you’re applying here, make sure your law school resume is updated and your experience shines through!

Which Law School in Texas Is Right for Me?

We know choosing a law school is extremely difficult, especially when law schools in Texas have impressive stats. If you have the drive, you’ll become a great lawyer no matter where go to law school, but these are some of our top Texas law schools:

  • • Texas Law School with the Highest Texas Bar Passage Rate: University of Texas—Austin School of Law
  • • Texas Law School with the Highest Acceptance Rate: St. Mary’s University School of Law (North Texas)
  • • Most Affordable Texas Law School: Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Ultimately, you need to decide what law school features are important to you and where you want to eventually practice. This will help you craft a law school target list and make the applications process easier.

How Do I Get Accepted to a Texas Law School?

It doesn’t matter if you’re applying to the best law school in Texas or Alaska, the process is the same. 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 Texas have median LSAT scores that give you a pretty good idea of how you compare to their previous incoming class. Remember, law schools want to attract the cream of the crop, so make sure you give yourself the best opportunities by getting a high LSAT score.

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