Choosing a Law School

There are a number of factors that a student should take into consideration when choosing a law school. Among them are: admissibility, quality of the program, location, placement of graduates, and the cost/debt burden.

As a general rule, students should consider applying to 7 or 8 law schools including two “safety” schools and five schools where you think you have a 50/50 shot at getting in.

In evaluating the quality of the program, you must first understand what is important to you in a law school. That determination will influence the extent you rely on law school rankings. While these rankings are used extensively by students, one should consider what law schools offer in terms of opportunities to build a résumé. For instance, does the law school have legal clinics in which students work?

Location is important for two reasons: (1) you will have to live in that area for three years, and (2) it is often easier to find a job in proximity to where you attend law school.

It is also important to consider the placement of a law school’s graduates. Law schools can provide information about the types of jobs accepted by their graduates.

The financial aspects of legal education are significant in deciding which school to attend. You should get information on the average debt load of graduates for schools that interest you. Check with schools that you are interested in for specific scholarship information. These financial aid resources should also be helpful:

  • Access Group
  • FinAid
  • Holy Cross
  • Law School Admission Council
  • Additional Resources:
  • American Bar Association
  • Equal Justice Works
  • Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools
  • The NAPLA/SAPLA Book of Law School Lists (available in Dr. Stooksbury’s office)
  • Villanova Pre Law Advising

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