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Top 11 Law Schools in the World (2021)

JUL 08, 2021

Each year, students across the globe pursue law degrees at some of the best law schools in the world. While they choose this popular academic discipline for various reasons, job stability, high salaries, and status are some of the most common. Most students also have a huge desire to help organizations and companies with legal issues and defend those who can’t protect themselves.

Choosing the Best Law School for You

Congratulations! You’ve decided to study law. Now it’s time to choose a law school. With so many reputable and distinguished law schools worldwide, selecting the best law school for you can be daunting. To help you in your search, we’ve highlighted the top 11 law schools globally from the QS World University Rankings by subject 2021 - Law and Legal studies. They ranked each school by its academic reputation, employer reputation, and research impact. They are all unique, offering distinctive programs for specific kinds of law. If you are interested in a particular type of law, also make sure you research the top law schools in that field.

Becoming a lawyer and obtaining the status of Juris Doctor, or JD. in the United States requires an undergraduate degree, three years of study in a specialized law degree program, and passing the bar examination. Lawyers in the British legal system first earn an LLB degree (equivalent to a BA in Law in the US). Then they complete an approved advanced law degree course of study, an apprenticeship, and pass special exams. For more information check out our blog about studying law in the US and AU/UK and how to become a lawyer.

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Top 11 Best Law Schools in the World

We’ve broken down the overall best law schools in the world by their distinguishing characteristics. It’s important to point out that you will have better access to top local law firms, jobs, and a more extensive alumni network in the city you attended school. Beyond networking and employability, the country you choose to study in will have a significant impact on your potential earnings as a lawyer. Take a look at the variations in average starting salary for lawyers across the world. So, what is the best law school in the world? Keep reading to find out.

11. University of Melbourne (Melbourne Law School)

Melbourne, Victoria

melbourne law school 11th best law school in the world

Melbourne Law School JD Admissions Overview
TuitionATAR RequirementsWeighted Average MarkAverage LSATApplication deadline
AUD$128,320 total course fee99.8%75% from an Undergraduate degree158 (Not required for 2022 intake)October 7th 2021

About Melbourne Law School

Founded in 1857, Melbourne Law School is the oldest and best law school in Australia. Each year, the school admits approximately 300 students. The program teaches law through an international lens and focuses on globalization. All of the classes are capped at 60 students or less, allowing for a more intimate learning environment. The school offers more than 150 subjects each year. After students receive their JD, they can pursue LL.M, Ph.D., and LL.D degrees.

Fun fact, unlike other law schools in this list, The University of Melbourne doesn’t consider personal statements, interviews, references, work experience, and extracurriculars in the admission process.

Is it for you?

Melbourne is one of the most livable cities in the world. Their JD program allows you to pursue legal progression in all Australian jurisdictions and many overseas. It’s a well-regarded university where students can study a range of law professions. The school also provides JD students with access to career services, mentor programs, workshops, and mock interviews.

For undergraduate entry, you must complete an undergraduate in a discipline other than law. You could pursue a bachelor’s in agriculture, arts, biomedicine, commerce, design, science, or any other program available at the university. When you study for an undergraduate degree followed by the JD, you’ll graduate with a higher-level qualification than a double degree. For more information about their undergraduate and graduate admissions requirements, check out their admissions page.

10. National University of Singapore (NUS Law)


nus law school 10th best law school in the world 2021

NUS Law School Admissions Overview
Tuition (International Students)LLB Requirements JD/LLM Requirements English TestApplication deadline
LLB: S$27,050 per annum JD: ~S$30,000 per annum LLM: S$35,650 per annumIB: Overall good IB Score and Minimum 5 for SL/HL English A A Levels: Overall A with at least B in H1 General Paper or good pass in H2 Knowledge & InquiryAny university degree with Cum Laude or Second Class Upper Honours degree or its equivalent. Law graduates from a civil law country can apply to the 2 year JD programme or LLM.TOEFL: 100 IELTS: 7.020 November - 4 December

About National University of Singapore Faculty of Law

The National University of Singapore Faculty of Law (NUS Law) is the best law school in Asia Pacific. Established in 1956, it’s Singapore’s oldest law school. NUS Law offers undergraduate students a four-year LL.B. programme that includes two years of compulsory modules and two years of electives. Their graduate law programs include JD, LLM, and Ph.D. Admission typically requires a bachelor’s degree in law. All shortlisted candidates are also required to complete an interview and a written test which typically takes places between February and March.

Fun fact, NUS Law School has exchange programs with New York University, Boston University, Erasmus University, King’s College London, University of Melbourne, and University of Toronto open to students on the four year LLB programme. NYU exchange programme is also open to students on the three Year JD programme.

Is it for you?

Singapore is a safe, multicultural city that’s well-connected, easily accessible, and has great weather. NUS Law fees are more affordable than comparable law schools, but the city is one of the most expensive cities in the world. The university has a global reputation for academic excellence with ample networking opportunities due to the abundance of multinational companies located nearby. Check out this page for information about LLB entry requirements and this page for JD entry requirements.

9. University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley Law)

Berkeley, California

berkeley law 9th best law school in the world

UC Berkeley Law School JD Admissions Overview
TuitionApplication Requirements Average GPAAverage LSATApplication deadline
CA Residents: USD$56,944 per annum Non CA Residents: USD$64,066 per annumLSAT, personal statement, resume, university transcripts, and 2-4 recommendation letters~3.7~167Regular: February 15 Early: November 15

About Berkeley Law

Founded in 1868, the University of California, Berkeley’s vision is that the university would “contribute even more than California’s gold to the glory and happiness of advancing generations.”

Ranking 9th on our list, Berkeley Law is a leading law school located within one of the world’s greatest universities. It's one of 14 schools and colleges at the University of Berkeley and provides premier teaching in legal theory, practices, and doctrine. Through research and service, they seek to engage students and improve government, business, and society. If they choose, students can focus their studies on one particular interest and develop a specialty. This is unusual for law schools and one thing that sets Berkeley Law apart from the rest.

Is it for you?

The city of Berkeley is one of the most vibrant and inclusive cities in the world. Located just outside San Francisco, Berkeley is known for its eclectic restaurants, backyard artists, coffee shops and culture, and unique specialty stores.

Berkeley students are as eclectic as their surroundings and intensely motivated to make a difference in the world. While Berkeley Law’s curriculum is notoriously difficult, professors and students work together, offering encouragement and support. This environment helps students grow both intellectually and personally. Berkeley also has its own unique grading system. Berkeley Law is also committed to providing affordable access to students from all backgrounds and communities. Learn more about JD admissions at UC Berkeley.

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8. New York University (NYU School of Law)

New York City, New York

nyu law school 8th best law school in the world 2021

NYU School of Law JD Admissions Overview
TuitionApplication Requirements Average GPAAverage LSATApplication deadline
USD$70,400 per annumLSAT/GRE, undergraduate transcript, resume, personal statement, and 2 recommendation letters3.82170Regular: February 15 Early: November 15

About NYU School of Law

NYU is the oldest university in New York City. Established in 1835, they offers JD, LLM, and JSD degrees. Rated best overall law faculty in the United States, NYU Law also has the highest number of judges at international courts of justice and an impressive number of Nobel laureates. Since its inception, they have redefined legal education, ensuring graduates are ready for careers in law.

Is it for you?

NYU Law is a leader in international and tax law and offers 300 courses in 16 areas of study. Located in New York City, law students have access to countless networking opportunities and internships. NYU Law is a leader in international law and offers study abroad programs in Buenos Aires and Paris. NYU is a private university, so you should expect to pay higher tuition. Additionally, New York housing is notoriously expensive. For more information on how to get into NYU Law School, visit their admissions page.

Download our free eBook to read 14 successful essays by Crimson students who got into the Ivy League, Duke, USC, NYU, UCLA, and more!

7. Columbia University (Columbia Law School)

New York City, New York

columbia law school 7th best law school in the world 2021

Columbia Law School JD Admissions Overview
TuitionApplication Requirements Average GPAAverage LSATApplication deadline
USD$78,671 per annumLSAT/GRE, post-secondary institutions transcripts, a dean's appraisal/certification, personal statement, and 2 recommendation letters3.82172Regular: February 15 Early: November 15

About Columbia Law

Columbia Law is a leader in legal education and corporate law, boasting graduates from 199 different countries. Graduates are ready for the world and have limitless opportunities to further their professional, personal, and intellectual growth. Established in 1858, Columbia Law focuses on experiential learning that includes clinics, externships, and hands-on, real-world experiences with real-world impact. The Law curriculum is rigorous and innovative. Columbia Law adds new courses in emerging subjects and offers dual and joint degrees with Columbia University.

Columbia Law also publishes the “Columbia Law Review,” the third most cited law journal in the world. U.S. presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt graduated from Columbia. Columbia Law’s graduates have gone on to become U.S. Supreme Court justices, CEOs, executives, and more. They serve as mentors and valuable resources for current law students.

Is it for you?

Columbia Law has long-standing relationships with employers around the world, including Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and social justice organizations. They offer counseling, peer mentoring, and a mock interview program. Located in New York City, the Columbia Law community participates in activities on and off-campus. They offer a supported environment where you can deepen your understanding and appreciation for law and life.

When assessing applications, Columbia law takes a holistic approach. Instead of only focusing on grades and test scores, they also focus on how students will contribute to their community. Columbia believes diversity of all kinds enriches their community, so they seek people with diverse backgrounds and life experiences. For more information about their application and decision process, visit their admissions page.


6. The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE Department of Law)

London, UK

lse law school 6th best law school in the world 2021

LSE Law Admissions Overview
TuitionLLB Requirements LLM RequirementsApplication deadline
LLB UK Students: £9,250 per year LLB International students: £22,430 per year LLM UK students: £17,328 LLM International students: £25,224A Levels: A*AA IB: 38 points overall, with 766 for HL LNAT and Personal statement required Undergraduate degree in law (LLB or equivalent) Transcripts, statement of academic purpose, two academic references, and CV also required LLB: 26 January

About LSE Law

LSE Law is a vibrant and inclusive community of world-class students, staff, and alumni committed to bringing an international and interdisciplinary outlook to teaching and research. Established in 1895, the LSE Law Department seeks to understand the causes of things. They pioneered the study of banking, taxation, labor, family, and welfare law.

Today, the department is one of the best in the world. They offer LLB, LLM, Executive LLM, MSc Law and Accounting degrees. Additionally, they offer a double degree program with the Columbia Law School LLB/JD program.

Is it for you?

AT LSE Law, you can study law as an undergraduate. They offer a three-year LLB degree, and then you can take the LPC (legal practice course) after your LLB. The LLM program teaches law from various traditions and jurisdictions, so you can practice law in any jurisdiction. It also offers many specializations. 

While LSE Law doesn’t ask for a specific subject combination for law, they look for evidence of academic excellence, scholarly potential, and curiosity. Reading and research are important in this degree, and students are expected to have a high level of literacy with evidence of this through their post-16 subjects. For more information about admissions to LSE Law, visit their admissions page.

To find out your chances of gaining admission into LSE try our UK College Admissions Calculator!

5. Stanford University (Stanford Law School)

Stanford, California

stanford law school 5th best law school in the world 2021

Stanford Law School JD Admissions Overview
TuitionApplication Requirements Average GPAAverage LSATApplication deadline
USD$64,350 per annumLSAT/GRE, university transcripts, resume, personal statement, optional diversity/short essays and 2 recommendation letters3.89171Regular: February Early: December

About Stanford Law School

Established in 1893, Stanford Law School has the smallest student body in the top 10 universities, enrolling only 180 students each year. They boast a 4.4:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a 98.91% bar passage. Stanford Law is one of the most research-oriented universities in the world, specializing in practical clinical education with a global perspective.

Unlike many top law schools in the world, Stanford emphasizes student collaboration more than independent learning. Classroom competition and academic pressure lead to teamwork and intellectual stimulation.

Stanford offers many options, including creating your own joint degree and picking your own courses.

Is it for you?

Stanford University is located in the famous Silicon Valley, home to some of the world’s most renowned tech companies. Bustling with campus culture and charm, Stanford students enjoy small class sizes and the tight-knit community. Students also love the pleasant Bay Area weather and the proximity to San Francisco’s famed landmarks. There’s no shortage of internships and networking opportunities in this bustling tech-centric area. If you’re interested in Stanford Law’s application process, visit their admissions page.

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4. Yale University (Yale Law School)

New Haven, Connecticut

yale law school 4th best law school in the world 2021

Yale Law School JD Admissions Overview
TuitionApplication Requirements Average GPAAverage LSATApplication deadline
USD$67,108 per annumLSAT/GRE, university transcripts, resume, personal statement, optional Addenda diversity statement, 2 recommendation letters, and a Dean's Certification (must provide after being accepted)3.94173Regular: February 15

About Yale Law

Yale Law is one of the most selective law schools in the world. Established in 1824, it has been a top-ranked law school since the U.S. News & World Report magazine began publishing its law school rankings in the 1980s. Yale Law Journal continues to be one of the most highly cited legal publications in the United States.

Yale Law boasts dozens of famous graduates, including 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, former U.S. presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton, as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. World leader alumni include Karl Carstens, the fifth president of Germany, Jose P. Laurel, the third president of the Republic of the Philippines, and Peter Mutharika, the immediate former president of Malawi.

Is it for you?

Yale’s diverse student body comes from 123 countries around the world. Known for its scholarly orientation, many Yale graduates choose careers in academia and are encouraged to spend a few years in government service. Yale Law also doesn’t use a traditional grading system. The first year, first semester students are graded on a Credit/No Credit system and an Honors/Pass/Low Pass/Fail system for their remaining years at Yale.

Students are drawn to Yale’s location because its New Haven, Connecticut campus has a low-key vibe, but it’s close enough to New York City that networking and career opportunities abound. Are you interested in learning more about their admissions requirements? Check out their page.

If I had to identify the two things, which taken in combination make Yale Law School such a special place, it would have to be the school’s longstanding commitment to intellectualism, and its equally long-lived and deep-seated commitment to public service

- Anthony Kronman (Class of 1975, Sterling Professor of Law and Former Dean)

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3. University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law

Cambridge, UK

Cambridge faculty of law 3rd best law school in the world 2021

Cambridge Faculty of Law Admissions Overview
TuitionBA Tripos Degree in Law Requirements LLM RequirementsMCL RequirementsApplication deadline
LLB UK Students: £9,250 per year LLB International students: £22,227 per year LLM UK students: £17,148 LLM International: £32,214 MCL all students: £33,738 A Levels: A*AA IB: 40-42 points overall, with 776 for HL Personal statement, Academic references, and Cambridge Law Test required. Successful applications will require an interview First Class degree in Law from a UK university of its equivalent from an overseas instiution. Transcripts, academic references, CV, and proof of English language ability required.Top 5-10% in their Law degree. Extra weight for courses related to corporate law. Transcripts, academic references, CV, and proof of English language ability required.BA Law: 15 October LLM: 3 December MCL: 7 January

About Cambridge University, Faculty of Law

Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge initially focused on civil law (the law of ancient Rome) and the Canon law of the Church. The Regius Professorship of Civil Law was founded by Henry VIII in 1540. As one of the world’s oldest law schools, it’s known for its cutting-edge legal research in international law and criminology.

Cambridge University is home to the Cambridge University Law Society, the largest student-run law society in the UK and among the largest in the world. This organization founded the Cambridge Law Journal in 1921, and the publication is now the longest-running university law journal in the United Kingdom.

Is it for you?

Cambridge offers a number of law degrees, including the BA Tripos, an undergraduate degree that gives students a thorough grounding in the principles of law from an academic rather than vocational perspective. Graduate degrees include a Masters of Law (LLM), Masters in Corporate Law (MCL), and a Doctorate in Law (Ph.D.).

Those who wish to pursue law in the United States should note that the BA Tripos in Law is not equivalent to the JD. Completing this degree will not prepare you for passing the bar in the US as it is primarily an English Law degree. While you cannot practice law in the United States with an LLM either, Harvard has a joint LLM/JD program with Cambridge that gives you a degree from both schools in three and a half years.

Cambridge students come from over 147 different countries. Known for promoting collaboration between academia and business, this globally diverse university collaborates with colleagues throughout the world and has partnerships in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe.

Cambridge students enjoy a vibrant city life that includes restaurants, concerts, pubs, museums, and shops. The city is also surrounded by green spaces and parks where students can walk or bike to everything the city has to offer.

Uktop 10

2. University of Oxford, Faculty of Law

Oxford, UK

oxford law school 2nd best law school in the world 2021

Oxford Faculty of Law Admissions Overview
TuitionBA Jur Requirements BCL/MJur RequirementsApplication deadline
BA Jur UK Students: £9,250 per year BA Jur International students: £28,370 per year BCL/MJur UK Students: £24,450 per year BCL/MJur International Students: £36,930 per year A Levels: AAA IB: 38 points overall, with 666 for HL Personal statement, Academic references, and LNAT required. Successful applications will require an interview First Class undergraduate honours degree in Law from a UK university of its equivalent from an overseas institution. Transcripts, academic references, letter of recommendation CV, and proof of English language ability required.BA Law: 15 October LLM: 3 December

About Oxford Law

Oxford University is considered one of the best universities in the world. Founded in 1096, this prestigious school has taught law for more than 800 years. They began offering a degree in English law (BA in Jurisprudence) in the 1870s. The Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) became a master’s level degree in the 20th century, and by the 1970s, Oxford developed a large graduate program in law. Today, Oxford has two main master’s programs; the BCL, designed for students from a common law background, and a Magister Juris (MJur), designed for students from a civil law background. The BCL is considered “the most highly regarded taught masters-level qualification in the common law world.”

Oxford’s program is the only graduate law program in the world that is taught through a combination of seminars, tutorials, and lectures, giving you a closer connection to your professors and classmates. As a student in the Oxford Law degree program, you’re encouraged to read from primary sources, think critically, and develop your own views about the what, why, and how of law. Oxford Law graduates can practice as a solicitor or barrister in England and Wales.

Is it for you?

Oxford offers a unique learning experience based around conversations. These “personalized tutorials” occur between two or three students and their tutor, who’s an expert on that subject. It gives students a chance to explore a subject at length and receive feedback on their work. Courses also include seminars, lectures, labs, and language classes.

Oxford has a diverse student body from countries around the world. While academic standards are extremely high and the workload is demanding, Oxford offers a close-knit community that celebrates diversity and promotes change.

Check out our blog on Oxford vs Cambridge if you’re undecided between these two top universities!

1. Harvard University (Harvard Law School)

Cambridge, Massachusetts

harvard law school best law school in the world 2021

Harvard Law School JD Admissions Overview
TuitionApplication Requirements Average GPAAverage LSATApplication deadline
USD$67,720 per annumLSAT/GRE, university transcripts, resume, personal statement, optional statement, 2 recommendation letters, and interview may be required.3.88173March 1

About Harvard Law

Established in 1817, Harvard University is the oldest law school in the United States and the best law school in the world. The prestigious school has one of the largest student bodies and large class sizes. They offer a three-year JD program that leads to an initial law degree, a one-year advanced degree (LLM) for students who have their first law degree, and an SJD (doctoral of juridical science). This advanced law degree is designed for aspiring legal academics pursuing independent study, research, and writing. Notable Harvard Law School graduates include Barack and Michelle Obama and eight sitting US senators.

Is it for you?

Harvard is one of the world’s largest law schools, offering numerous courses, specializations, and extracurricular activities to undergraduate and graduate students. Students in the JD program prepare and publish the Harvard Law Review, one of the most highly regarded and cited university law reviews, as well as a number of other law journals and an independent student newspaper. For more information about Harvard Law admission requirements, visit their admissions page. Additionally you can check out our blog on How to get into Harvard to learn more.

If you’d like to know what its like studying at Harvard Law, check out our YouTube video in the link below!

Next Steps

Clearly, there are fantastic law schools all around the world. Choosing a law school that’s perfect takes time and research. Check out these other blogs and free eBooks we’ve written to help you with your research and putting together a strong application!

Crimson Education’s educational consultants can help identify the perfect law school for you. We are the world’s leading university admissions support company specializing in helping law students gain entry to some of the world’s most competitive universities. Our holistic approach provides support across all areas of the US and UK university application process. For more information about how Crimson can help you select a law school, visit our admissions page or contact us now!

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