Best Law Schools in California | 2023 Ranking

Becoming a lawyer requires attending a law school or a university that teaches law.

A law school (also known as a law center or college of law) is an institution specializing in legal education, usually involved as part of a process for becoming a lawyer within a given jurisdiction. California,

As a state in the USA with a good record of academic excellence, has procedures to adhere to before one can become a certified lawyer, and this involves attending a law school.

In this article, you will get to know about the best law schools in California; the cheapest and most expensive law schools in California; and other information about law schools found in California.

Are there Law Schools in California? 

There are a good number of law schools in California equipped with modern materials and facilities to assist students in learning to be great lawyers.

These law schools are situated in different states in California, with modern buildings that aid in learning. 

This article will teach you everything you need to know about law schools in California so you can choose the best one for you. 

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How Many Law Schools are in California?

There are many law schools that can be found in California.

There are currently over 20 law schools in California that are equipped with the latest materials and facilities to give the best learning experiences to the large number of students aspiring to become professional lawyers.

The law schools in California include:

  • Stanford University
  • Berkeley, University of California 
  • Whittier Law School
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • Pepperdine University
  • The University of Southern California 
  • Loyola Law School
  •  University of California, Davis
  •  Santa Clara University
  •  University of California, Hastings
  • Western State University. 
  • The University of San Diego 
  • Chapman University
  • The University of the Pacific 
  • Golden Gate University. 
  • The University of San Francisco 
  • Southwestern University School of Law
  • The California Western School of Law 
  • The Thomas Jefferson School of Law 
  • University of La Verne College of Law
  • Pacific Coast University School of Law 
  • Monterey College of Law
  • San Diego Western Sierra Law School 
  • The Colleges of Law-Santa Barbara 
  • McGeorge School of Law 

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What Are The Cheapest Law Schools In California? 

Not all law schools in California require huge amounts of money for tuition. There are some among them that are easily affordable, and they are listed below with their tuition.

  • Stanford University ($20,720 per year) 
  • University of La Verne College of Law. ($30, 280 per year) 
  • Western State University ($42,860 per year) 
  • University of San Francisco ($50,770 per year) 
  • Golden State University (annual tuition of $51,001) 
  • Thomas Jefferson School of Law (51, 000 per year) 
  • Santa Clara University (annual tuition of $52,000) 
  • University of California, Davis ($53,000 per year) 
  • University of California, Los Angeles ($54,052 per year)
  • Chapman University (annual tuition of $54,540) 

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What are the Requirements for Law Schools in California? 

These requirements need to be completed prior to being admitted into law schools in California:

  • Getting an undergraduate degree
  • Scaling through the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). 

Completing these requirements gives you a high chance of being admitted into one of the prestigious law schools in California.

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What Is the Acceptance Rate of California Law Schools?

Different law schools in California require different acceptance rates, i.e., each law school has its own acceptance rate. 

But, the general average acceptance rate for law schools is 37.65%, with an average LSAT score of 158 and an average GPA of 3.46. 

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California Law School Bar Examination Pass Rate 

The law schools’ California bar pass rate is a tough one as the candidates will have to sit for the general bar exam, which if they excel, will make them eligible for the license to practice law in California.

This year’s 33.9 percent pass rate on the General Bar Exam was a drop of nearly 8.9 percent from the February 2021 pass rate of 37.2 percent, but higher than the February 2020 pass rate of 26.8 percent.

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How Much is the Tuition at Law Schools in California? 

Each law school in California has its own tuition.

Statistics have shown that the average tuition for law schools in California is $47,747 for residents of the state and $49,355 for non-residents of the state.

Thus, in California law schools, tuition fees range between $20,000-$60,000 per year and $60,000-$180,000 for a 3-year duration. 

However, students can take advantage of scholarship offers and grants in order to take care of their tuition fees regardless of the cost.

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What are the Best Law Schools in California? 2022 Rankings 

Below is the list of the best law schools in California.

  • Stanford University
  • Berkeley, University of California 
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • University of California–Los Angeles
  • Southern California University (Gould) 
  • University of Santa Clara 
  • University of California–Davis
  • Chapman University (Fowler)
  • University of California–Irvine
  • University of California, Hastings 
  • Pepperdine University (Caruso) 
  • University of San Diego 

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Business Law Schools in California

Some law schools in California that are also good business law schools

Here is a list of the best business law schools you can find in California.

1. California State University, Berkeley

The school offers J.D., LL.M., J.S.D., and Ph.D. degrees, and each entering class has about 320 to 330 J.D. students, with each class further broken down into smaller groups that take courses together.

There are approximately 850 J.D. students, 200 LL.M. and J.S.D. students, and 45 Ph.D. students in Jurisprudence and Social Policy at Berkeley Law. Business, Law, and Economics; Comparative Legal Studies; Environmental Law; Public Interest & Social Justice; Critical Race Studies; International Legal Studies; and Law and Technology are among the school’s specialist curriculum areas.

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2. Stanford University 

Over 90 full-time and part-time faculty members work at Stanford Law School, which has over 550 students pursuing a Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) degree. Stanford Law additionally offers four advanced legal degrees: LL.M., M.S.L., J.S.M., and D.S.L. (J.S.D.). 

Each fall, Stanford Law enrolls approximately 180 J.D. students, making it the law school with the smallest student body among the top fourteen (T14). 

Stanford also has eleven full-time legal clinics, including the first and most active Supreme Court litigation clinic in the country, and 27 formal dual degree programs.

Basically, Stanford Law enrolls a J.D. class of approximately 180 students each fall, making it the law school with the smallest student body among the top fourteen (T14). 

Also, Stanford has eleven full-time legal clinics, including the country’s first and most active Supreme Court litigation clinic, and 27 formal dual-degree programs

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The Best International Law Schools in California 

The best international law schools in California are:

3. University of California, Los Angeles

UCLA Law has about 1,000 Juris Doctor (J.D.) students and 200 Master of Laws (LL.M.) students, which is popular among international students preparing to take the California Bar Exam. 

It also offers a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) program for students who already have a J.D. and want to become law professors. 

Also, it offers a Master of Legal Studies [19] program for those who do not want to pursue a law degree but find that legal education is a valuable complement to their professional responsibilities.

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4. Lincoln Law School of Sacramento

The school offers a four-year Juris doctor’s degree program. Judges and lawyers from the legal profession make up the Lincoln Law School faculty.

Their practical expertise adds context to the substantive information they teach, emphasizing the law’s practical application to students. 

Students not only get a realistic glimpse of the practice, but they also have highly competent practitioners to coach and role model for them.

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5. McGeorge School of Law

If you want a legal education that is both rigorous and purposeful, that’s exactly what you’ll find at the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law. 

Whether you want to pursue a JD, MSL, LLM, or JSD, or an MPA or MPP, you’ll find that life at McGeorge is great for studying for advanced degrees.

McGeorge’s Online Graduate Programs provide three online degrees that allow students to balance career and personal obligations while still receiving a high-quality education. 

Regular and considerable chances for engagement with classmates and McGeorge teachers are provided by online courses.

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6. Northwestern California University Law School 

Northwestern California University School of Law is a Sacramento, California-based online law school. It was founded in 1982 and is one of the oldest law schools in the country.

Highly skilled educators and practitioners prepare the program. Online audio/video lectures, recorded vocabulary, outlines, and other useful materials for the study of law are included in the courses.

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Top Law Schools in Southern California

Some law schools in California are also situated in Southern California, and they include the

7. University of Southern California (Gould) Law School

The oldest law school in the Southwestern United States and part of the University of Southern California.

USC Gould awards the J.D., LL.M., and M.C.L. legal degrees. It currently has 600 J.D. students (200 per year) and 200 LL.M. and M.C.L. students in its graduate program. 

Business law, entertainment law, and alternative dispute resolution are the three certificate programs available.

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8. Pepperdine University School of Law

A career-oriented law school situated in Malibu, California. 

Pepperdine Caruso Law’s aim is to deliver superior legal education to highly qualified students. 

The programs they have prepares students for careers as counselors, advocates, and judges, as well as business people, researchers, instructors, and legal philosophers. 

A program of academic excellence paired with practical experience furthers these goals.

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The Best Tier 2 Law Schools In California

We consider those law schools that fall below the fourteenth rank or list tier 2 law schools, and some of them in California that is known to be the best include:

9. Loyola Law School

Loyola Marymount University’s law school is a non-public Catholic university in Los Angeles, California.

Basically, this law school academic life is intensive, enlightening, and driven by real-world learning experiences on campus, in our dynamic Los Angeles city, and around the world.

LLS students understand that everything they are learning and experiencing today will help them go exactly where they want to go tomorrow, whether in class, at a clinic, or when advocating on behalf of clients or issues all across the world.

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10. University of California, Hastings College of Law 

A three-year Juris Doctor program at UC Hastings offers concentrated studies in seven areas: civil litigation, criminal law, international law, public interest law, taxes, family law, and, most recently, intellectual property law. 

The traditional three-year plan is followed by most J.D. students. Students take one mandatory and one elective course during their first year. 

Equally, students may take any subject in the second and third years, or they may substitute or supplement their coursework with judicial externships or internships, judicial clinics, or study abroad.

Students with law degrees from other countries can also pursue a one-year LL.M. in U.S. legal studies at the college.

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11. University of San Diego School of Law 

USD Law provides a three-year full-time or four-year part-time Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree program. 

While the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees in Taxation, Criminal Law, International Law, Business and Corporate Law, Environmental and Energy Law, Intellectual Property Law, Employment and Labor Law, and Comparative Law are among the advanced law degrees programs available to graduates of international law schools. 

Most importantly, a J.D. degree can be combined with a Master’s in Business Administration, an International Master of Business Administration, or a Master of Arts in International Relations through concurrent degree programs.

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12. Chapman University School of Law

The Juris Doctor degree (JD), combined programs providing a JD/MBA and JD/MFA in Film & Television Producing, and multiple LL.M. degree options are all available. 

Business Law, Criminal Law, Entertainment Law, Environmental Law, International Law, Trial Advocacy, and Taxation are also available as concentrations at the institution. 

It currently includes 74 full-and part-time academic members, as well as a law library with about 290,000 volumes and volume equivalents.

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Best Law Schools in Fresno, California 

Some of the best law schools in California are also located in Fresno, California. They include:

13. San Joaquin College of Law

The study of law at SJCL is a demanding endeavor, but the skills and doctrines you will learn will serve you professionally daily. Because of our small class sizes, students receive individual attention from the faculty. 

The competition at SJCL is against oneself and high professional standards, not against other students.

The SJCL staff recognizes that many students have obligations outside of law school. Through our Academic Support Program, we try to facilitate each student’s personal academic achievement. 

Dedicated faculty members hold regular study and review sessions. They encourage students to form study groups, which fosters camaraderie and leads to professional contacts after graduation.

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Top Law Schools in Northern California

14. Santa Clara University

The Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree is available at Santa Clara Law. It also offers several double degree programs, including a J.D./Master of Business Administration (J.D./M.B.A.) and a J.D./Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS), offered in collaboration with Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business, which is ranked 10th in graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report. 

Furthermore, the school provides Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees in intellectual property law, US law for foreign lawyers, and international and comparative law. 

Santa Clara Law additionally offers specialty degrees in high tech and intellectual property law, international law, public interest, and social justice law, as well as a Privacy Law Certificate.

The school has the most summer study abroad programs of any law school in the United States, with 13 distinct programs in 17 countries.

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15. University of California, Davis 

The curriculum at UC Davis School of Law provides a firm foundation of practical knowledge and abilities that will allow our graduates to pursue careers in any field of legal practice, from public service to commercial disputes to legal scholarship.

Students at UC Davis School of Law benefit not only from excellent academic training but also from the opportunity to hone practical abilities. 

Basically, students can write for six student-run publications; represent clients in our five clinics, and participate in our externship program. Competitions in Moot Court, Trial Advocacy, and Negotiation are held for students.

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Top Tier 1 Law Schools in California

Tier 1 law schools are law schools that are among the first to fourteenth law schools in a rank or list. 

Here are some Tier 1 law schools in California.

  • Stanford University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Los Angeles

Frequently Asked Questions About Law Schools in California

How long is Law School in California?

In California, law school takes three years to complete.

How Much is Law School per year in California?

The average tuition and fees for law schools in California are $47,747 for residents and $49,355 for non-residents each academic year.

Is It Worth Going to Law School?

The legal professions continue to be among the most in-demand and well-paid employment options. The stakes are enormous, but the rewards are well worth it. You won’t have to be concerned about losing your job either, because average people, businesses, and corporations will always want lawyers.

Is a 3.7 GPA Good Enough for Law School?

The norm at the top law schools is to admit students with almost perfect college grades. The top ten law schools all had median GPAs of 3.7 or higher. Seven of these ten schools had a median GPA of at least 3.8, and three of the seven had a median GPA of 3.9 or above. With a GPA of 3.7, you have a good probability of being admitted.

Conclusion

We can find at least 20 distinct law schools in California. The American Bar Association accredits some, while others are not. The State Committee of Bar Examiners accredits some, while others are not.

The ABA has accredited and authorized all the schools listed above. Any ABA-accredited law school will always have a superior reputation.

References

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