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Top 10 American Law Schools 2010

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If you want to be a super lawyer, going to a Top 10 school is your ticket to ultimate big-firm success. However, getting into these schools isn’t a walk in the park. Not only do you need an amazing GPA, but you need to murder your LSAT (the law school admissions test). To even be considered by the majority of these schools, you need to crack well above a 170 (out of 180) on the LSAT. If you can do that though, you’ll have a first ride ticket to law school paradise. Here’s what you need to know about the Top 10 Law Schools in the country.

10. University of Virginia School of Law

UVA is known for having one of the best student life experiences in comparison to other law schools across the nation. Students say it’s “the summer camp of all law schools … offering the greatest quality of life of any law school.” The curriculum includes over nine Law review journals and many interdisciplinary programs. The Princeton Review says UVA channels students into traditional law career paths, and many reap the benefits with salaries starting upwards of $130,000. If UVA’s student life doesn’t sell you on this school, the city of Charlottesville definitely will.

Average LSAT score: 167-171

Famous UVA School of Law alumni: The CEO and commissioner of the PGA Tour Tim Finchem, the New York Times crosswords editor Will Shortz, and novelist Emily Giffin.

9. The University of Michigan Law School

This law school is often called “special” because of the massive course selections available and helpful professors, but it’s also known for being one of the friendliest law campuses in the nation. According to The Princeton Review, the school does “an amazing job of selecting individuals who are talented, diverse, friendly, and normal. There are not only incredible smart individuals but also individuals with personality.” While finals are known to be stressful, the semesters are generally smooth sailing. Just like the other schools in the top ten, finding a job at a top firm or in your field of choice is easy. Students claim that they can score interviews with top firms, even if they are in the bottom of their class.

Average LSAT score: 166-170

Famous University of Michigan Law alumni: The president of ABC News David Westin, CEO of the Texas Rangers Chuck Greenberg, and President Obama’s senior advisor Valerie Jarrett.

8. University of Pennsylvania Law School

U Penn takes its classroom experience seriously, but with a top-notch faculty, students boast their classroom experience is truly amusing and engaging. With a well-established name as a law school, this school offers many certificates in law specialites such as women’s studies and environmental studies. Regardless of what your interests are, The Princeton Review says  students — regardless of who they are — will get a top job: “Everyone gets a top-tier job. Everyone!” Although law schools are known for being all work and no play, U Penn doesn’t take itself too seriously … students consider it a social paradise if you like to party. If you don’t have the top grades and a strong LSAT score, don’t expect to play hard and work hard here.

Average LSAT score: 171.

Famous U Penn Law alumni: Co-founder of Vault.com Sam Hamadeh, writer for Law and Order: SVU Roger Wolfson, and former CEO of AOL Time Warner Gerald Levin.

7. University of California Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law

Boalt School of Law is known for having a great alumni network as well as an enviable grading system: an all or nothing curve. Students say they feel like competition doesn’t exist thanks to this, and they spend more time focusing on their work instead of the grade. While other law schools often are known for recruiting cookie-cutter students, Berkeley offers a very liberal campus and a laid-back student life that students call “collegial” … even in a law school environment. If you can get in, your law career will start during your first year with an endless amount of opportunities to tackle during your first summer. According to  The Princeton Review, “Berkeley receives approximately 8,000 applications for fewer than 300 first year spots.” While the GPA average is a 3.8, LSAT scores are known to be across the board.

Average LSAT Score: 167

Famous Boalt School of Law alumni include the Co-Founder of DHL Larry Hillblom, famous attorney Jesse Jackson, and the former Chairman of Nintendo Howard Lincoln.

6. New York University School of Law

Who wouldn’t want to go to NYU for law? It’s known for “world renowned” faculty and an ethnic diversity amongst its students. In the heart of New York City, students have access to tons of law programs, institutes, and centers giving them hands on experience in whatever field of law they want to dabble in. According to The Princeton Review, public interest law and government work are important programs to NYU law students, but when it comes to finding a job “The firms don’t pick you. You pick them.” While its fellow top ten law school Columbia is known for being “snobby,” NYU has a reputation of nerdy, intelligent types that can either be very competitive or laid back and friendly.

Average LSAT Score: 169–173

Famous NYU Law alumni: John F. Kennedy Jr, former Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment Peter Guber, and former Chairman of Paramount Pictures Jonathan Dolgen.

5. The University of Chicago Law School

The law school is known for being ultra-prestigious and academically rigorous, but students aren’t run of the mill — diversity and an eclectic taste gives this school an upper hand. Students want to attend U Chicago because the school has state of the art facilities and an unquestionable staff and faculty that pushes students to the limits in getting a hands-on law experience. Although competition for grades is rough, The Princeton Review says students are overall easygoing and friendly with each other. The students probably could have gone anywhere else on this list, but Chicago draws them in with great job prospects and a top education focused on humanities, social sciences, economics, and natural sciences amongst law.

Average LSAT Score: 171

Famous U Chicago Law alumni: Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, the founder of the Carlyle Group David Rubenstein, and TMZ.Com creator Harvey Levin.

4. Columbia Law School

Law students at Columbia consider it “the best law school in the world” because of the endless opportunities and doors that open just by getting in. According to the Princeton Review, the majority of students are looking for high-paying big-firm jobs and with New York City as their oyster, access to those jobs is right around the corner. However, going to Columbia often means students get the reptuation of being “spoiled rich brats.” If you can get past that title, this school is right for you — if you can get in. Students admitted at the 75th percentile have LSAT scores of 174 or higher and GPA’s around 3.8. Although it’s nearly impossible to get accepted, students say one you’re there — you’re in luck: “It’s unbelievable how mediocre you can be at Columbia and yet have any law firm job in the country.”

Average LSAT Score: 170

Famous Columbia Law alumni: Former President Theodore Roosevelt, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy Caroline Kennedy, and ABC journalist Cynthia McFadden.

3. Stanford Law School

Once you make it into Stanford, law students say that “Jobs are very easy to get. If you come here, you get a great job.” Along with knowing you’ll have a secure job out of law school, students enjoy one of the nicest law schools in the nation — it’s known for its top-notch facilities, including its library and classrooms. With only 539 students enrolled, Stanford offers one of the most intimate law school experiences across the country. However, it’s incredibly difficult to get in. The Princeton Review says that “fewer than 10 percent of all applications are admitted.”

Average LSAT Score: 170

Famous Stanford Law alumni: Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, and U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman.

2. Harvard Law School

Just because Elle Wood’s made it into Harvard Law in the movie Legally Blonde doesn’t mean anyone can go to Harvard. In fact, similar to Yale, it’s nearly impossible to get into this ivy league law school. According to The Princeton Review, the dean of Harvard Law tells first years upon their arrival “The competition is over. You’ve won.” Since everyone that gets into Harvard Law has impressive backgrounds, most students leave the competition behind them because really, once you’re in at Harvard, you’re obviously going places — whether you’re number 15 or 50 in your class. With the average undergrad GPA of 3.88, LSAT scores indicate whether a student will in fact get in.

Average LSAT Score: 173

Famous Harvard Law alumni: President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, entertainment executive Clive Davis, and former Attorney General Janet Reno.

1. Yale Law School

If you can make it into Yale, well … you’ve made it in life as a lawyer. However, good luck getting into Yale — it’s nearly impossible. According to The Princeton Review, students with a GPA of 3.75 and a near perfect LSAT score of 176 (out of 180) only have around a 40 percent chance of being accepted. What makes Yale so amazing besides it being an ivy league law school and the notorious name? First semester classes are graded pass/fail — so there is no class ranking, which is something that many other law schools across the country use to determine job placement, internships, and clerkships. It sure must be nice attending the best law school in the nation, especially when you don’t even have to worry too much about your grades.

Average LSAT score: 172

Famous Yale Law alumni: Former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas, and U.S. Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

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