In today’s post, I’d like to share what I believe are the top 16 military friendly law schools in the United States. This post is very subjective and is just my opinion. By all means, we can agree to disagree.
The rankings are based on enrollment, cost, military friendliness, post law school employment rates, reputation and my opinion. If you’re a veteran or are currently serving in the military, and are thinking about going to law school, this list would be a good starting point. Enjoy.
Top 16 Military Friendly Law Schools
We’re going to start with # 16 and work my way up to # 1.
# 16: University of Southern California
Can you imagine going to law school is sunny California? If so, you definitely want to check out USC.
Founded in 1900, USC Gould was Southern California’s first law school. From the school’s earliest days, we enrolled women and students of color. Today we maintain one of the nation’s most diverse law student populations and enroll the most international students. This creates an environment that fosters a wide range of perspectives and experiences.
USC pioneered the concepts of interdisciplinary and clinical legal education. The first modern legal aid program grew out of a USC Gould clinic established in 1929. And, in 1965, we became one of the first schools to bring an interdisciplinary focus to the study of law. Today, our curriculum is infused with courses at the intersection of a variety of key disciplines, and we offer 15 dual-degree programs. Through our numerous clinics, practicums and externships, students gain hands-on training in the practice of law, working with real clients.
The law school boasts a supportive and tight-knit alumni population of more than 10,000 professionals around the globe. The Trojan Family is a fiercely loyal and powerful network deeply committed to the success of USC graduates. Our alumni are partners in the world’s largest law firms, head major international companies, and serve leadership roles in government and public service organizations. More than 500 USC Gould alumni have served as state or federal judges.
# 15: University of Pennsylvania
Home of the Philly Cheese Steak and the Eagles, Philadelphia is a beautiful city. Located in the heart of the city is the University of Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia is the birthplace of the U.S. Constitution. Millions around the globe are inspired by the decisions made here, which laid the bedrock foundation for the American legal system.
In 1790, James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, framer of the Constitution and member of the first U.S. Supreme Court, delivered the University of Pennsylvania’s first lectures in law to President George Washington and all the members of his Cabinet.
Following this auspicious beginning, Penn began offering a full-time program in law in 1850, under the leadership of George Sharswood, an innovator in legal education. Since that time, Penn Law has been at the forefront of legal education in our country.
Source: University of Pennsylvania Law School
# 14: Stanford University
If reputation is important to you, Stanford would be one of the best military friendly law schools you can attend. They are consistently ranked as one of the top five law schools in America.
Stanford Law School (also known as Stanford Law or SLS) is a professional graduate school of Stanford University, located in Silicon Valley near Palo Alto, California. Established in 1893, Stanford Law has been ranked one of the top three law schools in the country, with Yale Law School and Harvard Law School, every year since 1992. Since 2016, Stanford Law has been ranked 2nd. Stanford Law is consistently regarded as one of the most prestigious law schools in the world.
Stanford Law School employs more than 90 full-time and part-time faculty members and enrolls over 550 students who are working toward their Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) degree. Stanford Law also confers four advanced legal degrees: a Master of Laws (LL.M.), a Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.), a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.), and a Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.). Each fall, Stanford Law enrolls a J.D. class of approximately 180 students, giving Stanford the smallest student body of any law school ranked in the top fourteen (T14). Stanford also maintains eleven full-time legal clinics, including the nation’s first and most active Supreme Court litigation clinic, and offers 27 formal joint degree programs.
# 13: New York University
If city life is your thing, you should consider New York University.
The New York University School of Law (NYU Law) is the law school of New York University. Established in 1835, the school offers the J.D., LL.M., and J.S.D. degrees in law, and is located in Greenwich Village, in the New York City borough of Manhattan. NYU Law was the first law school established in New York City. It is currently ranked 4th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, and is the highest ranked law school in the State of New York.
Source: Law School Numbers
# 12: Columbia University
Columbia University has one of the most respected law schools in the country. It’s quite expensive, but you do get what you pay for.
Columbia Law School, located in the New York City borough of Manhattan, is one of the professional schools of Columbia University, a member of the Ivy League, and one of the leading law schools in the United States. Columbia is and has historically been one of the world’s elite, and most selective law schools. For the past decade, Columbia has consistently been ranked among the top five law schools and is currently ranked 5th by U.S. News & World Report. Columbia Law School has a large number of distinguished alumni including two Presidents of the United States and six Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Furthermore, Columbia Law School has graduated a number of prominent figures in the business world, with more current members of the Forbes 400 having attended Columbia than any other law school.
Source: Law School Numbers
# 11: University of California, Berkeley Law
Another California law school has made our list: The University of California, Berkley.
Berkeley offers veterans a number of benefits, such as the student veterans’ organization and a veterans’ services office. But the school also hosts a Veterans Practicum, which is a program that offers free legal service through the San Francisco VA Medical Center. It is an opportunity for veteran law students to help veteran citizens. The Berkeley Law Career Development Office also provides assistance to veterans who are interested in pursuing clerkships, an area of the law in which military personnel are under-represented.
University of California, Berkeley is a public university. Graduate students may take part in distance learning programs. There are approximately 40,000 students enrolled.
# 10: Quinnipiac University School of Law
If you’re thinking about pursuing your law degree part-time, the Quinnipiac University School of Law is one of your best options.
This school allows college credit for military training, provides dedicated staff for veteran interests, and has a student veterans’ organization. It also offers part-time law degrees, as well as distance learning options, which may be a benefit for veterans. In addition, Quinnipiac hosts a Military Law Society.
There are two primary areas in which Quinnipiac School of Law is focused, including healthcare law and dispute resolution. For veterans interested in these fields, this may be an excellent choice. In 2017, the Law School had a pass-rate for first-time takers of the bar at 85%, while the state average was 79%.
# 9: Southwestern Law School
This is one of the best law schools you’ve probably never heard of before.
Southwestern is the only law school to offer four J.D. programs that differ in both scheduling and instructional approach. Southwestern is a leader in curricular innovation and expertise, particularly in the areas of entertainment and media law, international law, criminal law, and trial advocacy/litigation. The required curriculum is enriched by approximately 200 electives, 150 externship placements, 6 clinics, and 4 practicums. Upper-division enhancements include over 50 professional skills courses, a January intersession, capstone courses, and special mini-term courses taught by international legal experts.
Southwestern also established three- and four-year J.D./M.B.A. degree programs with the Drucker Graduate School of Management of Claremont Graduate University. B.A./J.D. 3+3 programs are offered in partnership with California State University, Northridge, and California State University, Dominguez Hills. Southwestern also offers L.L.M. programs in individualized law studies and entertainment and media law.
Southwestern was the first law school to establish a center for entertainment and media law. The internationally recognized Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute helps prepare students for the practice of law in creative industries such as film, television, and music.
Source: Southwestern Law School
# 8: University of Florida
Located in the heart of Florida, the University of Florida Law School is one of the top military friendly law schools.
UF Law has been included on Victory Media’s 2017 list of Military Friendly Schools a listing of institutions with proven opportunities for veterans.
UF Law’s highly rated reputation and programs and low tuition make it a great value for military members. Since the passage of the Florida GI Bill, which allows veterans living in Florida to pay in-state tuition, it is one of the most affordable and preeminent destinations for returning veterans to study law.
UF Law also helps students interested in military work to stand out in their application for coveted Judge Advocate positions by providing faculty who serve in the JAG Corps, reserves, bringing recruiters to campus to speak with students through the Military Law Society, and providing special volunteer opportunities, the listing states.
Source: UF Law
# 7: Cornell University
This prestigious university offers an amazing law school for the right applicant.
There were only a few law schools of any consequence in the country when Cornell’s Law Department admitted its first students in 1887; most young men (they were almost always men) clerked in law offices, and studied on the job.
A high school diploma was not a prerequisite for entry to Cornell’s new department. The school’s growth mirrored that of legal schooling in the country; the number of law students in the U.S. tripled over the next ten years. The law department’s standards rose. By 1917, admission required at least two years of university education. Legal study was made a graduate degree in 1924, and the Department of Law became a professional school. In 1925, the trustees voted to give the new institution a new name: Cornell Law School.
By the end of World War II, law students who had fought overseas brought back internationally-scaled aspirations. In response, the Law School entered the arena of international legal studies in earnest. Today, students still come to Cornell Law School from nearby upstate New York communities; but most now come from much farther away, Florida, Tulsa, L.A., Santo Domingo, and China.
Source: Cornell Law School
# 6: Texas A&M University (TAMU)
Go Aggies. If you want to go to law school in Texas, where everything is bigger and better, you should really check out Texas A&M.
Texas A&M is the state’s first public institution of higher education. With a current student body of more than 50,000 and a physical campus in Bryan-College Station, Texas, of more than 5,200 acres, Texas A&M is also among the nation’s largest universities.
Originally established in 1989 as the Dallas/Fort Worth School of Law, the School of Law became part of Texas Wesleyan University in 1992 and was acquired by Texas A&M University in 2013.
Texas A&M University School of Law provides equal opportunity in its program of legal education for all applicants for admission, enrolled students and graduates without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
# 5: University of Alabama
Roll Tide! If value is your thing, the University of Alabama Law School is highly respected, and at a great price.
The University of Alabama School of Law is the state’s only public law school. The law school has a diverse student body. It’s one of the nation’s few law schools that guarantees students an opportunity to participate in at least one of seven law clinics.
University of Alabama School of Law ranked the #35 best law school in the nation (U.S. News and World Report, 2011), and among the top 20 best-value law schools (National Jurist, 2010).
In 2010, graduates had a national and Alabama bar-exam passing rate of 95 percent.
# 4: Florida Coastal School of Law
Going to law school in Florida is great. Great beaches, lots to do, and a first class education.
Florida Coastal School of Law — proudly educating those who have proudly served! We welcome all incoming veterans — both current and future! Our faculty and staff offer their sincere appreciation to the veterans and service members who have selflessly and courageously served in the United States military. As a Yellow Ribbon, Military Friendly school located in a community with a strong military presence, we understand the needs of today’s military service members, veterans and their families. We are committed to serving and meeting your needs as you pursue your educational goals.
As part of our promise to deliver a JD program that meets your high standards, our veteran and military students benefit from many unique advantages – unlimited 100% tuition matching with the Yellow Ribbon program for Veterans that have 100% eligibility, faculty with experience in various service Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, courses and clinics with a focus on veteran and military issues (Veterans Collaborative), a Veterans Mentoring Program to pair students with faculty, alumni, and other students and to involve you in Military Law Society — an active student group.
Source: Florida Coastal School of Law
# 3: Drexel University (Kline School of Law)
Every heard of Drexel University before? If not, you should check it out.
Drexel University launched the Kline School of Law in 2006 with a bold vision to combine an exceptional academic experience with a thorough immersion in the practice of law.
As we’ve expanded our offerings to include an accelerated 2-year JD option, a Global JD and LLM for international students and a Master of Legal Studies program for those pursuing careers in the growing compliance arena, we’ve only enhanced the richness and diversity of this truly remarkable community.
# 2: Georgetown University
Located in the heart of Washington DC, Georgetown University has a great law school.
Veterans may enjoy Georgetown for its proximity to the nation’s capital, almost as much as for the military-friendly programs and extensive academic choices. Georgetown features Military Awareness Month in November. The school also has a Military Law Society and the Georgetown University Student Veteran Alumni Association. This school also offers college credit for applicable military training, as well as a dedicated contact office for veterans.
According to U.S. News & World Report in 2018, Georgetown University Law Center has one of the most highly ranked programs in the country. It is within walking distance of the Capitol and the Supreme Court, and the law school has the largest full-time faculty in the nation. The school offers a number of degree programs, as well as interdisciplinary joint degrees, and eight certificates. This college also offers distance learning options and study abroad programs, as well as weekend and evening courses.
# 1: William & Mary Law School
The William & Mary Law School made it to the top spot on our list.
The College of William and Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law implements simulated legal education initiatives including the two-year Legal Skills Program, which groups students into simulated law firms and poses life-like cases for students to tackle. The law school also has the Center for Legal and Court Technology, which includes the technologically advanced McGlothlin Courtroom and a hub of research and demonstrations with Internet, audio, and video technology in courtrooms.
The school’s elective curriculum allows second and third year students to select the majority of their courses. For William and Mary Law students who want to earn another degree, joint degree programs take four years to complete and include a J.D./M.B.A. through the William and Mary Mason School of Business, a J.D./Master of Public Policy, and a J.D./Master of Arts in American Studies.
Outside of class, students can choose from more than 30 student organizations to participate in, such as the Military Law Society and the National Trial Team. The law school has its own student-run newspaper, the Mashall-Wythe Press, as well as legal journals including the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal and the William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law. Students can live close to the Law School in university-owned housing or can seek their own living space around Williamsburg, VA.
Source: U.S. News
There you have it folks. These are the top 16 military friendly law schools as I see it. What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with our rankings? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.