In the United States, many lawyers earn over $180,000 a year, making it one of the highest paying jobs in the country. Some pay a lot more. Michelman & Robinson, one of America’s most successful law firms, pays its top associates (who aren’t even partners) an average of $450,000.
Compared to most jobs, the road to becoming a lawyer is long. Most go to four-year college and then three years to law school. Individuals who wish to become practicing attorneys generally must pass the bar in each state where they practice. Those who join large law firms start out as partners. The wait to become a partner can be over five years, and some never reach that level.
The barrier to entry into top law schools, where the most successful lawyers typically go, is high. To determine the hardest law school to get into, 24/7 Wall St. created an index based on three measures of selectivity from the American Bar Association:
- Acceptance rate or number of offer letters sent by a school in fall 2021 as a proportion of the number of applications
- Median LSAT Score of Newly Enrolled Fall 2021 Students
- Median Undergraduate GPA of Newly Enrolled Students
We also looked at the proportion of students in the class of 2018 who took the bar exam within two years of graduation and passed it.
Law school graduates are among the most powerful people in society. Twenty-six of our 46 presidents have been lawyers. Of the current nine Supreme Court justices, only Amy Coney Barrett did not attend an Ivy League law school.
These Ivy League institutions are well represented among top law schools. Of the 10 law schools with the lowest acceptance rates, in fact, eight are private. The two public ones are the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan.
The hardest law school to get into is Yale Law School. Here are the details:
- Acceptance rate: 4.1%
- Applications for fall 2021: 5,194
- Median undergraduate GPA of new enrollees: 3.94
- Median LSAT score of new enrollees: 174 out of 180
- Bar exam pass rate: 99%
Click here to see the 50 hardest law schools to get into.