Best Law Schools 2022
Discover how to evaluate and apply for law schools in 2022, including completing your LSAT. Learn about several of the top law schools for 2022.
The path to becoming a lawyer is difficult, but rewarding. When you first attend college, there are several different paths you can focus on, such as criminal justice, general legal studies or business law. Which option you choose is entirely based on your interests. After completing an undergraduate degree, you must get your postgraduate degree from a qualified law school. In order to get into a law school, you must complete the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). In addition to testing your legal knowledge, the LSAT also evaluates your general reading, writing, reasoning and creative thinking.
On average, it takes an additional three years to complete law school. Some schools have options for expediated courses. Applying for law school is similar to applying for a traditional college. Some of the more competitive law schools have strict requirements, such as getting a certain score on your LSAT. It may initially appear overwhelming, but there are several steps you can take to simplify the application process.
Law School Curriculum
The first step to picking a law school is evaluating all the options. The first area you want to look at is the curriculum. For the majority of law schools, the first year is nearly identical. During the first year, the focus is on general law and covers many of the lessons you already learned in college. Common lessons include civil procedure, criminal law, contracts and legal research and writing. You also learn about different legal methods and constitutional law. These classes serve as an overview of the legal system and help you make decisions on what area of law you want to specialize in for the remaining years.
The second- and third-year options are what you want to focus on. Most law schools have classes for all areas of laws, but some colleges have a much better reputation or stronger programs. If you already know what type of law you want to practice, prioritize schools with a stronger curriculum for your chosen path.
Another important consideration is the atmosphere of the school. Law school is difficult, so it is important you pick a school where you feel comfortable. If you are living in a stressful environment, it becomes even harder to pass law school. When considering a school, look at the overall size of the campus, how many students attend each year and what facilities are available on campus. It is also a good idea to look at what support programs and student organizations are available.
Cost of Law School
For many students, one of the biggest considerations for law school is cost. In addition to general tuition costs, you must also consider housing, food, books and general personal expenses. Many law schools have a high tuition. While there are some schools with a tuition as low as several thousand dollars, it is not uncommon to see a tuition in the $40,000 to $50,000 range. The majority of students rely on financial aid to get through law school. Fortunately, there are many sources of financial aid for future lawyers. If you are using a specific scholarship or grant, make sure it is compatible with the school you are applying for. Many schools themselves also offer financial aid.
Taking the LSAT
As of writing, the LSAT is divided into two sections. The first is a multiple-choice exam. This exam tests your general legal knowledge as well as reading comprehension and logical reasoning. In the past, this section had to be completed in-person. In 2020, this requirement was waived due to Covid-19. Currently, the test is available online. While there has been talk about returning to previous testing standards, no changes are expected until 2022 at the earliest.
The second section is the LSAT Writing exam. This exam is a single written essay. Despite being the second part of the test, the writing exam is actually assigned before the multiple-choice exam. You do not have to complete the writing exam in a single sitting, and are strongly encouraged to spend several days working on the essay. The essay is completed on your own computer, but you must install and use special software, which is provided as part of the exam.
The LSAT is only available at select times during the year. In the past, registration was limited to four months, but as of writing, the test is administered much more frequently. In 2021, there were nine different testing times. This is partly because the tests are now administered online. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) has an online list of all the available dates and deadlines to register.
When you take your LSAT largely depends on when you want to apply for school. It typically takes a month to receive your score. If you do not plan on attending law school until the next admission cycle, June is considered the best time to take the test. It gives you plenty of time to prepare during the year, and if you do not do well on the initial test, you can retake the test in October. You do not have to take the LSAT immediately after graduating. Many students take a year or two to prepare for the exam and save up money for law school.
Yale is considered one of the top law schools in the United States. Because of this prestigious reputation, it is also an expensive school to attend, with tuition costing on average between $60,000 to $70,000. During your first year, you do not receive standard grades, with the school using an honors, pass, low pass, credit or fail system. The classes are small, typically under 20 students, allowing for a more personalized learning experience. In the following years, students are able to create their own course selections instead of choosing a predetermined focus. There are also options for accelerated learning.
Harvard is another prestigious law school, with tuition typically costing between $65,000 to $75,000. While it is a competitive school, Harvard typically accepts more students each year than other top law schools. During your first year, you can participate in practice organizations. These organizations allow you to participate in small cases and develop real world experience. Legal clinics are available during your later years in college. All students must complete at least 40 hours of either pro bono or volunteer work before graduating.
New York University
In terms of developing practical experience, New York University is a top contender for law schools. From your first year, you gain access to the school’s Lawyering Program. This allows you to attend select legal clinics and participate in legal proceedings. Additional programs are available in your later years. Legal seminars are frequently hosted at the school as well, giving students more opportunities to learn. While the school has many legal programs available, it is most recognized for having a prestigious business law program.
University of Pennsylvania
In addition to traditional legal programs, the University of Pennsylvania offers extensive courses on gender, sexual orientation and racial discrimination. There are also specialized courses focusing on medical and design law. The school strongly encourages students to participate in community service projects. The university also partners with many local firms and commonly hosts legal clinics throughout the year. Students must complete at least 70 hours of pro bono work before graduating.