Top 15 Best Law Schools in New York 2024

If you’re considering a law career in New York, it’s important to apply to a variety of New York law schools. Below is a list of American Bar Association (ABA) approved law schools in New York, ranked by the US News & World Report. These rankings are based on factors like how well graduates are placed in jobs, the resources available to faculty, the achievements of incoming students, and opinions from law professionals.

For each school, you’ll find details like median LSAT scores, GPAs, acceptance rates, and tuition costs. Additionally, you’ll learn about unique opportunities each school offers, such as study abroad programs and special academic centers and institutes. This information can help you make an informed decision about where to apply and ultimately attend law school in New York.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a New York Law School

Cost: If you already live in New York, attending a local school like SUNY Buffalo or CUNY can be more affordable due to lower in-state tuition rates. Several schools on this list also offer part-time programs, which can be over $10,000 cheaper than full-time programs. While part-time programs might be less immersive, they offer flexibility for those who are working full-time or have family responsibilities.

Areas of Focus: Each school has its specialties, with 4-6 key areas highlighted by the US News & World Report. If you’re interested in Environmental Law, NYU or Pace might be the best choices. For those interested in Dispute Resolution, Yeshiva or Fordham could be excellent fits.

Qualifications: Pay attention to the median LSAT scores and GPAs of entering students listed for each school. For example, with an LSAT score of 165, you might qualify for Yeshiva and St. John’s but not Cornell or Columbia. However, remember that admissions committees consider a variety of factors, so scores are not the only determining factor.

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Top New York Law Schools: A Quick Overview

1. New York University (NYU) – New York, NY

NYU Law is renowned for its top rankings in Criminal Law, International Law, and Tax Law. Its Lawyering Program offers hands-on training and fosters close relationships with faculty and peers. Many students pursue joint degrees with other NYU programs and prestigious institutions like Harvard and Princeton. The school also offers international study opportunities through its abroad and exchange programs.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #5
  • Median LSAT Score: 172
  • Median GPA: 3.88
  • Acceptance Rate: 15.7%
  • Tuition: $76,290
  • Specialties: Criminal Law, International Law, Tax Law, Intellectual Property Law, Business/Corporate Law, Environmental Law

2. Columbia University – New York, NY

Columbia Law School ranks #1 in Business/Corporate Law and #2 in Contracts/Commercial Law and International Law. The program is known for its world-class faculty, hands-on legal training, and innovative curriculum. As the most selective school on this list, high LSAT scores and GPAs are essential for admission.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #8
  • Median LSAT Score: 173
  • Median GPA: 3.87
  • Acceptance Rate: 11.9%
  • Tuition: $78,278
  • Specialties: Business/Corporate Law, Contracts/Commercial Law, International Law, Criminal Law, Environmental Law, Tax Law

3. Cornell University – Ithaca, NY

Cornell Law School is ranked #13 in Best Law Schools. Despite being a midsize program, it offers small class sizes that foster a close-knit community. Cornell is also highly ranked for placing graduates in top 100 law firms.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #13
  • Median LSAT Score: 172
  • Median GPA: 3.87
  • Acceptance Rate: 17.4%
  • Tuition: $74,183
  • Specialties: Constitutional Law, Contracts/Commercial Law, Business/Corporate Law, International Law

4. Fordham University – New York, NY

Fordham Law offers both day and evening programs, with many students pursuing dual degrees with the Gabelli School of Business and the Graduate School of Social Service. It features over 15 centers and institutes, including the world’s first Fashion Law Institute, along with numerous clinics and journals.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #29
  • Median LSAT Score: 167
  • Median GPA: 3.72
  • Acceptance Rate: 18.8%
  • Full-Time Tuition: $69,166
  • Part-Time Tuition: $52,034
  • Specialties: Trial Advocacy, Clinical Training, Dispute Resolution, Criminal Law, International Law, Business/Corporate Law

5. St. John’s University – Jamaica, NY

St. John’s Law School offers a diverse and inclusive community reflective of its Queens location. It provides study abroad opportunities, clinics, externships, and advocacy competitions, helping graduates excel in the Bar Exam and secure top legal jobs.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #60
  • Median LSAT Score: 162
  • Median GPA: 3.66
  • Acceptance Rate: 39.9%
  • Full-Time Tuition: $68,992
  • Part-Time Tuition: $52,042
  • Specialties: Legal Writing, Trial Advocacy, Dispute Resolution

6. Yeshiva University (Cardozo) – New York, NY

Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University is known for its student-focused approach and strong Dispute Resolution program, ranked #5 by US News. Although Yeshiva is a Jewish university, the student body is diverse and not particularly religious. Cardozo is home to the Innocence Project, founded in 1992 to help exonerate wrongly convicted individuals through DNA testing.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #69
  • Median LSAT Score: 164
  • Median GPA: 3.76
  • Acceptance Rate: 33.8%
  • Tuition: $67,792
  • Specialties: Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property Law, Criminal Law, Tax Law

7. Albany Law School – Albany, NY

Albany Law School, affiliated with the University at Albany, offers robust in-house clinics and dual degree programs in various fields such as Regional Planning, Public Health, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Notable clinics include the Domestic Violence Prosecution Hybrid Clinic and the Health Law Clinic.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #105
  • Median LSAT Score: 155
  • Median GPA: 3.48
  • Acceptance Rate: 50.2%
  • Tuition: $55,470
  • Specialties: Clinical Training, Environmental Law, Health Care Law, Tax Law

8. Brooklyn Law School – Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn Law School is recognized for career excellence, having appeared on The National Law Journal’s ranking for the highest percentage of graduates hired as first-year associates at the nation’s 100 largest law firms. Its location provides students with many hands-on training opportunities in New York City and prestigious international fellowships.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #111
  • Median LSAT Score: 160
  • Median GPA: 3.54
  • Acceptance Rate: 46.2%
  • Full-Time Tuition: $68,321
  • Part-Time Tuition: $51,366
  • Specialties: Legal Writing, Criminal Law, Business/Corporate Law, Clinical Training, Tax Law

9. Syracuse University – Syracuse, NY

Syracuse Law offers small class sizes, enabling close connections with professors. It is known for its leadership in disability, innovation, and national security law. The school offers both residential and online J.D. programs.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #122
  • Median LSAT Score: 157
  • Median GPA: 3.56
  • Acceptance Rate: 41.7%
  • Tuition: $59,482
  • Specialties: Trial Advocacy, Legal Writing, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law

10. New York Law School – New York, NY

Established in 1891 and located in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, New York Law School offers full-time and part-time J.D. programs. The school emphasizes a blend of theory and practice through a variety of clinics, competition teams, and journals.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #125
  • Median LSAT Score: 155
  • Median GPA: 3.53
  • Acceptance Rate: 51.5%
  • Full-Time Tuition: $60,866
  • Part-Time Tuition: $46,778
  • Specialties: Criminal Law, Clinical Training, International Law, Trial Advocacy, Constitutional Law

11. University at Buffalo—SUNY (Buffalo, NY)

SUNY Buffalo offers an affordable law education, especially for New York residents, as it is the only law school in the SUNY system. Located near an international border, it provides unique cross-border learning opportunities, including a concentration in cross-border legal studies.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #125
  • Median LSAT Score: 156
  • Median GPA: 3.61
  • Acceptance Rate: 44%
  • In-State Tuition: $28,488
  • Out-of-State Tuition: $33,328
  • Specialties: Trial Advocacy, Criminal Law, Legal Writing, International Law, Constitutional Law

12. Pace University (Haub) (White Plains, NY)

Pace University’s Haub School of Law is ranked #1 in Environmental Law. Its faculty includes pioneers in the field, and it boasts several specialized centers and institutes, such as the Energy and Climate Center and the Pace Food Law Center.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #131
  • Median LSAT Score: 153
  • Median GPA: 3.39
  • Acceptance Rate: 51.6%
  • Full-Time Tuition: $52,348
  • Part-Time Tuition: $39,266
  • Specialties: Environmental Law, Trial Advocacy, Tax Law, Criminal Law, Health Care Law

13. Hofstra University (Deane) (Hempstead, NY)

Located on Long Island, the Deane School of Law at Hofstra University offers easy access to New York City, allowing students to complete externships at major firms and corporations. It also offers joint degree programs with Hofstra’s Zarb School of Business and School of Health Sciences and Human Services.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #140
  • Median LSAT Score: 156
  • Median GPA: 3.56
  • Acceptance Rate: 44.7%
  • Full-Time Tuition: $66,554
  • Part-Time Tuition: $49,852
  • Specialties: Trial Advocacy, Legal Writing, Dispute Resolution, Criminal Law, Tax Law

14. CUNY School of Law (Long Island City, NY)

CUNY School of Law offers affordable in-state tuition for New York residents and was established to train public interest lawyers committed to using law for social good. It ranks #3 in the country for Clinical Training, according to US News.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #154
  • Median LSAT Score: 154
  • Median GPA: 3.42
  • Acceptance Rate: 35.3%
  • In-State Tuition: $16,013
  • Out-of-State Tuition: $26,203
  • Specialties: Clinical Training, Environmental Law, Criminal Law, Health Care Law, Constitutional Law

15. Touro University (Fuchsberg) (Central Islip, NY)

Touro University’s Fuchsberg Law Center offers scholarships to 95% of its students and provides unique learning opportunities at nearby federal and state courthouses. It is highly rated for professor accessibility by The Princeton Review.

  • U.S. News Ranking: #167
  • Median LSAT Score: 150
  • Median GPA: 3.11
  • Acceptance Rate: 51.4%
  • Full-Time Tuition: $55,630
  • Part-Time Tuition: $42,010
  • Specialties: Legal Writing, Contracts/Commercial Law, Health Care Law

Law Schools in New York – Conclusion

New York is home to a diverse array of law schools, each offering unique specialties and advantages. Whether you’re looking for top-ranked programs in specific fields like environmental law or seeking affordable options with opportunities for practical experience, there’s a law school in New York to suit your needs. From prestigious institutions like SUNY Buffalo to specialized programs like Pace University’s Haub School of Law, aspiring lawyers have a range of choices to consider. Ultimately, by carefully evaluating factors such as tuition costs, areas of focus, and campus culture, you can find the perfect fit for your legal education and career goals in the vibrant landscape of New York’s law schools.