best pre law schools in pennsylvania

Last Updated on September 5, 2022 by Smile Ese

Pennsylvania is a well-developed state that offers so much to its residents. One of those offerings is higher learning and the students that flock to these majestic institutions are lucky to be in one of the best places to receive a quality education. The best pre law schools in Pennsylvania offer exactly that – quality education for college students looking to get a jump-start on their career path.

If you choose to attend a university, you will need to take many factors into consideration, such as tuition, housing, acceptance rates, school rankings, graduation rates, etc. Now, if you are looking to apply to the best pre law schools in pennsylvania, how would you know that?

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

In our article, we recognize the best pre law schools in pennsylvania, including the best law schools in pennsylvania, best pre law schools in new york, best suny schools for pre law, best pre law schools in california, and best pre law schools in florida. You will also find related articles on best pre law schools in pennsylvania on Collegelearners.

best pre law schools in pennsylvania

DeSales University Center Valley, PA

DeSales University offers 1 Pre-Law Studies degree programs. It’s a small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a outlying rural area. In 2019, 1 Pre-Law Studies students graduated with students earning 1 Bachelor’s degree.

Cedar Crest College Allentown, PA

Cedar Crest College offers 1 Pre-Law Studies degree programs. It’s a small, 

Here Are the Best Law Schools in Pennsylvania

Being an attorney means pursuing justice to help those who are less fortunate. Whether working for a non-profit or defending a company’s intellectual property, this profession means working for the greater good. Lawyers also have exciting jobs full of intellectual stimulation and are respected by their peers. 

Prospective lawyers must complete a law school education and pass the bar exam in order to practice law. Students learn the subtleties of the law and how to think like a lawyer at elite colleges. Being a full-time lawyer necessitates the development of critical thinking skills as well as the ability to handle problems in novel ways. These skills are frequently acquired through hands-on experience. Externships, clinics, mock trials, and student clubs are all available at the leading law schools to help students grow professionally.

With nine well-regarded law schools, it is no surprise that Pennsylvania is a great place to practice law and attend school. There is a vibrant legal community with opportunities in nearly every practice area. Popular fields include litigation, finance, and corporate law, but there are plenty of other options as well. The state is home to over 50,000 active lawyers, with an 8.5% growth over the past decade.

There are many of Fortune 500 organizations in Pennsylvania that are looking to hire exceptional grads. Pennsylvania lawyers earn an average annual compensation of $117,000, which is 126 percent higher than the national average. With so many alternatives, deciding which educational path is perfect for you might be difficult. Based on each school’s placement in the US News list, this is a ranking of the finest law schools in Pennsylvania. When there was a tie, the College Gazette team made an editorial choice on which school would be the tiebreaker.

9. Widener University Commonwealth Law School (Dauphin County, PA)

Widener University Commonwealth Law School
Widener University, Commonwealth Law School Student Organization Building, CC BY 2.5

Widener University is at the forefront of legal education, providing enriching opportunities for students and alumni. The Princeton Review ranked it as a Top 10 Law School for state and local judicial clerkships in 2020. The school works with top students through a competitive application process to land the coveted spots.

Widener graduates also top the rankings for employment outcomes. The law school was recognized as the #1 school for Employment Honor Roll by preLaw magazine. This ranking looks at law schools that do not attract the top 1% of law students but still place their graduates in good jobs. 

In a joint venture with the Dauphin County Bar Association, Widener has started a legal incubator program. This program provides new graduates with the resources and training for solo small firms that benefit the surrounding community. Around 30% of Widener graduates seek to start small practices that benefit from the skills training and support provided by the university.

8. Duquesne University School of Law (Pittsburgh, PA)

Duquesne University School of Law
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Duquesne has over 8,000 alumni practicing in all 50 states and several countries nationally. Out of all the law schools in Pennsylvania, it has produced the most judges seated in the Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, and Court of Common Pleas.

With such distinguished alumni, it is not surprising that Duquesne is among the top law schools in bar passage nationally. Due to the rigorous legal education program, the school boasts an impressive ultimate bar passage rate of 93%. The admissions team looks beyond statistics to see the potential in every applicant.

Along with an impressive alumni network, Duquesne has a nationally ranked trial advocacy program that prepares students to be courtroom-ready attorneys. Law students gain experience in case analysis, trial preparation, witness preparation, and case presentation. The best students earn the opportunity to compete in regional and national competitions and be coached by practicing attorneys. The team has earned a number of national championships, including the American Association for Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition and the Buffalo-Niagara Invitational Mock Trial Competition.

7. Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law (Philadelphia, PA)

Drexel University Kline School of Law
CoreyAcri, Drexel University Kline School of Law, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Kline School of Law was started to fulfill a demand for law graduates with immediate experience. The co-op program requires each student to complete at least one co-op or clinical placement and an additional 50 hours of pro bono service. Co-op placements align with each student’s area of interest and allow graduates to enter the workforce with the skills necessary to meet the rigorous demands of a lawyer. Students also make relationships with professionals in the business, choosing from over 200 of Drexel’s co-op partners.

Due to the experienced lawyers that Drexel produces, it is ranked among the top 25 law schools in the US for job placement based on Law School Transparency. Students can work for a variety of employers from government agencies to corporations to public interest organizations. Major employers include the ACLU, US Army JAG Corps, US Department of Justice, IBM, and Pfizer.

Drexel is home to the Thomas R. Kline Institute for Trial Advocacy, a facility that allows law students to practice their skills in a professional setting. The building houses many trial practice rooms, cutting-edge technology, and a ceremonial courtroom.

6. University of Pittsburgh School of Law (Pittsburgh, PA)

University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Pitt’s School of Law is committed to providing scholarships to law students through all three years. The National Jurist ranked it as one of the Best Value Law Schools when taking into account job placement, tuition, debt, and bar passage rates. The vast majority of students at Pitt receive scholarship funds to maintain an impressive cost to value ratio.

Law students at Pitt have access to a wide range of opportunities, such as the interdisciplinary centers on campus. These include centers for Bioethics and Health Law, International Legal Education, Community Legal Services & Clinical Legal Education, Cyber Law, Policy, & Security. Students can perform research alongside faculty and engage with policymakers to make a change.

The Future Law Project at Pitt investigates how law policy and action should be informed by cross-field research. The center brings in experts across research, academia, and legal practice to determine the future of law as a field of expertise and a source of social order infrastructure.

5. Penn State Law (University Park, PA)

Penn State graduates enter the workforce as part of a network of over 700,000 alumni worldwide who work in all areas. Law students gain critical knowledge of the law along with the communication, legal practice skills, and confidence to achieve their professional goals.

Law students at Penn State have many integrated learning opportunities, such as the business startup accelerator program. The Entrepreneur Assistance and Intellectual Property clinics allow students to learn basic legal skills required to attract and interview potential clinics. Law students have the opportunity to represent entrepreneurs, startups, and non-profits in a similar setting to a small law firm. In the IP clinic, participants prepare Patent & Trademark Office documents under the supervision of practicing attorneys.

The Externships Everywhere program at Penn State allows law students to spend a semester working in a legal office anywhere in the world. They can earn credits and gain valuable experience with judges, government agencies, non-profits, businesses, or law firms that best fit their professional goals.

4. Pennsylvania State University Dickinson Law (Carlisle, PA)

Due to Dickinson Law’s rigorous curriculum and opportunities for involvement, graduates find success across the board. 95% of law graduates in the class of 2019 were employed in positions requiring bar passage or a JD degree nine months after graduation. 

One popular extracurricular activity is the Dickinson Law Review, one of the oldest continuously published law school journals nationwide. Law students are responsible for publishing articles and commentary on relevant legal topics. The collection of articles, essays, reviews, and commentary are often cited from courts to treatises. The organization also hosts symposia and scholarly dialogues with highly-regarded legal authors.

Outside of publications, Dickinson law students have their choice of a wide variety of organizations to get involved with the campus community. The groups help law students develop personally and professionally. The Student Bar Association forms new groups and holds events that align with student interests.

3. Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law (Villanova, PA)

Villanova is renowned for preparing students with academic, professional, and practical skills. The university’s “Where Law Meets Business” philosophy is seen through the six in-house clinics and over 275 externships tailored to specific career interests.

Students can also gain hands-on experience through the Lawyering Together program, which brings together law students, attorneys, and pro bono organizations in an innovative partnership. Villanova prides itself in recruiting law students committed to public service and teaches them the skills required to help the disadvantaged. Those who hope to devote their career to public service are matched with practicing attorneys to provide free legal aid to those in need.

Thanks to the practical experience that Villanova provides, the school has a wide range of accomplished alumni, including federal and state judges, professors, entrepreneurs, and many of the top lawyers nationwide. This network, from senators to general counsels, is committed to helping all Villanova Law students succeed.

2. Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law (Philadelphia, PA)

Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law
Rolltribe, Klein Hall – The James E. Beasley School of Law, CC BY-SA 4.0

Temple University’s broad legal education allows students to succeed in any field. This can be seen in their program’s rankings in US News, placing #1 in Trial Advocacy and #7 in Legal Writing nationwide. The university trains both law students and practitioners alike in the art of trial advocacy. Graduates from Temple are courtroom-ready as they have received a cutting-edge education. 

Law students at Temple are well-prepared for their future careers as lawyers. First-time test-takers in 2020 passed the bar at a rate of 83.6% compared to the average of 78%.

Best Pre-Law Schools for Future Lawyers

Temple has also found great success in moot court competitions. The team has recently earned the right to represent the country at the International Criminal Moot Court Competition held at the Hague for the fourth consecutive year. The team is led by faculty with appellate advocacy expertise and practicing attorneys as coaches. Law students are invited to join the team based on their success in appellate advocacy briefs and oral arguments.

1. University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School (Philadelphia, PA)

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
Jeffrey M. Vinocur, University of Pennsylvania Law School, CC BY-SA 3.0

As an Ivy League school, UPenn has the resources and recognition for preparing students for a successful career in law. It has consistently been ranked among the T14 law schools since the US News began publishing rankings.

As a top school, UPenn is one of the top feeders to Top 100 law firms. 95.3% of the class of 2020 obtained full-time jobs after graduation, with a median salary of $180,000.

Law students are responsible for the UPenn Law Review, the oldest law review in the country founded in 1852. As a forum for high-quality legal research, the organization evaluates around 2,000 submissions annually and narrows it down to 18 articles for each volume.

UPenn’s multidisciplinary focus is behind its success. The school believes that the next generation of lawyers will be trained in law and related fields that complement and enhance their legal expertise. Nearly 50% of the law school courses are interdisciplinary, and the school offers over 20 joint and dual degree programs to meet this goal.

best school for pre law

Now it’s time to take a look at our top picks for the best pre-law schools in the United States.

This unscientific ranking of the best pre-law schools is based on gathering schools from a few different law school rankings list, and lists of top schools for undergraduate studies, particularly ones that are strong in humanities. I also considered whether the school has an exceptional pre-law major or is academically strong overall. I also tried to make sure this list had some variety, since not everyone is just looking to get into a top-10 law school.

Keep in mind that while there are schools who offer pre-law degrees on this list, they may not be top schools overall since the major is fairly uncommon. You still need to carefully consider whether or not you should actually major in pre-law, and what your goals are for law school.

#1: Harvard College

A traditional feeder school, a Harvard education will undoubtedly give you an advantage in your law school applications, especially with the right grades and LSAT scores. Harvard also has several organizations for pre-law students, including the Harvard Law Society and the Harvard College Black Pre-Law Association. You’ll also be able to take advantage of Harvard’s alumni network at top schools and law firms.

#2: Yale University

Yale is considered the top law school in the country, and is the 4th best university overall according to US News and World Report. Though Yale does not have a pre-law major, the school does offer an interdisciplinary track that allows students to create their own major that can give them the skills that law schools seek. The Yale Law School Admission Council also provides undergraduates with pre-law counseling and events throughout the year.

#3: Northwestern University

Northwestern is known for academic rigor, and a big school means lots of resources, including their own law school. Northwestern’s Legal Studies track can be completed as a major or a minor, and differs from pre-law programs in that it has an interdisciplinary focus and aims to teach students to think critically about the relationship between law and society, and includes everything from psychology to literature to religious studies. It’s a well-rounded degree, and the added advantage of being in Chicago means more opportunities for internships.

#4: University of Maryland

The University of Maryland has a department dedicated to advising pre-law students, which also connects students with resources and mentors, and works closely with the university’s law school. Maryland also has a three year arts/law degree program, in which a student can apply to law school in their third year of undergrad, and be awarded their baccalaureate degree in their first year of law school. College Park is also close to Washington D.C., which can help you with landing an internship.

#5: Georgetown University

Georgetown’s pre-law advising center offers resources on all things law school, including one-on-one advising, help with applications, and workshops. Additionally, Georgetown’s record of academics in the humanities make it a great place to learn the skills necessary to excel in law school, and its Washington D.C. location means opportunities to have internships and make connections with those working in the legal field or in politics.


#6: New York University

NYU is in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world, and certainly offers a ton of opportunities for internships both in the legal industry and beyond. NYU also offers the Lawyer Alumni Mentoring Program, or LAMP, for pre-law students. The school’s academics are rigorous overall, and has a strong record in the humanities, particularly English.

#7: Michigan State University

Michigan State offers a pre-law major that is also considered a liberal arts degree. The pre-law major aims to introduce students to legal studies while also teaching critical thinking and analytical skills so that pre-law majors are prepared to work in law enforcement, become paralegals, or go into a career in government.

#8: University of Texas at Austin

UT Austin’s career center hosts one of the largest Law Fairs in the country every year, which allows students to interact with over 100 law school admissions professionals. The career center also hosts panels and workshops, law school application coaching, and more. If you’re stuck between majors, these resources can help you decide what is best for you, and what will help you stand out on an application. UT Austin offers many majors in both sciences and humanities, and UT students go onto to law school with degrees in numerous fields.

#9: Florida State University

In addition to one of the country’s top Criminal Justice programs, FSU has a pre-law advising center that helps students magnify their achievements within their majors, and works closely with the law school. FSU hosts the Donald J. Weidner Summer Program for Legal Studies, a four-week program taught by law professors. Even better: 70% of program attendees have gone on to law school. The program is open to undergraduates from all schools and is competitive.

#10: George Washington University

George Washington University encourages pre-law students to establish themselves as pre-law early on, and take advantage of the many groups, societies, and panels dedicated to that goal. Advisers at GW help you find the law schools that are the best fit for your background and goals, and they tailor your undergrad education to those schools. Additionally, the Washington D.C. location makes for a great spot to score internships.

#11: Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern is a little different than the other schools on this list because of its thorough pre-law (legal studies) major that offers an undergraduate law degree. Nova Southeastern is dedicated to helping students prepare for law school by offering a challenging program and a dedicated interest in the humanities. The school’s B.S. in Legal Studies major also allows students to take classes in philosophy, history, and more as they work toward their degree.

best law schools

Do you want to study a Law degree abroad? Do you want to study at one of the best law schools in the world? Granted you can afford it, or that you can land a scholarship, you’ll still have to consider your options. And that’s what international university rankings are for!

We’ve included top 10 lists from QS Rankings by TopUniversities, World University Rankings by Times Higher Education and Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai University. You can also check out Academic Influence Real-Time Ranking and student reviews from graduates who studied in the universities of law mentioned in the top 10s.

Don’t forget that even if you don’t necessarily want to study in top-tier schools, there are still plenty of good international study options. So, check the extended law school lists included in the official website links after each top 10.

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021: Law

  • Harvard University, US
  • University of Oxford, UK
  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • Yale University, US
  • Stanford University, US
  • The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK
  • Columbia University, US
  • New York University (NYU), US
  • University of California, Berkeley (UCB), US
  • National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore

World University Rankings 2022 by subject: Law

  • Stanford University, US
  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • New York University, US
  • University of Oxford, UK
  • University of Melbourne, Australia
  • University College London, UK
  • Harvard University, US
  • National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • Yale University, US
  • KU Leuven, Belgium
Friendly lawyer offering advice to young couple

ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2021 – Law

  • Yale University, US
  • Harvard University, US
  • University of Chicago, US
  • Columbia University, US
  • New York University, US
  • University of Pennsylvania, US
  • Stanford University, US
  • University of California, Berkeley (UCB), US
  • University of Virginia, US
  • Duke University, US

Academic Influence Real-Time Rankings – Law schools November 2021

  • Harvard University, US
  • Yale University, US
  • Columbia University, US
  • University of London, UK
  • Stanford University, US
  • Georgetown University, US
  • New York University, US
  • University of Chicago, US
  • University of Michigan, US
  • University of California, Berkeley (UCB), US

Here are other law schools we recommend:

  • Northeastern University, the US
  • University of Leeds, the UK
  • The University of Western Australia, Australia
  • Utrecht University, the Netherlands
  • University of Wroclaw, Poland

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