While the country's oldest law school may sit on the top of many "ideal schools lists," the Crimson isn't for everyone. Try this search engine to start checking out different law schools; then compare them side-by-side here.

Your GPA and your LSAT score do not guarantee or cancel definite admissions, but they can provide good starting points for selecting a list of schools. The best thing to do is what you probably did when looking at undergraduate schools - pick some "safeties", some reaches, and some good fits. Insert your numbers into these fields to determine your probable chance of admission for any school on your list.

You should also browse the range of GPAs and LSAT scores for previous admits, as shown in the U.S. News and World Report's annual ranking of top law schools. This list, which is generally considered the decisive list in school rankings, includes such factors as GPAs, LSAT scores, reputation, student/faculty ratio, job placement rate, and bar passage rate.

Keep in mind, though, that these rankings should not make or break any of your decisions. In fact, law school deans across the country recently signed a complaint letter arguing that the big list does not take into consideration the following factors:

  • Breadth and support of alumni network
  • Breadth of curriculum
  • Clinical programs
  • Collaborative research opportunities with faculty
  • Commitment to innovative technology
  • Cost
  • Externship options
  • Faculty accessibility
  • Intensity of writing instruction
  • Interdisciplinary programs
  • International programming
  • Law library strengths and services
  • Loan repayment assistance for low-income lawyers
  • Location
  • Part-time enrollment option
  • Public interest programs
  • Quality of teaching
  • Racial and gender diversity within the faculty and student body
  • Religious affiliation
  • Size of first-year classes
  • Skills instruction
  • Specialized areas of faculty expertise

Looks like they don't consider more than they do consider.

Also, as much as this process is about law schools choosing you, it's also about you selecting the best program to suit your needs and interests. Something to keep in mind as you research is that certain schools with lower rankings may have super-duper strengths in particular programs. Cardozo Law School, for example, is considered a "tier two" school, but it is ranked sixth in Intellectual Property law programs. Temple University in Pennsylvania is not considered to be an absolute top tier school, but it has one of the top programs for trial lawyers. And as much focus as is put on Yale Law School, if you are good enough to get in, you should also realize that Yale is best suited for those who are interested in going into public service (politics, government work, becoming a judge, etc.) as opposed to joining a huge and powerful law firm.

Finally, perks like dual degree programs, externships, and study abroad options are not available at every law school. Know what you want, and research well. Check here to see program-specific rankings.

But you still want a quick look at what's on top? Fine, fine. These are law schools are in the US News top 15. Again, rankings don't matter, but you'll find a particularly high number of brilliant people at these schools, so subsequently, they're tougher to get admittance to:

  • Yale
  • Stanford
  • Harvard
  • New York University
  • Columbia
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
  • University of California - Berkeley
  • University of Virginia
  • Cornell
  • Duke
  • Northwestern
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Georgetown
  • University of Texas - Austin