Best 15 Law Schools in California in 2021

Staff Writers by: Staff Writers

The legal field is ever-expanding in terms of the scope of what can be litigated or otherwise need the intervention of new laws and policies. Lawyers are needed in almost every industry, from commerce to international law relations, politics and economy, and the new fields that are upcoming. For this reason, lawyers have to keep up with all the trends in the wider society in order to know what to do when legal intervention is needed. Many law programs around the world are designed to stay ahead of current affairs and ensure the law students receive the most appropriate training for the time.

Why you should pursue a law degree

The reasons to enroll for a law degree are almost too obvious but worth a reminder. Many students entering college may have questions about a potential law degree. The reasons for one should be made clear and easy for them to understand. Almost anyone who has a passion will know that a law degree has several advantages. 

It’s still common knowledge that lawyers are some of the most skilled professionals in their trade. Their skillset is so unique that not just anyone can do their work. For that reason, a law degree sets you on your way to a potentially fledgling career where you will always be on-demand. There are myriads of careers to pursue when you have a law degree. Enhancement of job stability and growth- with the appreciation that the English language never gets old, a master’s degree holder is expected to earn more than a degree holder and to hold higher positions at the places of work. You can become an attorney, a consultant, a company executive, an entrepreneur, a professor, and so much more. 

Below are the 15 best universities and colleges offering a law degree in the state of California. All the schools in this list have been approved by the American Bar Association. They are, therefore, trustworthy and credible with the accreditation to show for it. 

Best 15 Law Schools in California

1. Stanford Law School (97 points)

Stanford Law School is easily one of the best law schools not only in the country but in the world. It has an engaging yet very competitive program, in addition to having postgraduate programs like LL.M and JD. The school’s student to faculty ratio of 4:1 is a quality assurance issue that gives any student enrolling peace of mind and assurance of getting the highest quality education. In addition to a mouth-watering program depending on the student’s concentration, the school offers a 100% guarantee to all students of housing in their first year. 

Tuition: $62,373 per year

Graduation Rate: 94%

2. University of California, Berkeley (95 points)

Berkeley Law School is another school that’s internationally acclaimed as one of the best ones in the world. The law school also boasts a respectable variety of programs from the undergraduate level all the way to JD. The school’s areas of interest include social justice and public interest, criminal justice, tech/ip/privacy/, constitutional law, business, and start-ups, among many others. The institution also places a heavy emphasis on experiential learning, with field placements and legal clinics being very common. The school offers an entry-level global access program for students preparing for their full legal studies.

Tuition: $49,325 per year

Graduation Rate: 93%

3. The University of California, Los Angeles School of Law (91 points)

The University of California Los Angeles School of LAW (UCLA) is a leading law school in California with a very rich program that places a special focus on critical race studies, Indian law, Human Rights, Law and Sexuality, Business and Tax law, among others. In 2018, 96% of all graduates from UCLA got employed in law degrees, ten months after graduation. Four hundred law firms and other legal workers visit the school campus each year, offering valuable information and networking opportunities.

Tuition: $45,600 per year

Graduation Rate: 92%

4. The University of Southern California, Gould School of Law (87 points)

USC Gould  School of Law is a leading law school with a good mix of online and on-campus programs in undergraduate, postgraduate and even non-certificate degrees. The oldest law school in Southern California, the school has a diverse student profile, with the representation of women and people of color. The school is strategically located in Los Angeles, providing students with numerous opportunities in externships, public interest, with a variety of options in both public and private practice. More than 10,000 professionals around the world trace their roots at USC Gould.

Tuition: $64,908 per year

Graduation Rate: 92%

5. The University of California, Irvine School of Law (83 points)

The University of California Irvine(UCI) School of Law also ranks very highly as one of the most competitive law schools in California. In addition to the usual, the school also boasts a Graduate Tax Program, which sets it apart from others on this list. As one of the newer ones on the list, the school has grown in the decade that it has been around to be one of the most competitive schools on this list. UCI Law students have been involved in more than 100,000 hours of pro-bono services in its ten years that it has been around.

Tuition: $45,099 per year

Graduation Rate: 84%

6. University of California, Davis School of Law (80 points)

UC Davis is an inclusive school that has representation, with 58% of the students being women and 45% being students of color. The areas of concentration include business law, healthcare law, and bioethics, intellectual property law, public interest law, among others. The school also offers a Juris Doctor and LL.M with a special summer in commercial law LL.M. The school also offers other certificate and short programs, including externships and clinical programs.

Tuition: $47,723 per year

Graduation Rate: 87%

7. Pepperdine Caruso School of Law 77 points)

When you enroll as a student at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, you expect to study one of many programs, including a Juris Doctor in several forms, several LL.M Programs, and of course, an undergraduate law degree. The school also offers a combined law degree in collaboration with other universities. There is also a special Master of dispute Resolution program in addition to a Dispute Resolution Certificate. The school also offers training law programs for professionals such as doctors, business executives, and educators. It also has a Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) program.

Tuition: $55,890 per year

Graduation Rate: 86%

8. University of California Hastings College of the Law (74 points)

UC Hastings College of the Law is one of the older schools in the state of California, having been established in1878 as the original law department of the University of California. The school offers traditional subjects like tort law, criminal law, contract law. It also ventures in emerging areas like bioethics law, digital media entrepreneurship and specializes in business-related subjects such as business tax. Their program is robust and offers opportunities to take part in co-curricular activities like legal startups. The programs are only available for postgraduate students. 

Tuition: $43,250 per year

Graduation rate: Unavailable

9. Loyola Law School (69 points)

Loyola Law School is also found in Los Angeles. It is currently ranked highest in the Southern California Super Lawyers and fifth in trial advocacy. The program promotes diversity and inclusivity, and being a catholic based school, it’s very attractive to those who would like to pursue their law degree while still practicing their faith. The school, however, does not discriminate against students from other faiths who may also benefit from its good program. The school also pays special attention to catering for disabled students and has in place measures to ensure inclusivity in that regard. 

Tuition: $57,230 per year

Graduation rate: Unavailable

10. University of San Diego School of Law (67 points)

The University of San Diego school of law celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2019, making it one of the oldest law institutions on this list. The numbers tell the story of a resilient institution that has kept changing to adapt to the fast-paced legal environment. The school remains one of the most inclusive ones, boasting a student population of 8000 from more than 85 countries and all the 50 U.S. States, with almost equal gender and race representation. The school also ranks high on many lists for some of the best law schools in the country. 

Tuition: $54,641 per year

Graduation Rate: 81%

11. Santa Clara University School of Law (61 points)

Located in Santa Clara County, CA, Santa Clara University School of Lawoffers not only the usual law degrees from undergraduate to JD levels but also certificates in high tech law, business law, intellectual property law and social justice, and public interest law. It has a variety of concentrations for postgraduate programs as well. The school has an unrivaled financial aid program, and given that it is located at the heart of silicon valley, it allows for very hands-on experience with one of the most active industries. Students get to learn on the job. 

Tuition: $50,624 per year

Graduation Rate: 91%

12. McGeorge School of Law (60 points)

McGeorge School of Law is located in Sacramento California’s capital, and has been around since 1924. The institution is one of the few schools on this list that offers three fully online degrees. The curriculum at McGeorge is designed to develop highly skilled professionals who are prepared for the rapidly changing legal market.

Tuition: $51,312 per year

Graduation Rate: 71%

13. Western State College of Law (55 points)

Western State College of Law is the second school on the list found in Irvine, California. The school has been ranked 3rd in preparation for the bar exam in the whole state, as a reflection of the quality of education. It offers a selection of programs that range from family law practice to immigration law practice. 

Tuition: $43,350 per year

14. University of San Francisco School of Law (54 points)

The University of San Francisco School of Law is a non-profit Jesuit University. It is located in San Francisco and offers 90% of all successful applicants financial aid. The Master’s of Legal Studies Program (MLST) is a popular course with 87 students currently enrolled in the program. The school has one of the best representation ratios in the country. 61.1% of the students are female, and 53.7% of the students are students of color in the JD Program. 

Tuition: $49,820

Graduation Rate: 75%

15. California Western School of Law (50 points)

Rounding up this list is the California Western School of Law, which is also located in San Diego. The school ranks among one of the top 10 U.S. Schools for diversity. It also ranks in the top 3 for required experiential learning credits (15) among U.S. Schools. The faculty has been published extensively in a number of law reviews and specialty journals, including California Law Review, Boston College Law Review, Iowa Law Review, among others. There are several programs available for both local and international students for postgraduate students. 

Tuition: $52,470 

Graduation rate: Unavailable

Ranking Methodology

This ranking was based on the analysis of best software data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the respective university websites. The schools were ranked based on tuition amounts and the rate of graduation. Both factors were accorded 50 points, and each school was assigned points based on how it compared with others on tuition amounts and graduation rates. The points earned for both ranking factors were then added together to get each school’s total score. The school with the most points ranked first in the list, and the points were accorded down the list accordingly.

We strive to provide current and accurate information to our readers. If you’re associated with any of the schools we ranked above and you realize an error in the information provided, please feel free to contact us and let us know so we can make any necessary corrections.

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right css-iok6vd-Tooltip">BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.<button type="button" class="css-1pz3fcu css-11e3mg8 css-1w9ghd css-1hhul3j css-1jbuhzf css-yrxnuw css-1u78gm9 css-1y4tel7 css-1kru6p0 css-rnous3 css-12fbi72 bg-accent close-button">Got it!</button></div></section></div></form></div></div> <script> (function(){var i=this.element,e=this.props;if(i){i.setAttribute("data-ssr-mounted","");var o=i.querySelector("select[name=degree]"),a=i.querySelector("select[name=category]"),c=i.querySelector("select[name=subject]"),t=c.querySelectorAll("optgroup"),n=i.querySelector("[name=url]"),r=o.children[0].label,l=a.children[0].label,u=c.children[0].label,s=window.self!==window.top;n.value=s?document.referrer:window.location.href;for(var d,g,m,p=[],f=[],h=[],y=1;y<o.length;y++)p.push({name:o[y].label,id:o[y].value,selected:o[y].selected});for(var b=1;b<a.length;b++)f.push({name:a[b].label,id:a[b].value,selected:a[b].selected,degree:p.map(function(e){return e.id})});for(var v=0;v<t.length;v++){for(var x=void 0,w=0;w<f.length;w++)f[w].name===t[v].label&&(x=f[w].id);for(var O=0;O<t[v].children.length;O++){var E=t[v].children[O];h.push({name:E.label,id:E.value,selected:E.selected,category:x,degree:p.map(function(e){return e.id})})}}o.addEventListener("change",F),a.addEventListener("change",N),c.addEventListener("change",z);var S="".concat("https://platform.highereducation.com/","api"),j="\n query QuickDegreeFinderFeed(\n $publisher: String!\n ) {\n quickDegreeFinder(\n publisher: $publisher\n ) {\n degrees {\n id\n name\n slug\n categories {\n id\n name\n slug\n subjects {\n id\n name\n slug\n }\n }\n }\n }\n }\n ",k={publisher:e&&e.publisher},C="".concat(S,"?query=").concat(encodeURIComponent(j),"&variables=").concat(encodeURIComponent(JSON.stringify(k)));if(k.publisher&&I(C,function(e){var t,n,i=JSON.parse(e).data,r=i&&i.quickDegreeFinder&&i.quickDegreeFinder.degrees;r||!r.length?(t=r.reduce(function(t,n){return n.categories.forEach(function(e){t[e.id]=t[e.id]||e,t[e.id].degree=t[e.id].degree||[],t[e.id].degree.push(n.id)}),t},{}),t=Object.keys(t).map(function(e){return t[e]}),n=r.reduce(function(n,i){return i.categories.forEach(function(t){t.subjects.forEach(function(e){n[e.id]=n[e.id]||e,n[e.id].category=n[e.id].category||t.id,n[e.id].degree=n[e.id].degree||[],n[e.id].degree.push(i.id)})}),n},{}),n=Object.keys(n).map(function(e){return n[e]}),d=p.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),g=f.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),m=h.filter(function(e){return e.selected}),p=r.map(function(e){return e.selected=d[0]&&d[0].id==e.id||!1,e}),f=t.map(function(e){return e.selected=g[0]&&g[0].id==e.id||!1,e}).sort(function(e,t){return e.name<t.name?-1:e.name>t.name?1:0}),h=n.map(function(e){return e.selected=m[0]&&m[0].id==e.id||!1,e}).sort(function(e,t){return e.name<t.name?-1:e.name>t.name?1:0}),F()):console.error("Problem loading QDF feed.")}),"undefined"!=typeof window&&!window.toggleTooltip){Element.prototype.matches||(Element.prototype.matches=Element.prototype.msMatchesSelector||Element.prototype.webkitMatchesSelector),Element.prototype.closest||(Element.prototype.closest=function(e){var t=this;do{if(t.matches(e))return t;t=t.parentElement||t.parentNode}while(null!==t&&1===t.nodeType);return null}),window.NodeList&&!NodeList.prototype.forEach&&(NodeList.prototype.forEach=Array.prototype.forEach);var P=function(e){if(!e)return!1;var t=window.innerWidth,n=e.getBoundingClientRect().left,i=t-(n+e.offsetWidth);return 275+10<i?"right":i<n?"left":"right"};window.toggleTooltip=function(e){if(e.target.classList.contains("tooltip-toggle")){var t=i.querySelector(".tooltip-toggle"),n=e.target.closest("section").querySelector(".tooltip-body");"left"===P(t)?(n.classList.remove("right"),n.classList.add("left")):(n.classList.remove("left"),n.classList.add("right")),n.classList.toggle("open"),"undefined"!=typeof window&&void 0!==window.tagular&&window.tagular("beam","ElementClicked",{"@type":"redventures.usertracking.v3.ElementClicked",webElement:{location:"AD_DISCLOSURE",elementType:"TOOLTIP",position:"Search Experience",text:"Click - 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