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Law School Rankings—International Edition

Vivia Chen

March 7, 2012

Cambridge_University_Crest_-_flatForeign students are invading top American colleges and universities, taking over precious seats, so isn't it about time that Americans invade theirs? If you're interested in getting a law degree, why not look beyond the United States?

QS Quacquarelli Symonds's QSTopUniversities, which ranks universities around the world, offers a handy chart of the world's top law schools. Here are the top 30 based on academic reputation, employers' views, and citations per faculty member (hat tip: TaxProfBlog):

Title Country Academic Employer Citations Score
Harvard University United States 100.0 93.8 35.4 91.7
University of Oxford United Kingdom 92.7 100.0 37.9 89.4
University of Cambridge United Kingdom 92.6 91.0 38.0 86.7
Yale University United States 83.0 60.5 31.7 71.1
Stanford University United States 67.4 76.7 29.1 66.4
6 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) United States 75.2 53.9 26.8 64.0
7 London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) United Kingdom 63.5 66.0 24.9 60.4
8 Columbia University United States 61.2 63.9 32.3 59.1
9 The University of Melbourne Australia 57.1 59.7 42.1 56.4
10 New York University (NYU) United States 57.7 57.7 25.1 54.4
11 The University of Sydney Australia 57.0 51.2 43.3 53.9
12 McGill University Canada 55.9 54.5 38.1 53.7
13 University of Toronto Canada 58.9 43.0 47.8 53.0
14 University of Chicago United States 61.3 43.4 27.2 52.5
15 Australian National University Australia 56.4 45.7 30.3 50.6
16 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) United States 48.7 53.8 42.7 49.6
17 University of Michigan United States 47.8 51.7 35.1 47.7
18 The University of Auckland New Zealand 48.0 52.3 28.1 47.3
19 Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand 43.8 34.7 100.0 46.7
20 Monash University Australia 40.4 55.9 48.5 45.9
21 King’s College London (University of London) United Kingdom 44.4 34.8 84.4 45.5
22 UCL (University College London) United Kingdom 47.5 42.3 35.2 44.7
23 University of British Columbia Canada 47.4 30.9 57.6 43.5
24 National University of Singapore (NUS) Singapore 46.2 39.0 20.2 41.4
25 University of Pennsylvania United States 32.4 61.1 31.9 41.0
26 Duke University United States 40.8 44.9 28.6 40.8
27 University of Texas at Austin United States 34.7 46.0 42.9 38.9
28 Cornell University United States 39.2 39.2 27.9 38.1
29 The University of New South Wales Australia 36.7 37.8 40.2 37.4
30 University of Otago New Zealand 32.7 36.3 58.8 36.4


The QS list covers up to 100 law schools worldwide. Among the top 50 schools, English-speaking schools dominate.

After looking at this QS list, I must say that the U.S. News & World Report rankings of American law schools seem awfully pedestrian. Seriously, if we live in a global economy, why shouldn't you consider going to the U.K. or Australia or Canada for law school? Yes, the legal system is different in those places, law is usually an undergraduate major outside of the U.S., and you'll probably have to overcome bar hurdles if you want to be a lawyer in the U.S.

But, hey, even if you don't end up as a practicing lawyer (which, by the way, could be the case anyway if you go to a lousy American law school), at least you'll get some exposure to a foreign culture. Which is more than you can say for going to a low-ranked law school at $40,000 a year in Nowhere, USA.

Illustration: Cambridge University crest, Wikipedia.

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Interesting to note that there are many career universities enabling the proper use of law pursuits to allow permission for the gradual deployment of that which is in the best direction for the entire global family of nations near and afar.

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The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: VChen@alm.com

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