Good law schools are different than top law schools. A good law school is an institution that is well respectable, accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) and one that offers a high quality legal education. A top law school is one that has been identified by the the various ranking systems as being a Tier 1 institution. Tier 1 institutions offer tremendous benefits to law students, not the least of which are excellent career prospects post graduation. Yet, lots of schools are not in this upper tier of top schools. Not every school can be a Harvard or a Yale Law.
Finding good law schools can quite easy. First, check out your local state law schools. These are typically the most affordable and the most likely to be under ranked and under rating by the different popular rankings systems. If you’re looking to practice law in the state you live in, a degree from such an institution can go a long way towards jump starting your career. If you’re looking to practice in a different state look to that state’s school to see if a good fit is possible.
It is important to be especially cautious of stand alone institutions. A stand alone law school is one that is not associated with an established college or university. Many California schools are stand alone institutions. If you’re considering an stand alone school, first find out if the school is accredited by the American Bar Association. If it is not, you will be very limited as to where you ultimately practice law, whereas graduates from ABA schools can practice in any jurisdiction in the country. If the school has ABA accreditation, next compare its rankings and tuition with your local state law school. Which is cheaper? Which is more well regarded and which affords you better career prospects? Based on these answers, you will be a lot closer to finding out which institution is the best fit for you.
It is important that in your law school admissions process that you consider applying to a whole range of different colleges and universities: pick some Tier 1 schools, some lower ranked schools that fit your criteria as being a good school and finally, pick a few law schools that you are certain you will be able to get into. With these tips in mind, you will be well on your way to gaining admission and becoming a practicing attorney!