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Best Environmental Law Schools

January 11, 2024
7 min read


Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 01/11/24

If you’d like to pursue a career advocating for the environment, read on to find out more about the best environmental law schools in the nation.

While the majority of lawyers protect human rights and interests, environmental lawyers protect the environment and the animals within it. Whether it’s preserving national parks or pushing climate change laws, environmental lawyers are primarily concerned with laws that control how people interact with nature.  

With the increasing severity of environmental crises in recent decades, environmental lawyers are needed now more than ever.

If you’d like to help create and maintain laws to resolve these environmental crises, it’s important you attend an excellent law school that prepares you for the complexities of environmental law. This guide will go over the best schools for environmental law.

Top Schools for Environmental Law

Best schools for environmental law

Here are the top 11 environmental law schools.

1. Pace University (Haub)

The Elisabeth Haub School of Law ranks number one for its environmental law program. This school offers more than 40 courses on national and international environmental, energy, conservation, and land use topics!  

Despite having a top-ranking environmental law program, this school has a high acceptance rate of 48.1%. With a median GPA of 3.4 and a median LSAT score of 152, you have a high chance of getting into Pace University!

Interested students can expect to pay $51,240 per year in tuition to attend Pace.

2. University of California – Berkeley

UC Berkeley also ranks first as the best environmental law school in the nation. With its Environmental Law Clinic, Berkeley law students can gain valuable hands-on experience addressing the environmental legal needs of underserved communities.

Unlike Pace, UC Berkeley has an acceptance rate of only 12.5%. Prospective students should aim to maintain a GPA of 3.83 and get an LSAT score of 170 to be considered competitive.

California residents pay around $59,306 a year for tuition, and non-residents pay $67,816.

3. University of California – Los Angeles

UCLA is another first-place winner for the best environmental law program. UCLA environmental law students not only travel around California and overseas to confer with field experts, but they also write and edit the Journal of Environmental Law and Policy!  

With a slightly higher acceptance rate than UC Berkeley, UCLA accepts 15.5% of all applicants. However, they have higher LSAT expectations! The median LSAT score of accepted applicants is 171. Their median GPA is 3.9.

Tuition for California residents costs around $56,455 and $68,700 for non-residents.

4. Lewis & Clark College (Northwestern)

Ranking as the fourth best environmental law school is The Lewis & Clark Law School.

This school offers students the opportunity to study environmental, natural resources, and energy law. For all of you nature lovers, their Boley Law Library, Oregon’s largest library, embraces the forest with floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s the perfect place to remind environmental law students what they’re fighting for!

Lewic and Clark library
Source: Lewis & Clark Law School

With one of the highest acceptance rates on this list, Lewis & Clark accepts 52% of its applicants, has a median GPA of 3.54, and a median LSAT score of 161.

It costs $56,296 a year for tuition at this school.

5. New York University

NYU comes in fifth place as the Best Law School for Environmental Law. With some of the most distinguished academics in the field, NYU professors offer views on cutting-edge environmental issues like climate change and renewable energy.

With a low acceptance rate of 15.7%, NYU holds prospective students to high standards. The median GPA of accepted students is 3.88 and the median LSAT score is 172.

The tuition costs of this school reflect its prestige. Students can expect to pay $76,878 a year to attend NYU.

6. Vermont Law School

Tying for fifth place as one of the Best Schools for Environmental Law is Vermont Law School. As the largest environmental law program in the country since 1978, Vermont alums are shaping environmental policy around the world.

Accepting 60.9% of all applicants, Vermont has the highest acceptance rate on this list! Vermont is a great option for students with lower GPAs or LSAT scores. Their median acceptance GPA is 3.36, and their median LSAT score is 154!

Tuition for this school costs $51,700 a year.

7. Columbia University

Columbia ranks seventh as the top Environmental Law School in the nation. Columbia is dedicated to finding new ways to respond to environmental threats across disciplines through the ground-breaking centers, clinics, and institutes available for its environmental law students.

This school has an acceptance rate of 11.9%, a median GPA of 3.87, and a median LSAT score of 173.

As one of the top-5 law schools in the US, attending Columbia is an investment! Tuition alone costs $78,444 a year.

8. Georgetown University

Georgetown’s environmental law program places seventh as well and is known for its extensive range of courses that provide students with practical, real-world opportunities to help them succeed.

Georgetown aims to accept only the best candidates and has an acceptance rate of 17.6%. The median GPA of accepted students is 3.86, and the median LSAT score is 171.

Along with Georgetown’s high expectations are their high attendance costs, with tuition costing $75,950 yearly.

9. Harvard University

As a consistent top-ranking law school, it’s no surprise that Harvard made it on the list as one of the top-notch environmental law schools in the country. Harvard prides itself on its powerhouse roster of academics, lawyers, and experts devoted to improving the environment and supporting clean energy.

With an acceptance rate of only 10.1%, Harvard is the hardest school to get into on this list. Prospective students are expected to have a GPA of 3.92 and an LSAT score of 174 to be considered.

Tuition to attend this prestigious law school is $71,734 a year.

10. The University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is another seventh-place winner and is home to a long-established Environmental and Natural Resources program that is amongst the most sought-after by employers!

With an acceptance rate of 55.3%, students have a high chance of gaining admission to this school. The average GPA of admitted students is 3.57 on a 4.0 scale, while LSAT scores average at 158.

Oregon residents can expect to pay $46,264 a year for tuition, and non-residents can expect to pay $57,586.

11.  Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University ranks seventh as the top environmental law school in the nation. Vanderbilt’s Energy, Environment, and Land Use Program prepares students for careers in areas of law at government agencies, law firms, and nonprofits.

Vanderbilt has an acceptance rate of 14.5%, a median GPA of 3.9, and a median LSAT score of 170.

Tuition per academic year at Vanderbilt costs $69,998.

Choosing the Right Law School for You

If you need help finding out which law school you should apply to, answer our quiz and you will get a list of the best-fit law schools for you.

FAQs: Best Environmental Law Schools

If you have more questions about the best law schools for environmental law, you can find the answers below!

1. What Undergraduate Degree is Best for Environmental Law?

You don’t have to pursue a specific degree in order to succeed in an environmental law program. But it may be beneficial to complete a political science, environmental science, or earth sciences degree to enhance your knowledge on a variety of environmental issues.

2. Does Harvard Offer Environmental Law?

Yes, it ranks ninth in the nation for its environmental law program!

3. Is Stanford Good for Environmental Law?

Yes, it ranks ninth as one of the Best Law Schools for Environmental Law!

4. Is an Environmental Law Degree Worth it?

Yes! Environmental issues are only increasing as the world progresses, which means that the demand for environmental lawyers is only increasing. 

5. What is the Top Environmental Law School?

Pace University is ranked the top law school for environmental law.

6. Which Environmental Law School is the Easiest to Get Into?

Vermont Law School has the highest acceptance rate on this list at 65.8%!

Attending a Top Environmental Law School

By attending any of these top environmental law schools, you’re setting yourself up for a budding (no pun intended) legal career making the world a safer place for all its inhabitants!

It’ll equip you with the expertise needed for an impactful career in environmental law. These schools offer a comprehensive education, combining rigorous academics with practical experiences. 

Choosing a top-notch environmental law school is not just about obtaining a degree; it is a strategic investment in shaping a future where legal expertise contributes significantly to the protection and sustainability of our environment!

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