This article covers some of the best schools for family law in the United States.
Family law covers various aspects that affect our everyday lives. Family lawyers may handle cases that involve domestic abuse, child custody, divorce, education advocacy, juvenile rights, reproductive rights, asset distribution, and adoption and surrogacy, to name a few.
Family lawyers work closely with their clients to advocate for them during pivotal points in their lives. While practicing family law can, at times, be emotionally complex and challenging, family lawyers have the opportunity to make effective, positive changes in clients’ lives.
If you have an interest in family law, continue reading for a list of the best schools for family law. We also have included a brief FAQ section to help you start your journey into family law.
Here is a list of the best law schools for family law, in no particular order. Tuition costs are all based on in-state tuition rates.
Why pick Harvard: Harvard Law School offers a “Domestic Violence and Family Law” Clinic where students have the opportunity to interview clients, negotiate with opposite parties, represent clients, draft legal documents, and more.
Acceptance rate: 13%
Median LSAT Score of accepted applicants: 174
Median GPA: 3.75
Tuition: $70,430 per year
Why pick Columbia: Columbia University has a renowned family law program that focuses on the intersections of family, gender, and sexuality. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the first woman who was a full-time professor at the Law School.
Acceptance rate: 11.3%
Median LSAT Score of accepted applicants: 174
Median GPA: 3.84
Tuition: $75,572 per year
Why pick DePaul University: DePaul’s College of Law has an innovative family law program with a variety of options for students, including a Domestic Violence Practicum, Externship Program, and a Family Law Field Clinic.
Acceptance rate: 59%
Median LSAT Score of accepted applicants: 156
Median GPA: 3.57
Tuition: $49,644 per year
Why pick Maurer School of Law: Maurer School of Law has a strong family law program with various student activities and publications that pertain to family law topics like gender, marriage, and reproductive rights. The school also provides students with hands-on experience working in a family-law office through their family office program.
Acceptance rate: 36%
Median LSAT Score of accepted applicants: 164
Median GPA: 3.77
Tuition: $36,647 per year
Why pick New York Law School: NYU recently launched a year-long “Juvenile Defender Clinic” that allows students to work closely with youth and youth-related issues, including alcohol abuse and educational neglect.
Acceptance rate: 52%
Median LSAT score of accepted applicants: 153
Median GPA: 3.47
Acceptance rate: 28%
Median LSAT score of accepted applicants: 171
Median GPA: 3.84
Why pick Maurice A. Deane School of Law: Hofstra’s law school has programs and training in areas prominent in current family law, including youth advocacy, immigration, and community development. The school also has one of the best Child and Family Advocacy Fellowships in the nation.
Acceptance rate: 48.1%
Median LSAT score of accepted applicants: 156
Median GPA: 3.42
Acceptance rate: 66.4%
Median LSAT score of accepted applicants: 155
Median GPA: 3.5
Why pick Emory University School of Law: Emory is ranked at #30 of the best law schools to attend and #23 on the National Law Journal’s “Go To Law Schools” list. They offer an LLM concentration in Child Law and Policy.
Acceptance rate: 29.6%
Median LSAT score of accepted applicants: 165
Median GPA: 3.79
Why pick the School of Law at the University of Oregon: The University of Oregon was ranked #1 in Legal Research and Writing in the state of Oregon by U.S. News and World Report. The school also has domestic abuse and child advocacy concentrations.
Acceptance rate: 50.4%
Median LSAT score of accepted applicants: 157
Median GPA: 3.40
Still have questions about going into family law? Continue reading as we answer some frequently asked questions about family law.
While no perfect undergraduate degree will ensure your success in family law, it is best to pick a program that interests you and relates to your future career goals.
Majors like Political Science, Psychology, and Criminal Justice, are some of the most common undergraduate programs taken by applicants accepted into law school. Other majors that may help prepare you for family law include English, History, and Economics.
However, remember that your overall GPA and LSAT score are more important when applying for law school than your undergraduate program title. Degrees that will help build your empathy, critical thinking skills, writing skills, time management skills, and political knowledge are probably the best options for an aspiring family lawyer.
New England Law School has an in-depth article that discusses everything you need to know about becoming a family law lawyer. Here are some highlights:
Pass Your Undergrad
This is the first requirement; perform well throughout your undergrad because law schools highly take your GPA into consideration.
Perform Well on the LSAT
Law schools take your LSAT score into great consideration–the better you do, the higher your chances of acceptance are.
Pick a School and Program That Has a Reputable Family Law Program
Research law schools that have strong family law programs. After admission, take as many family law courses as you can to get the experience and theoretical knowledge you need. Additionally, this will be a good opportunity to pick your area of focus, whether it be divorce law, domestic abuse, juvenile law, or something else.
Network With Your Peers and Faculty
Building meaningful relationships with your classmates and professors can lead to potential job opportunities once you graduate.
Participate in Hands-on Learning and Experiential Learning
Students should gain as much practical experience as possible in family law and network with practicing attorneys in their area of interest. Additionally, getting as much exposure to family law will allow you to decide if family law is something you wish to pursue as a career.
After obtaining a J.D., many individuals choose to work for non-profit organizations, government agencies, or even start their own firms.
Studying family law takes the same amount of time as most other areas of law. To become a family lawyer, you must complete your J.D. like any other law student. This typically takes three years if you are studying full-time.
As mentioned previously, there is no specific undergraduate degree or courses that will ensure your success in family law. However, subjects that cover government, politics, and humanities may increase your understanding of topics relevant to family law.
While you complete your J.D., you should take as many family law courses as you can. Taking a variety of courses will also help you discover the area of focus you’re most interested in.
Choosing the best school for family law can be challenging. If you are seriously considering practicing family and child law, this article aims to show you that there are many great family law schools out there.
With so many options, you’re sure to receive an education with extensive and exceptional course offerings, programs, and clinics to build your expertise and career.