Columbia Law School - Acceptance Rate, Ranking, and More - (2023)

The influence of New York City’s Columbia Law School, its faculty and alumni, can be seen throughout American political, economic, and cultural history.

President Roosevelt graduated from Columbia Law, as did nine Supreme Court Justices. The school’s roots go back to the colonial-era King’s College, the law school that trained John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Renowned faculty not only provide students with an academically rigorous and thorough training in legal studies, but also shape policy nationally and internationally through the school’s venerable Columbia Law Journal and at the many campus institutes and centers for policy study and advancement.

Columbia offers several joint degrees, including a JD/MBA with an accelerated three-year version and a four-year version.

Students at Columbia Law can pursue a joint graduate degree program with any of Columbia’s graduate or professional programs.

International dual JD programs offer students a chance to earn two degrees at once, one U.S. and one international, studying at partner campuses in London, Paris, and Frankfurt.

Many other exchange programs exist for students interested in international law, including programs in Latin America, Europe, and Asia.

Columbia’s many areas of study include criminal law, international law, and corporate law, but also new areas of policy, including data analytics and intellectual property & technology.

Beyond its JD program, Columbia Law’s graduate studies department provides paths to a Master of Laws (LLM), as well as a doctorate in legal studies (JSD).

Columbia Law fosters cooperative learning and collegiality over competition. Faculty advising, a peer mentoring program, and community building activities in curriculum and student life give Columbia Law Students the foundation for a strong professional network post-graduation.

Columbia Law School Acceptance Rate

Columbia Law School - Acceptance Rate, Ranking, and More - (1)

According to the admissions information on the program website, Columbia Law’s acceptance rate for the class entering in 2021 dropped to 11.3%.

But the admissions department emphasizes that they require no minimum LSAT or GPA, focusing instead on the cumulative evidence of a candidate’s potential for succeeding in the program and beyond.

Median LSAT scores for admitted students was 174, and median GPA was 3.84; with its high number of applications, Columbia accepts some of the strongest law school candidates in the nation.

The Early Decision option for application furnishes candidates an avenue to a slight advantage; a rolling admissions process means earlier applications can have a slightly higher statistical probability of acceptance.

If accepted, a candidate ready to commit to Columbia may place themselves in the smaller pool of applicants who choose Early Decision.

The candidate’s personal statement plays a crucial role in Columbia Law acceptance, so hopeful applicants should think carefully about their mission in attending law school before composing.

The statement’s twofold purpose for Columbia Law admissions makes it the centerpiece of an application; personal statements must demonstrate superior writing skills, along with a concise, compelling narrative that illustrates the candidate’s dedication to law study and legal service.

Likewise, applicants should secure letters of recommendation from two sources, at least one academic, who can speak to their fitness not only to succeed academically, but to represent the legal profession with dedication and dignity. A practicing lawyer, legal scholar, or political figure can serve as a strong recommender.

Columbia Law School Tuition

An Ivy League, private institution in a metropolitan area with a high cost of living, Columbia Law School costs more than any other U.S. law school to attend. Out of the top ten most expensive law schools, three more are Ivy League schools, and another is located in New York City.

Columbia Law School’s tuition and fees for the 2021-2022 year comes in at just under $80k, but the entire cost of attendance, including living expenses, books, housing, and anticipated loan fees takes the total budget up to $107,625. Students may also petition to add dependent care costs to the budget.

For many years, Columbia graduates ranked among the highest first-year post-graduation salaries, but they also carried the greatest debt burdens, especially when adding ten-year interest totals.

A recent program designed to encourage legal careers in public service offers an avenue to a Columbia Law degree with less of the associated financial burden.

Graduates going into public service careers can qualify for financial assistance through the school’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program, along with a corresponding federal loan forgiveness program, in order to relieve their post-program educational debt.

Columbia Law School Requirements

Columbia Law School - Acceptance Rate, Ranking, and More - (2)

Columbia does not require a specific major as a prerequisite for admission to its law program. Only two undergraduate majors rank in double-digit percentages among accepted candidates in 2021: political science (23%) and social science (12%). Other majors from psychology to finance make up the incoming 2021 class fairly equally.

The admissions department actively encourages diverse applicants; the Class of 2021 profile includes students from all kinds of backgrounds, from veterans to rabbis, from a U.S. Supreme Court aide to a taxi driver.

Standard requirements for application include completion of an undergraduate degree, LSAT or GRE scores, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and a resume.

An interview may be required, but the admissions department decides whether or not an interview should be scheduled.

All application requirements derive from the admissions department’s mission to determine each student’s potential for success in the program and their ability to provide a high level of service to the legal profession and the community.

The committee looks for traits like self-discipline, intelligence, superior legal skills, and commitment to active citizenship.

While Columbia does not explicitly require work experience or some kind of post-undergraduate service, about 70% of their accepted candidates have spent time after their undergraduate degree pursuing further study, careers, or family responsibilities.

Columbia reports about 11% of a typical incoming class have earned other graduate degrees before applying to Columbia Law.

Columbia Law School Notable Alumni

While Columbia Law alumni pursue careers across law, legal studies, business, politics, national security, and many other fields, a high number of graduates serve in the judicial branch of government at all levels. Alumni have also founded or served as president for over 30 U.S. colleges and universities.

Both Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt studied at Columbia; both went on to become Presidents who shaped the future of American political thought. Caroline Kennedy chose Columbia for her JD studies; ACLU board member and defender of the Chicago 7 William Kunstler was a Columbia alumnus.

Long-serving U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, women’s rights advocate Bella Abzug, and infamous McCarthy hearing counsel Roy Cohn all graduated from Columbia Law. Legal commentator and news anchor Dan Abrams and former New York Mayor George Pataki are Columbia Law graduates.

American musical theater legend Oscar Hammerstein II quit Columbia Law for a theater career, which turned out to be a better plan than it probably seemed at the time.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, one of the century’s most gifted and respected legal minds, transferred from Harvard Law to graduate from Columbia.

When Ginsberg married, Harvard denied her request to finish the third year of her law degree at Columbia. So Ginsberg transferred to Columbia, where graduated at the top of her class and became the first woman to serve on the editorial board of both major law reviews, Harvard and Columbia.

Columbia Law School Ranking

The law school at Columbia University in New York ranks among the top law schools in America. Columbia’s longstanding record of placing graduates at top corporate firms often earns it the top spot on lists evaluating career benefits.

U.S. News places Columbia’s contract and commercial law specialty area at number one, and its corporate specialty at number two among U.S. program divisions. International law at Columbia comes in among the top three programs as well.

The data alone regarding Columbia Law students reflects the prestige of the school’s program. LSAT scores, undergraduate GPA, percentage of bar exam success, and post-graduation employment factors place Columbia’s Law School at number 3 nationally, behind Harvard and Yale.

In the QS global law school rankings, Columbia breaks the top ten at number 8. For domestic and international prestige, for corporate credibility and public service, Columbia ranks among the top law schools on any list.

Should You Attend Columbia Law School?

Like most elite graduate programs, Columbia Law seems to offer a golden opportunity for students with the background, education, and work ethic necessary to gain admission. Those exceptional students have many options to consider, and in order for Columbia to be the right choice, its strengths should suit the candidate’s career goals.

Considering that an elite law school education involves a serious financial commitment, Columbia candidates should plan on going for high-paying corporate positions in order to pay off their loans.

Law school hopefuls planning to shape policy and serve public interest might also find their place at Columbia, for its faculty, facilities, history, and especially for its debt forgiveness programs offered to lawyers in public service careers.

New York City’s kaleidoscopic diversity and international status provide the appropriate context for Columbia Law School. This program encourages intellectual curiosity and the exploration of possibility in service to a global community.

Related Posts

  • Stanford Law School - Acceptance Rate, Ranking, and More

    When it was founded in 1893, Stanford Law School was already an impressive institution, hiring…

  • Harvard Law School - Acceptance Rate, Ranking, and More

    Part of Harvard’s main campus in Cambridge, the Harvard Law School represents one of the…

  • UCLA Law School - Acceptance Rate, Ranking, and More

    Although it was only founded in the mid-20th century, UCLA's law school has quickly risen…


What are my chances of getting into Columbia Law School? ›

Only 11.8% of applicants are accepted to Columbia Law School. It's interesting to note that despite having a low acceptance rate, Columbia University students had the lowest GPAs of any institution, with a median GPA of 3.87. The median LSAT score is 173, thus the same doesn't hold true for LSAT scores.

What is the lowest LSAT score accepted by Columbia? ›

LSAT: There is no minimum LSAT score in the consideration process for admission to Columbia Law School. For the 2021 entering class, the median LSAT score was 174.

What is the acceptance rate for law at Columbia University? ›

Columbia Law ranks #6 in terms of student selectivity with an acceptance rate of 16.8% among those who applied for admission. Columbia Law ranks #6 in terms of bar passage rate among first-time test takers (97.7%), and it outperforms by +22.0% the state of New York's overall bar passage rate of 75.7%.

What GPA do you need to get into Columbia Law School? ›

For the admitted students, the median GPA and LSAT scores were 3.84 and 174, respectively.

Is Columbia Law better than NYU law? ›

NYU Law and Columbia Law are both considered highly competitive, much like each university's undergraduate programs. However, Columbia University's Law School is ranked slightly above NYU's on the US News & World Report list. Columbia Law School also has a slightly lower acceptance rate than NYU's Law School.

Is Columbia Law better than Stanford law? ›

For law students considering the two schools, which are ranked second (Stanford) and fifth (Columbia) in U.S. News & World Report's 2020 Best Law Schools, they acknowledge the high costs as an investment in a prestigious legal education, Chapman said.

Is 148 a bad LSAT score? ›

Typical LSAT score ranges include: 120-147 Low. 148-156 Mid. 157-164 High.

Is 155 a low LSAT score? ›

A score of 155 on the LSAT is a classic 'in-between' score. While the score is not too low, it will also not put you in the cream of LSAT test takers. An LSAT score of 155 can at best be classified as an average score which will put you in the hunt for a decent law school. The LSAT is scored on a scale of 120-180.

Is 156 a bad LSAT score? ›

Average LSAT Score

LSAT scores range from 120 to 180. The median average score is roughly 152. To get this average score, you'll need to get about 60 questions correct, out of 99 to 102 total questions.

Can I get into Columbia with a 3.5 GPA? ›

For Columbia University Graduate School and all the top-tier schools in the country, you want to aim for at least a 3.5 GPA overall. If you have a 3.35 or a 3.4, you can still get into Columbia, but try to aim for a 3.5 or higher to have the best chances.

Is Harvard or Columbia better for law? ›

Harvard University tied with Columbia University for fourth place in U.S. News & World Report's 2023 ranking of best law schools. The rankings knock the Cambridge law school out of U.S. News' top three this year — Yale and Stanford retained the top two spots, followed by the University of Chicago.

Is Columbia law impressive? ›

Columbia University 2023 Rankings

Columbia University is ranked No. 4 (tie) in Best Law Schools. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence. See how this school scored on the key indicators used in the rankings.

How many people does Columbia law waitlist? ›

I understand at CLS it's approximately 60- 100 people they put on the waitlist. So, a few, let's say 5-15, will make it via the waitlist at Columbia. This is a pretty low percentage.

How hard is it to get 170 on LSAT? ›

170 score: Scoring a 170 on the LSAT is almost always considered a good score — that means you are in the 2-3% of test-takers. Still, it won't guarantee you admission at a top law school. Other parts of your application are still a factor.

Is going to Columbia Law School Worth It? ›

In line with its business reputation, CLS is widely regarded as the number one law school for those seeking lucrative Big Law jobs after graduation. Columbia has sent a higher percentage of its graduates to work at the 100 largest American law firms than any other school for nine years in a row.

Which is better Columbia or Cornell? ›

While still remaining the 17th best university in the nation, Cornell has now surpassed Columbia University, which saw a significant drop this year in rank, falling from No.

Is NYU Stern better than Columbia? ›

Is Columbia Business School ranked higher than NYU Stern? Yes, U.S. NEWS places Columbia higher in its Best Business School rankings than Columbia. 4.

Which is more expensive NYU or Columbia? ›

Fees and funding

Annual undergraduate tuition fees (plus other student fees) amount to US$61,671 at NYU for 2020-2021, while the 2020-2021 rate was a total of US$58,920 (including other mandatory fees) at Columbia.

What type of law is Columbia known for? ›

Columbia Law is perhaps best known for its Real Estate Law, Environmental Law, Intellectual Property Law, International Law, and Tax Law programs. Other strong programs include Corporate and Securities Law, Administrative Law, Bankruptcy Law, and Gender Studies.

What is Columbia Law famous for? ›

Columbia Law School is renowned for the intellectual rigor of its curriculum and the groundbreaking scholarship of its faculty.

What is the number 1 university in the world for law? ›

Stanford University

What was Obama's LSAT score? ›

The easiest to predict, by far, is President Barack Obama's score, mostly because we have some data. Based on admissions records, we can deduce — somewhat reliably — that Barry-O scored between the 94th-98th percentile on his LSAT. Using today's grading system, that'd place him somewhere around a 170.

What LSAT score did Elle Woods get? ›

LSAT Lessons from Legally Blonde (really!)

As you probably know, the LSAT is scored from 120 to 180. Elle Woods was able to raise her score from a 143 to a 179 just by diligently preparing.

Can a high GPA offset a low LSAT? ›

Ultimately, the LSAT is just one piece of evidence for your academic potential as a law student. High grades can help offset a low LSAT score, as can strong recommendation letters from professors, professional experience and a well-structured personal statement.

Is 153 a good first LSAT score? ›

The LSAT is scored between 120 and 180, with 153 being the average score.

Is 145 a bad LSAT score? ›

The average LSAT score is around 150. The LSAT has a margin of error, but 145 is considered a symbolic line by legal education experts and school administrators.

Will a 180 LSAT get you in anywhere? ›

Whelp, you can apply to pretty much anywhere with confidence. Scoring in this range makes you extremely competitive for a variety of great law schools.

Is 143 a bad LSAT score? ›

LSAT scores range from 120 to 180. A student scoring 120 is in the 0 percentile because the student scored better than 0% of test-takers.
Law School Enrollment.
Risk BandLSAT
High Risk147-14933 - 40.3
Very High Risk145-14626.1 - 29.5
Extreme Risk120-144≤ 22.9
3 more rows

How many can I miss to get a 170 on LSAT? ›

To achieve a score of 170 requires a test taker to correctly answer 90 out of 101 questions.

What law schools can I get into with a 149 LSAT score? ›

LSAT Scores for All Admitted Applicants 2020
School Name75th LSAT50th LSAT
Faulkner University151148
Florida A&M University150147
Florida Coastal School of Law152149
Florida International University159158
115 more rows
Mar 9, 2021

Can I get into Columbia with a 3.7 unweighted GPA? ›

Still, if you are still curious about the lowest GPA to get into Harvard, students with a GPA somewhere around a 3.5 or 3.7 could get into Columbia if they are able to get a really strong SAT or ACT along with impressive extracurricular activities, strong personal essays and more.

Is Columbia the hardest Ivy to get into? ›

While Ivy League schools make up the majority of the hardest colleges to get into, other highly selective schools, like Stanford and MIT, have comparably low admission rates.
Top 10 Hardest Colleges to Get Into.
SchoolLocationAcceptance Rate (Class of 2026)
1. HarvardCambridge, MA3.19%
2. ColumbiaNew York, NY3.73%
8 more rows

Is Columbia more selective than Harvard? ›

While the full picture for 2022 isn't yet available, here is a partial list of the Ivy League schools in ascending order of overall selectivity: Harvard (3.2%) Columbia (3.7%)

Is it easier to get into Harvard or Columbia? ›

In this blog we've compiled a list of the easiest and hardest Ivy League schools to get into in 2022.
Ivy League Class of 2026 Acceptance Rates.
IviesAcceptance Rate
4 more rows
Jun 23, 2022

Is Columbia now more prestigious than Yale? ›

Everyone thinks so except for Yale students and alumni. Columbia has a higher global ranking , lower admission rate , superior engineering department , top 10 business school , and a rigorous core curriculum. Columbia is also in New York City, not New Haven, and its culture is also considerably less elitist than Yale.

Is Columbia Law School elite? ›

U.S. News & World Report consistently places Columbia Law among the top law schools (for both academic reputation and national standing), and currently ranks Columbia Law 4th (tied with Harvard Law). For 2021, U.S. News & World Report ranks Columbia Law No. 1 for Business/Corporate Law and No.

How much does a lawyer from Columbia University make? ›

Law Firm
Class of 2021Class of 2020
100% reported100% reported
75th Percentile$215,000$190,000
25th Percentile$215,000$190,000
1 more row

What GPA does Columbia look at? ›

As you would guess, the Columbia University GPA requirements are high. The average GPA of students accepted to Columbia is 4.12. That is nearly straight A's in all of a student's classes along with a large proportion of those classes being advanced courses such as AP or IB classes.

How many students does Columbia Law accept each year? ›

Annual enrollment for Columbia Law School is approximately 479. Can I get into Columbia Law School with a GPA and LSAT?

What is the average age of a 1l law student? ›

The average age of law students is 25 or younger. Only 20% of law students are 30 or older. While only a small percentage of law students are above the age of 40, there have been several successful older graduates.

How long does it take to hear back from Columbia Law? ›

Applications submitted between October 1 (the Early Decision deadline) and December 18 will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Typically, the admissions committee begins rolling out decisions in December and continues to release decisions until early February.

What month is the LSAT easiest? ›

You'll look at my LSAT PrepTest Raw Score Conversion Charts and calculations of what it takes to get an LSAT score of 160 or 170. Using that data, you'll find that the December exam consistently has the easiest "curve," and the June exam consistently has the hardest.

What LSAT score do I need for a full scholarship? ›

You can also improve your LSAT scores to increase your odds of getting a scholarship. Students with an LSAT score close to 170 have a great chance of earning a scholarship for law school. Some other ways to increase the odds of getting a scholarship for law school are listed below.

Is MCAT harder than LSAT? ›

While the LSAT relies less on extensive background knowledge than the MCAT, the lengthy, complex reading material can be challenging for some test-takers. Conversely, the MCAT has a simple, straightforward structure but requires in-depth comprehension of complex medical and scientific principles.

What is the lowest LSAT score Columbia accepted? ›

LSAT: There is no minimum LSAT score in the consideration process for admission to Columbia Law School. For the 2021 entering class, the median LSAT score was 174.

Is Stanford or Columbia Law better? ›

Columbia Law School is currently recognized as the fourth best law school in the US, trailing only Yale, Stanford, and Harvard (and tied with the University of Chicago).

Can I get into Columbia law with a 3.7 GPA? ›

To be a competitive applicant at Columbia Law School, you are probably going to need an LSAT score in the 172+ range and an undergraduate GPA in the 3.7+ range.

What is the 75th percentile GPA for Columbia Law School? ›

The median GPA is 3.84. The 25th percentile GPA is 3.75 and the 75th percentile GPA is 3.92.

How selective is Columbia Law School? ›

Columbia Law School Admissions

Columbia Law School is considered a Moderately Competitive law school, which accepts only 22% of its applicants. Comparatively, Columbia is Significantly Higher than the average cost for law school.

Can you get a full ride to Columbia law? ›

No. Because our financial aid funds are limited, applicants who will require financial assistance to attend Columbia Law School should also seek assistance from other sources. Awards are generally in the form of partial waivers of tuition and, in some cases, loans. Full waivers of tuition are almost never granted.

Can I get into Columbia with a 4.7 GPA? ›

Columbia does not have a 'cut-off GPA or test score for applicants,” the FAQ page declares. Still, if you have Columbia at the top of your list of dream schools, you are going to want to make sure that you not only reach that 4.12 GPA average, but ideally above that!

Is GPA or LSAT more important? ›

While LSAT is the most important factor, GPA is still significant. When you get down into schools lower in the rankings (outside the top 10 schools), numbers alone become an even better predictor of how likely you are to get into a specific school. LSAT is still the more important number than GPA.

What percentile is a 162 on the LSAT? ›

LSAT Percentiles Table
Scaled Score2004–20072012–2015
44 more rows

What is a 75th percentile LSAT score? ›

On average, T-14 schools require an LSAT that is in the range between 166 (25th percentile) and 172 (75th percentile score).

What LSAT score is 70th percentile? ›

LSAT Raw Score

Using the table, you would then see that your LSAT scaled score would be in the 155-157 range, which places you between the 62.8 and 70th percentiles.

How many people does Columbia Law waitlist? ›

I understand at CLS it's approximately 60- 100 people they put on the waitlist. So, a few, let's say 5-15, will make it via the waitlist at Columbia. This is a pretty low percentage.

What is special about Columbia Law? ›

Columbia Law School provides its students with excellent legal training, but the school is particularly well known for its best in class business/corporate law program. In line with its business reputation, CLS is widely regarded as the number one law school for those seeking lucrative Big Law jobs after graduation.

Does Columbia give full rides? ›

If you're a first-year student or a transfer student pursuing your first degree, Columbia covers 100 percent of your demonstrated need for all four years that you are here.

Is Columbia Law elite? ›

Columbia Law is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious law schools in the world and has always ranked in the top five schools in the United States since the establishment of the law school rankings by U.S. News & World Report in 1987.

Does Columbia Law give full scholarships? ›

Columbia Law School awards PIFs to a small number of incoming students who are committed to public interest or public service law and bring strong academic credentials. The scholarships provide tuition benefits for the full three years (six semesters) that recipients are enrolled at Columbia Law School.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Virgilio Hermann JD

Last Updated: 04/25/2023

Views: 5587

Rating: 4 / 5 (61 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Virgilio Hermann JD

Birthday: 1997-12-21

Address: 6946 Schoen Cove, Sipesshire, MO 55944

Phone: +3763365785260

Job: Accounting Engineer

Hobby: Web surfing, Rafting, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Ghost hunting, Swimming, Amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Virgilio Hermann JD, I am a fine, gifted, beautiful, encouraging, kind, talented, zealous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.