The Best Law Schools in the U.S. – By Value for Money

While many lawyers bring home a pretty enviable paycheck (they earn $135,740 per year on average according to the BLS), not all law-school grads are making a 6-figure salary. In fact, the lowest paid 10% of lawyers earn just $69,760 per year. 

Given how expensive law school is, this can have drastic financial implications. To help you make a smart decision on law school, we have ranked the best law schools in America by value for money. 

Graduates of our top ranked law schools are able to recoup their educational investment thanks to high average salaries 4 years after leaving school. In order to rank law schools by educational investment value, we relied exclusively on net cost and earnings data from trusted government sources, namely IPEDS and College Scorecard.  

You can find out more about how we rank colleges on our Methodology page.

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#1 in Law

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Economic score 0.25

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $261,434

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.6

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $161,363

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#2 in Law

Stanford University

Stanford, California

Economic score 0.25

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $247,989

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.6

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $142,229

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#3 in Law

Columbia University

New York, New York

Economic score 0.26

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $280,926

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.7

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $188,253

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#4 in Law

University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

Economic score 0.28

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $256,407

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.7

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $169,731

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#5 in Law

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Economic score 0.28

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $233,589

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.6

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $137,424

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#6 in Law

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

Economic score 0.29

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $227,792

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.6

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $135,060

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#7 in Law

New York University

New York, New York

Economic score 0.39

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $230,197

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.8

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $184,028

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#8 in Law

University of Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

Economic score 0.40

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $221,601

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.8

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $166,203

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#9 in Law
Economic score 0.45

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $176,085

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.8

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $140,369

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#10 in Law

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California

Economic score 0.55

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $164,409

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.8

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $132,495

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#11 in Law
Economic score 0.55

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $182,943

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.9

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $156,898

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#12 in Law
Economic score 0.57

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $131,895

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.7

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $96,448

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#13 in Law
Economic score 0.57

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $137,082

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.8

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $106,707

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#14 in Law

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee

Economic score 0.58

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $154,348

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.9

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $133,283

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#15 in Law
Economic score 0.62

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $151,546

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.8

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $121,453

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#16 in Law

University of Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Economic score 0.65

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $94,146

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.7

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $62,250

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#17 in Law

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Economic score 0.68

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $144,494

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.9

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $123,638

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#18 in Law

Wayne State University

Detroit, Michigan

Economic score 0.72

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $86,839

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.7

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $57,388

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#19 in Law

Fordham University

Bronx, New York

Economic score 0.73

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $153,462

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 1.0

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $146,463

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

#20 in Law
Economic score 0.73

The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

Earnings $107,620

Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

Debt to earnings 0.8

The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

Debt $84,249

The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

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