How Hard Is Law School? - (2023)

Congratulations! You have passed theLaw School Admissions Test (LSAT)and have been accepted into law school! Now, the fun starts! For those considering law school, cost can be a true deterrent. Another factor that many take into consideration when contemplating going to law school is how rigorous the course of study will be.Law schoolwill likely be a much harder course of study than what you experienced when getting your undergraduate degree. There are many reasons why law school is harder than undergraduate school. Even with its challenges, about 40,000 law school students graduate each year, meaning that it is, indeed, possible to graduate with a law degree!

Law School Courses are Taught Differently

In mostAmerican Bar Association (ABA)-accredited law schools, classes are taught differently than they are in an undergraduate college program. You probably became used to a didactic style of teaching and learning during undergraduate studies, in which you memorized facts and dates using short-term memory skills. Law school, on the other hand, utilizes your critical thinking and analytical skills, focusing on long-term memory. Instead of a lecture-style class, which you likely experienced in many of your undergraduate courses, law school courses are taught in a more Socratic-style of teaching, in which professors ask students many direct questions, and much discussion goes on among the students. Although it can seem intimidating at first, this method of teaching helps you to develop your critical thinking skills under pressure, something that you will need to be able to do in your law career. Students in law school are expected to be able to argue multiple points of view and positions, accepting that a right answer to a given problem might not exist. It is also important for law school students to remember much information, as it will likely be used by you in the future, either in another class or in your career as a lawyer.

Studying Law School Subjects Is Harder

Because of the different ways law school courses are taught, studying also requires a different approach than what you might have used in undergraduate school. You must understand an exhaustive list of ideas and materials comprehensively, which involves much more than memorization. Many law school students turn to study groups to study concepts that they have learned. Other resources that can help law school students in studying include your college’s law library, supplemental materials, and, if available to study, past exams.

First-year law school classes tend to be the most difficult of any that you will experience in your three years of law school, as you are getting used to new subject matter and heavier readings. Some of the hardest classes in law school, according to current and former students, are:

  • Constitutional Law
  • Civil Procedure
  • Contracts
  • Federal Courts
  • Federal Income Tax
  • Administrative Law
  • Partnership Tax

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Grading Is Different in Law School

You might find that the grading system in law school is vastly different from that of your undergraduate college. In fact, some law schools completely do away with letter grades, instead grading students on a scale that may include terms such as honors, pass, low pass, and fail. Many of the assignments you turn in might not be graded throughout the course, so the ones that are graded count for much more. It is also difficult to know how you are doing in a course in which you are not given grades or having your efforts ranked. Most law professors grade strictly on a curve, using their personal discretion. This means that your grade is dependent upon the grades of others in your class, making it even more difficult to get good grades in law school.

Class Participation is More Important in Law School

You might have been the star of your undergraduate class, participating in every lecture and offering opinions and viewpoints that were appreciated by your professors. This will likely be different in law school. You are expected to dress in more business-like attire, and be well-groomed when you come to class. The classes are also much more competitive than those of your undergraduate school. You should think about how you look, how you sound, and how you act when attending law school classes, and dress for success. You never know who might show up to one of your law school classes – such as a potential employer scouting for new talent. Also, if you look and act like a lawyer, it’s easier to see yourself, and for others to see you, as a lawyer.

Anxiety is Higher in Law School

It’s understandable that the anxiety you feel as a law school student will be higher than what you experienced in undergraduate school. You might be working full- or part-time while in law school, and potentially having to commute to school as well, which increases stress and anxiety, giving you less time to focus on studies. Make sure that your family and friends are aware of your increased schedule and let them help you out as much as possible. Also ensure that you have free time for yourself, to unwind and take care of your own needs.

If you are a law school student experiencing high anxiety and stress, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Turn to your college’s counseling center or Office of Student Services for immediate help. Other helpful resources include:

Top 10 Hardest Law Schools to Get Into

In 2020, 24/7 Wall Street reviewed data on ABA-accredited law schools, including the median LSAT scores they accepted, the typical undergraduate GPAs of those accepted, and acceptance rates, and came up with the following schools ranked as the hardest to get into in the U.S.:

  • University of Southern California (3.4% acceptance rate)
  • Duke University (4.1% acceptance rate)
  • University of Virginia (5.3% acceptance rate)
  • Vanderbilt University (3.4% acceptance rate)
  • Northwestern University (4.5% acceptance rate)
  • Harvard University (6.4% acceptance rate)
  • University of Pennsylvania (3.7% acceptance rate)
  • Yale University (4.7% acceptance rate)
  • University of Chicago (3.6% acceptance rate)
  • Stanford University (3.8% acceptance rate)

Top 10 Easiest Law Schools to Get Into

Test prep company LSATMax examined acceptance rates, GPA and LSAT scores at law schools and came up with this list of the easiest ABA-accredited law schools to get into as of 2021:

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  • Southern Illinois University School of Law (50% acceptance rate)
  • Charleston School of Law, South Carolina (55.6% acceptance rate)
  • Thomas M. Cooley Law School- Western Michigan University (86% acceptance rate)
  • Loyola University of New Orleans College of Law (60% acceptance rate)
  • Southern University Law Center, Baton Rouge, LA (65% acceptance rate)
  • North Carolina Central University School of Law (LSAT min 140, 2.9 GPA accepted)
  • Appalachian School of Law, VA (63% acceptance rate)
  • Willamette University College of Law, Salem, OR (76% acceptance rate)
  • Concordia University School of Law, Idaho (60% acceptance rate)
  • Roger Williams University School of Law, Rhode Island (69% acceptance rate)

FAQs

Is a law degree really hard? ›

Earning a law degree is pretty challenging because you are supposed to do a lot of hard work. This work comprises mostly of studying and understanding complex law cases loaded with new-fangled legal terminology and unusual jargon.

How hard is it to get a 2 1 in law? ›

While a 69% and a 60% average still get you a 2.1, law firms ask for your percentage breakdown because they know there's a world of difference between students with these grades. The firm you train with is the only law firm that you will work for in your career which will ask for this breakdown up front.

What percentage of law students get a first? ›

Law's one of the hardest degrees to get a first in? Cool! Well, annoyingly, law is statistically the hardest degree subject to get a first in. Only 17 per cent of law degrees are firsts, according to data from uni stats experts HESA.

How many hours a week should a law student study? ›

According to the 'Student Academic Experience Survey 2019', which was published earlier this summer, law students manage 28 hours a week — ten contact hours, 15 hours of independent study and three hours on placement.

What year law school is hardest? ›

The first year (1L) Most students consider the first year of law school to be the most difficult. The material is more complex than they're used to and it must be learned rapidly. What's more, the way students are taught and tested is very different from high school or undergrad.

Is law school harder than med school? ›

So which degree is tougher? One student may say that medical school is tougher while another says that law school is tougher. In reality, it really depends on you, how you learn, and your natural abilities and aptitude of being a student.

How common is a first in law? ›

Approximately 10% of law students will complete their studies as the proud owner of a first-class degree, which makes it statistically the hardest degree to get top grades in.

How many people graduate with a first in law? ›

The Law Society's Annual Statistics Report (ASR) 2021 shows over a quarter (27%) of these graduates achieved a first and 55% a 2.1 degree.

Is a 2.2 law degree any good? ›

Typically, you'll need a 2.1 or a first-class degree to qualify at a top firm. There are lawyers with 2.2 degrees, but the reality is that your 2.2 will be a hurdle to getting a training contract – particularly at the largest law firms.

How old is the average 1L law student? ›

According to LSAC, 1L students average between 22-24 years old. Most of my classmates were born after I finished my undergraduate degree and had never heard of, much less seen, “The Paper Chase.”

What percentage of law students fail the bar? ›

MBE Scores by State (2016)
StateTotal TakingPercent Passing
Arizona98851%
Arkansas35757%
California12,49540%
Colorado1,17169%
53 more rows

How common are full rides to law school? ›

At best, only a handful of people out of a class of hundreds will be awarded a full scholarship. Someone at your school will get a full-ride — it might as well be you! For precise data on how many students received scholarships to a school in recent years, check out their ABA 509 Required Disclosure.

How much sleep do law students get? ›

At 60 hours of study per week, you can still get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. But you might have to forego much of the partying, TV-watching, gaming, and part-time work during law school.

How do you survive law school? ›

20 Tips for Success in Law School
  1. DO THE READING. Do all of the reading assigned for your courses. ...
  2. BRIEF THE CASES. Take notes while reading. ...
  3. REVIEW BEFORE EACH CLASS. ...
  4. GO TO CLASS. ...
  5. PAY ATTENTION IN CLASS. ...
  6. PARTICIPATE IN CLASS. ...
  7. TAKE CLASS NOTES. ...
  8. PREPARE AN OUTLINE FOR EACH OF YOUR CLASSES.

Is the first year of law school hard? ›

The first year of law school is a difficult year. As mentioned above, first year classes are graded on a strict curve so not many students receive A's. It is very intellectually challenging, requires a lot of hard work, and full-time students generally do not have much free time to dedicate to other interests.

Is law school a lot of memorization? ›

While law school exams primarily require applied knowledge, not rote memorization, you still have to know the material, which requires some (a lot of) memorization. Repetition of the material is necessary for retention of the material.

Is it possible to flunk out of law school? ›

The flunk-out rate for law students is in the range of 12-25%” says Lisa Blasser, a Claremont-based attorney, and author of “Nine Steps to Law School Success: A Scientifically Proven Study Process for Success in Law School.” So, what explains someone failing? “They simply are not taught how to study.

What is the hardest part of law school? ›

But if we are to look at this from a wider angle, we could say that for most (if not all) law students, the hardest part of law school is the study itself. Because of several required readings of the texts of the law, students are often overwhelmed with what they are supposed to read, understand, and memorize.

Why is law school so hard? ›

The law is extensive, and you need a comprehensive, practical understanding of the materials. It's going to take more than memorizing notes (which is often the approach for undergrad). For many students, this makes studying in law school harder.

Are lawyers or doctors more respected? ›

Best & most respected professions in the world

Doctors topped the global list of most respected professions, followed by lawyers and then engineers.

Is being a lawyer worth it in 2022? ›

Being a lawyer is a better job than being a speech-language pathologist but not quite as good as being a statistician. That's the conclusion of U.S. News & World Report, which rated working as a lawyer the ninth best job on its list of 100 Best Jobs of 2022.

What are first year lawyers called? ›

First-year associates are entry-level junior attorneys and are generally recent law school graduates in their first year of law practice.

What are first year law students called? ›

1L, 2L, 3L: In undergrad, your year in school is usually referred to as freshman, sophomore, etc. In law school, we use 1L to refer to first year, 2L to second year, 3L to third year. Your law school might have a part time division, and in that case, some students might be referred to as 4Ls as well.

What is a good GPA for first year of law school? ›

The list. No mandatory curve; 3.1 to 3.3 mean for 1L courses, except First-Year Rhetoric. 3.25 to 3.45 mean for most upper-level courses.

What is the average IQ of a law student? ›

A recent report shows that some lawyers have IQ's of approximately 114 (in the 50th percentile), some 109 (in the 25th percentile), and some 124 (in the 75th percentile).

Who is the youngest graduate of law school? ›

Haley Taylor Schlitz graduated from the SMU Dedman School of Law at 19 years old. That's only one of many things you should know about her.

What percent of CEOs have a law degree? ›

We identify the educational background of about 3,500 CEOs paired to nearly 2,400 publicly-traded firms in the S&P 1500. In this sample about 9 percent of CEOs have law degrees.

Can I get a job with 2 2 in law? ›

It's not impossible to become a trainee solicitor with a 2.2 degree, but it may be more difficult. Usually you will need a 2.1 to apply for training contracts at top law firms.

Can you be a lawyer with 2 2 degree? ›

The majority of law firms look for candidates with a 2:1 degree grade or above – although it is not unheard of for some firms to accept candidates with a 2:2 degree grade. Most candidates with a 3rd will find it very difficult to reach the interview stage unless they have mitigating circumstances.

What percentage is a 2 1 in law? ›

UK degree classifications are as follows: First-Class Honours (First or 1st) (70% and above) Upper Second-Class Honours (2:1, 2. i) (60-70%)

How many hours a day should a law student study? ›

You will most likely want to plan to study for at least two hours for every hour of class. For example, in your first year, you will study Torts, Contracts and Criminal Law. Each class is 3 ½ hours a week. This means you should plan on studying and preparing for each class about 7 hours per week or 21 hours total.

Is 23 too old to start law school? ›

It's never too late in life to apply to law school. Although most applicants are under 25, roughly 20% are 30 or older, according to the Law School Admission Council. Many older law graduates build fulfilling second careers that draw upon both preexisting skills and experiences and those that law school provides.

Who is the youngest lawyer ever? ›

Baccus is the youngest lawyer in the world. He graduated from law school at the age of 16, in 1986 and became the youngest person ever to graduate from an American Law School.

Did Kim Kardashian pass the bar? ›

Kim Kardashian took the legal exam four times before passing on her last attempt. Kim Kardashian received some very good news about her law school journey on The Kardashians.

How many times did JFK Jr fail the bar exam? ›

John F. Kennedy Jr., failed the NY bar exam twice before he passed on his third try. Hillary Clinton, the 67th Secretary of State, failed the D.C. bar exam on her first attempt but passed the Arkansas bar. Michelle Obama, the current first lady, failed the IL bar exam on her first attempt.

Do most people pass law school? ›

From another perspective, students from the top 10 law schools have a 95 percent success rate taking the bar exam on their first try, while students in lower–ranked schools have an average bar pass rate of 55 percent.

Is law school hard or just a lot of work? ›

Studying. Law school typically has a heftier work load than undergrad. You should treat it like a full-time job, dedicating at least 40 hours (or more) to reading and studying each week. And you should make sure your study and time management skills are up to snuff too.

Is there a lot of homework in law school? ›

In short, a lot. Unlike in undergraduate school, law students spend countless hours preparing for classroom instruction. Along with reading around 100 pages a week per class, you'll want to review your notes and create outlines.

Is law school a lot of reading? ›

Law school, however, takes reading and writing to a whole new level. Compared with undergraduate texts, legal code and court opinions can seem written in an alien language. And many law students find legal writing to be the hardest core class they have to take in their first year.

What time do law students wake up? ›

Morning classes might start as early as 7:45 am, and the final evening class can begin later than 6:00 pm. This does not mean that students are in classes all day every day. Most students take an average of four classes each semester. Just like in undergrad, law school courses are not scheduled every day.

Can you have a life in law school? ›

Many people believe that once you start law school, your social life dies. A dramatic theory, but not necessarily true. I will dispel the myth – you still can and should have a social life while completing your legal education.

Do lawyers pull all nighters? ›

Pulling all-nighters is common for corporate lawyers, especially when closing deadlines fast approach. These law professionals spend large chunks of their days and nights making substantial headway in the business arena.

Do law students regret? ›

For one, half of law students regret their decision to pursue law school based on the high cost of tuition and living expenses. When asked whether the weakened job market leads them to believe their education is overpriced, an overwhelming 74% agreed that the price of a law degree is too expensive.

Can introverts survive law school? ›

The good news is that research shows introverts tend to be more knowledgeable and have more original and creative ideas. So, it is comforting to know that even though social skills are important, it is knowledge and expertise which matters the most in law school and professional life as a whole.

How many hours should a lawyer study? ›

There isn't any standard formula of how many hours to study in order to Crack law entrances. But it is recommended to study with all your heart and with proper strategy for whatever time duration you're studying. It is suggested to devote around 5 hours everyday with a consistent practice to get desired results.

What is the toughest year of law school? ›

Most students consider the first year of law school to be the most difficult. The material is more complex than they're used to and it must be learned rapidly. What's more, the way students are taught and tested is very different from high school or undergrad.

Is law difficult for average student? ›

An average student can easily consider LLB as a good choice because he/she will be able to study it easily by putting hardwork and dedication into it.It will turn out to be a complex course for those neglecting it and not paying required attention to it.

Are you a lawyer if you pass the Baby bar? ›

After completing the legal apprenticeship and the baby bar, students can then take their actual bar exam and become practicing lawyers upon successfully passing it.

How stressful is a law degree? ›

It's no secret that studying law can be very stressful. The pressure to get the “right” grades, the competition for jobs in the legal profession and the nature of law itself (murder, GBH and theft anyone?) can all impact on students' experience of law school.

What makes a law degree difficult? ›

The law is extensive, and you need a comprehensive, practical understanding of the materials. It's going to take more than memorizing notes (which is often the approach for undergrad). For many students, this makes studying in law school harder.

Which type of law is the hardest to study? ›

Criminal Litigation appears to be one of the most difficult areas of Law as it is really risky and requires expertise. You definitely cannot represent a client in a high profile criminal case if you don't know your onion in Criminal Litigation.

Are Law Students Unhappy? ›

96% of law students experience significant stress, compared to 70% of med students and 43% of grad students. But it doesn't have to be debilitating. We're covering how to evaluate your stress level, how to know when to get help, and how to get it.

What percent of law students are depressed? ›

Prior to entering law school, depression rates among law students are 8-9%. Those rates increase to 27% after one semester, 34% after two semesters, and 40% after three years.

What is the least stressful type of law to practice? ›

Real estate law, estate planning law, and intellectual property law are commonly cited as the least stressful types of law to practice.

What type of lawyer is most in demand? ›

Most in-demand practice areas
  • Commercial law.
  • Litigation.
  • Real estate law.
  • Intellectual property.
  • Family law.

How many hours do law students sleep? ›

At 60 hours of study per week, you can still get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. But you might have to forego much of the partying, TV-watching, gaming, and part-time work during law school.

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