The Best Schools And Programs For Legal Writing

Rank and SchoolAnnual Tuition (Full-Time)LSAT (25th -75th Percentile)Acceptance RateMedian Private (PR) and Public (PU) Sector Starting SalariesPost-Graduation DebtEmploy-ment After 9 Months (2011 Grads)Over-all Rank
1. Seattle U.$40,486153-15857.8%$55,000 (PR) $50,200 (PU)$129,45861.0%87
2. John Marshall Law School (Chicago)$44,074146-15270.9%$50,500 (PR) $55,000 (PU)$121,70058.0%NR
3. University of Nevada-Las Vegas (Boyd)$26,437 (In-State) $37,437 (Out-of-State)154-16032.1%$70,000 (PR) $60,000 (PU)$94,84363.4%83
4. Mercer U. (George)$37,260148-15463.0%$59,750 (PR) $43,690 (PU)$124,26878.2%104
4. U. of Oregon$29,492 (In-State) $36,746 (Out-of-State)156-16149.5%$61,000 (PR) $33,466 (PU)$104,77549.1%100
6. Stetson U.$37,782152-15844.4%$60,000 (PR) $43,403 (PU)$136,73868.9%93
7. Suffolk U. (Boston)$45,054145-15377.7%$67,500 (PR) $44,750 (PU)$123,00051.5%NR
8. Arizona State U. (O’Connor)$26,268 (In-State) $40,818 (Out-of-State)158-16439.1%$100,000 (PR) $55,000 (PU)$107,80972.6%31
8. U. of Indiana-Indianapolis (McKinney)$24,172 (In-State) $43,882 (Out-of-State)150-15758.3%$80,000 (PR) $54,250 (PU)$97,78461.7%87
8. Arkansas-Little Rock (Bowen)$13,353 (In-State) $27,147 (Out-of-State)147-15552.8%$46,800 (PR) $50,000 (PU)$52,20568.3%121
8. University of Denver (Strum)$40,950154-16054.6%$65,000 (PR) $50,000 (PU)$130,98159.3%68

(Source: U.S. News & World Report)
Surprisingly, none of the top law schools cracks the top 10 in legal writing. In fact, the highest-ranked program to make the list is Arizona State’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law  (#31). Even more, nine of the top 11 schools rank 83rd or lower overall. So what do these schools do differently when it comes to legal writing?

Seattle University School of Law

Seattle University School of Law


As the capital of coffee, Seattle is the perfect home for the nation’s top legal writing program. In fact, the Seattle University School of Law has held the top spot for eight of the last nine years. Of course, the school’s tradition of writing excellence stretches back nearly 30 years, when faculty began hosting many of the national conferences on legal writing. The faculty has also authored numerous national textbooks on legal writing and earned numerous teaching awards from the university and outside organizations. What sets the program apart is the intensive inclusion of research, analysis, and writing in every course beginning in the first year. The program, which includes a full-time writing advisor, also boasts small, interactive classes where students can receive swift in-person or online feedback on their writing from faculty.
John Marshall Law School (Chicago)

John Marshall Law School (Chicago)


The John Marshall Law School in Chicago jumped four spots to #2 in the 2014 U.S. News rankings…and held on to its runner-up status for 2015. The school offers a demanding four-semester research and writing curriculum as part of its Lawyering Skills program. In fact, students must meet one-on-one with their instructor on their writing after each of their papers is graded. To further support students, the school maintains an on-site Writing Resource Center. Staffed by five writing experts, the center works closely with the Lawyering Skills program on student assignments and offers workshops on various legal writing topics.

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