Every ABA-approved school provides sufficient basic training to qualify its graduates to take the bar exam in any state. It is advantageous, however, to attend a law school in the area where the applicant hopes to practice, in part to build profile contacts within the legal community in the area, and in part to become familiar with regional variations in the law.

There are more than 200 public and private law schools in the U.S. and Canada, each one unique in its mission, philosophy, criteria, and strengths.

Although there are resources that “rank” schools, rankings are rarely pertinent for applicants. Most importantly, there should be a good “match” between you and the school.

Creating a List

To find schools that are good a fit (PAC pre-law advisors can help with this process):

1. Assess your individual strengths, weaknesses, professional interests, learning style, and personality.

2. List ALL schools you would consider attending, which may be limited to the schools in one state or region.

3. Use the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools to create a “Long List” by omitting schools that do not match your professional interests, learning style, or personality.

4. Create your “Short List” once you have your entrance exam scores by categorizing the schools into “Reach,” “Match,” and “Safety,” ranking the schools by preference. Finally, choose how many schools to apply to.

Schools' ABA-required disclosures on their websites reflect accepted applicants' scores and GPAs, which can help you determine what competitive scores and GPAs would be for you.

5. If possible, visit the schools to see their facilities, talk to Admissions Directors, and chat with students.


  • Do your homework when searching for a law school.
  • Decide which factors are most important to you (school size, location, course offerings, etc.).
  • Assess your personal resources, consider family obligations, and confer with people the applicant trusts (college professors, prelaw advisors, law school admission professionals, and current law students).

It is never too early to start thinking about law school. The decisions made today will determine the possible career choices down the road.

Choosing Law Schools
Where UHM Applicants Apply