Law is a system of rules created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior, with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has been variously described as a science and the art of justice. State-enforced laws can be made by a group legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes; by the executive through decrees and regulations; or established by judges through precedent, usually in common law jurisdictions.
Law – or legal studies – refers to the ‘art of justice.’ It has been practiced since 3000 BC by the Ancient Egyptians. While the study has changed through time, one thing is for sure: you need to get a law degree to practice legally. In the following sections, we will list the best pre law schools in michigan.
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Best Law Schools in Michigan
5. Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School (Lansing, MI)
Aspiring lawyers looking to make a real difference in law and legal advocacy should look no further than Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, located in the state capital, Lansing. For years, Cooley Law students have been making a positive impact through their involvement in the nationally recognized Innocence Project, which, to date, has been credited with the release of 375 wrongfully convicted prisoners.
The chapter at Cooley Law is the only one in the state that deals with post-conviction DNA innocence. But this only one notable example; the school boasts several other award-winning clinics and professors. Other examples of outstanding clinics include the Real Estate Planning and Elderly Law clinics. Quality and impactful clinics are a crucial component of any school’s experiential learning curriculum, and Cooley Law earns top marks in this area.
The school’s excellence is evidenced by its notable alumni, including Rosemarie Aquilina, a Michigan Circuit Court judge who presided over the case and sentencing of Larry Nassar, a case that made national headlines in 2017. Aquilina is also an adjunct professor at the school.
Cooley is ranked as one of the top 100 law schools in the country that offers a quality part-time law program for working adults and other “nontraditional” students looking to enter the field of law. The school’s commitment to education is exemplified by its stellar continuing education program for recent law school graduates and practitioners who have been in the field for some time. The Master of Laws (LL.M) programs allows busy professionals to hone their skills through part-time and full-time online classes.
In 2019, Cooley Law admitted 54% of applicants, which is a sharp decline from its 80% admission rate in preceding years.
4. University of Detroit Mercy School of Law (Detroit, MI)
The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law is located at the heart of the legal district in downtown Detroit. Without a doubt, being at the center of the legal district provides Mercy School of Law students strategic access to myriad opportunities for experiential learning, such as internships and externships. For this reason, and many others, this school is a top choice among aspiring legal practitioners across the country.
Want proof of Detroit Mercy Law’s greatness? For starters, over 80% of graduates from recent years obtained full-time employment in a J.D.-required position within a year of graduation. This puts Detroit Mercy Law above the national average for post-graduation employment prospects alone. Recent graduates are not landing just any kind of job; many have secured positions at top national law firms, government offices, such as the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, top judicial clerkships in the state, and more.
Among the most significant assets of the school is its outstanding and accomplished faculty, including the renowned international law and gender law expert Catherine Archibald. Archibald has not only published in top-ranking law reviews, she has also worked on numerous immigration, family, and housing law cases and won awards for her pro bono work in these areas.
How does Detroit Mercy Law groom high-caliber lawyers? No law school is worth mentioning unless it can boast top-notch clinical programs. As early as year one, students get hands-on lawyering experience through mini-clinics such as the Greening of Detroit Clinic and the Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Hearing. Students are trained and supervised by community attorneys. Upper-level students are guaranteed hands-on training through a wide variety of clinics. The school has a bit of history to boast about here. It opened one of the first law clinics in the entire country, the Urban Law Clinic.
For some prospective students, the culture and values of a school matter as much as its employment statistics. Detroit Mercy Law’s mission is underpinned by its Jesuit and Mercy traditions, providing future lawyers with a strong foundation in ethics and social justice.
According to the latest US News and World Report rankings, Detroit Mercy Law ranks in the top 100 for its part-time law program.
3. Michigan State University College of Law (East Lansing, MI)
Established in 1891, the Michigan State University College of Law, formerly known as the Detroit College of Law, is the second oldest law school in the state. As with many well-established law schools, the school has earned its rank within the top 100 law schools in the country, according to the latest US News & World Report. Even at first glance, it should be no surprise that getting into the school of law can be quite competitive; less than half of applicants are admitted each year.
Notable faculty of the Detroit College of Law include Rosemarie Aquilina, who presided over the Larry Nassar case, and already mentioned as a famous alum of another school on this list. In addition to notable faculty, the school boasts accomplished alumni, including the current governor Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, and former Michigan Supreme Court Justice, Dennis Archer.
Besides notable faculty and alumni, MSU College of Law’s prestige has enabled its graduates to work and make a difference in all 50 states. Many work in the legal profession, landing prominent positions such as National Appeals Attorney for the Vietnam Veterans of America and as attorneys at established and reputable law firms throughout the country.
Detroit College of Law students train with expert faculty who are luminaries in business and regulatory law. In addition to receiving guidance from stellar faculty, students hone their lawyering skills and gain valuable experience, including the unique and impactful Indian Law Clinic, which prepares those who wish to work in Indian Country. Last but not least, students can practice their skills and bond with like-minded students through exceptional teamwork by participating in the award-winning Moot Court.
2. Wayne State University School of Law (Detroit, MI)
Of the schools on this list so far, Wayne State University School of Law has garnered the greatest number of accolades. Within the last three years alone, it has made it on the list of “Best Value Schools,” “Best Law Schools” and “Part-Time Law Schools” according to the 2022 US News & World Report rankings, and second best law school in Michigan.
Additionally, its graduates have one of the lowest rates of indebtedness among law schools in the region, the average debt being 55k. It has the winning combination of being the most affordable law school in Michigan and one of the best law schools in the country. However, there is more to this school than its impressive rankings.
WSU School of Law has become a powerhouse of practical legal training and advocacy. It is home to the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, Levin Center, and Program for International Legal Studies. The Keith Center prepares graduates to become “agents of change” by addressing the social, political, and economic needs of underrepresented communities in Southeast Michigan. The Levin Center also empowers students to take leading roles in ensuring the transparency, accountability, and integrity of public and private institutions by providing neutral and fact-based oversight. The Levin Center has launched a podcast series on legislative oversight.
Students have opportunities to study abroad and learn about the legal systems of other nations through the International Legal Studies program. This is just a small sample of the plethora of experiential and professional opportunities available to students, as they become versed in theory and excel at practice, with a passion for serving the community.
More than 85% of grads landed full-time positions within a year of graduating, with an overall employment rate of almost 90%.
1. University of Michigan Law School (Ann Arbor, MI)
The University of Michigan Law School is a formidable rival to Harvard and Stanford Law. With its picturesque quads and gothic-style architecture, the school is an aesthetically pleasing backdrop for serious study and training. Beyond aesthetics, its curriculum, faculty, and programs are stellar, and its acceptance rate hovers around 27%, making it the most competitive law school on this list. The average GPA for the class of 2023 was a 3.77 and the average LSAT score was 169.
What makes the University of Michigan Law school a premier institution that draws several thousand applicants a year? The school offers a rigorous and diverse curriculum, encompassing many areas in law, from Antitrust to Public Interest Law, Japanese Law, Legal Theory and Philosophy, to Writing and Drafting.
World-class scholars and practitioners teach courses in these areas. Julian Mortenson, for example, is an award-winning teacher, a prolific scholar, and an active litigator. He has published in numerous top law journals and reviews and has worked on the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia and clerked for Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter.
Complementing its stellar programs and faculty are its wide-ranging and intensive clinical offerings, which provide students the experience and skills needed to become top lawyers in the region and the country.
Best Pre Law Schools in Michigan
Michigan State University
4 Year • East Lansing, MI • 8 reviews
Michigan State University is a public university based in East Lansing, Michigan. It is an institution with an enrollment of over 8,366 bachelor’s degree candidates. The admission criteria is somewhat competitive with the acceptance rate of 71%.
#1 in Best Pre Law Studies Colleges & Universities in Michigan
University of Detroit Mercy
4 Year • Detroit, MI
University of Detroit Mercy is a private not-for-profit university based in Detroit, Michigan. It is an institution with an enrollment of over 550 bachelor’s degree candidates. The admission criteria is somewhat competitive with the acceptance rate of 64%.
#2 in Best Pre Law Studies Colleges & Universities in Michigan
4 Year • Livonia, MI
Madonna University is a private not-for-profit university based in Livonia, Michigan. It is an institution with an enrollment of over 278 bachelor’s degree candidates. The admission criteria is somewhat competitive with the acceptance rate of 74%.
#3 in Best Pre Law Studies Colleges & Universities in Michigan Acceptance Rate74%Net Price$34,186SAT Range840-1050ACT Range19-24
Northern Michigan University
4 Year • Marquette, MI
Northern Michigan University is a public university based in Marquette, Michigan. It is an institution with an enrollment of over 1,501 bachelor’s degree candidates. The admission criteria is somewhat competitive with the acceptance rate of 74%.
#4 in Best Pre Law Studies Colleges & Universities in Michigan
Gogebic Community College
2-4 Year • Ironwood, MI
Gogebic Community College is a public university based in Ironwood, Michigan.
#5 in Best Pre Law Studies Colleges & Universities in Michigan
Alpena Community College
4 Year • Alpena, MI
Alpena Community College is a public university based in Alpena, Michigan.
#6 in Best Pre Law Studies Colleges & Universities
Best law schools in the world
#1: Harvard College
A traditional feeder school, a Harvard education will undoubtedly give you an advantage in your law school applications, especially with the right grades and LSAT scores. Harvard also has several organizations for pre-law students, including the Harvard Law Society and the Harvard College Black Pre-Law Association. You’ll also be able to take advantage of Harvard’s alumni network at top schools and law firms.
#2: Yale University
Yale is considered the top law school in the country, and is the 4th best university overall according to US News and World Report. Though Yale does not have a pre-law major, the school does offer an interdisciplinary track that allows students to create their own major that can give them the skills that law schools seek. The Yale Law School Admission Council also provides undergraduates with pre-law counseling and events throughout the year.
#3: Northwestern University
Northwestern is known for academic rigor, and a big school means lots of resources, including their own law school. Northwestern’s Legal Studies track can be completed as a major or a minor, and differs from pre-law programs in that it has an interdisciplinary focus and aims to teach students to think critically about the relationship between law and society, and includes everything from psychology to literature to religious studies. It’s a well-rounded degree, and the added advantage of being in Chicago means more opportunities for internships.
#4: University of Maryland
The University of Maryland has a department dedicated to advising pre-law students, which also connects students with resources and mentors, and works closely with the university’s law school. Maryland also has a three year arts/law degree program, in which a student can apply to law school in their third year of undergrad, and be awarded their baccalaureate degree in their first year of law school. College Park is also close to Washington D.C., which can help you with landing an internship.
#5: Georgetown University
Georgetown’s pre-law advising center offers resources on all things law school, including one-on-one advising, help with applications, and workshops. Additionally, Georgetown’s record of academics in the humanities make it a great place to learn the skills necessary to excel in law school, and its Washington D.C. location means opportunities to have internships and make connections with those working in the legal field or in politics.
#6: New York University
NYU is in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world, and certainly offers a ton of opportunities for internships both in the legal industry and beyond. NYU also offers the Lawyer Alumni Mentoring Program, or LAMP, for pre-law students. The school’s academics are rigorous overall, and has a strong record in the humanities, particularly English.
#7: Michigan State University
Michigan State offers a pre-law major that is also considered a liberal arts degree. The pre-law major aims to introduce students to legal studies while also teaching critical thinking and analytical skills so that pre-law majors are prepared to work in law enforcement, become paralegals, or go into a career in government.
#8: University of Texas at Austin
UT Austin’s career center hosts one of the largest Law Fairs in the country every year, which allows students to interact with over 100 law school admissions professionals. The career center also hosts panels and workshops, law school application coaching, and more. If you’re stuck between majors, these resources can help you decide what is best for you, and what will help you stand out on an application. UT Austin offers many majors in both sciences and humanities, and UT students go onto to law school with degrees in numerous fields.
#9: Florida State University
In addition to one of the country’s top Criminal Justice programs, FSU has a pre-law advising center that helps students magnify their achievements within their majors, and works closely with the law school. FSU hosts the Donald J. Weidner Summer Program for Legal Studies, a four-week program taught by law professors. Even better: 70% of program attendees have gone on to law school. The program is open to undergraduates from all schools and is competitive.
#10: George Washington University
George Washington University encourages pre-law students to establish themselves as pre-law early on, and take advantage of the many groups, societies, and panels dedicated to that goal. Advisers at GW help you find the law schools that are the best fit for your background and goals, and they tailor your undergrad education to those schools. Additionally, the Washington D.C. location makes for a great spot to score internships.
#11: Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern is a little different than the other schools on this list because of its thorough pre-law (legal studies) major that offers an undergraduate law degree. Nova Southeastern is dedicated to helping students prepare for law school by offering a challenging program and a dedicated interest in the humanities. The school’s B.S. in Legal Studies major also allows students to take classes in philosophy, history, and more as they work toward their degree.