University of California-Los Angeles Law School Requirements GPA

Last Updated on January 18, 2023

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While it’s not the pearl of the UC system (that would be Berkeley), UCLA Law is the most prestigious school in Los Angeles, a major legal market. The law school currently ranks 16th on the US News rankings of the country’s best law schools. Combine the desirable location in sunny Los Angeles with a world-class school, and it’s no surprise that getting in is a competitive process. So what LSAT and GPA do you typically need for admission to UCLA Law? The numbers from this year’s enrolling class will give you a better idea of what it takes to get into UCLA law.

Getting Into UCLA Law School

UCLA Royce Hall

Learn what it takes to get into UCLA Law School.

See Acceptance Rates, Average LSAT Scores, GPA & More

Law School Overview

UCLA Law School is one of the University of California’s 12 professional schools. Since its inception in 1949, the school has made a name for itself as a leading U.S. law school that creates tomorrow’s legal professionals and leaders through first-class education.

It is considered among the top law schools in the United States and is one of the youngest. UCLA Law School has American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).

In the 1970s, UCLA Law broke a new barrier by being the first law school to initiate clinical education. The program made it possible for people who couldn?t afford legal representation to get direct legal services from law school students under expert supervision.

The program is still ongoing to date, with several clinics providing legal assistance to companies, military veterans, criminal defendants, communities, immigrant families, and more.

Students take advantage of the robust experiential program to learn from real-life, multi-faceted legal situations. The experience helps them gain firsthand knowledge regarding how the criminal, financial, and real estate systems work in the real world.

The curriculum is challenging, but support and collaboration from an active alumni community and committed faculty make things easier.

Currently, the school?s law faculty has more than 100 members. The expertise of these members spans all major legal disciplines, designating the school as one of the United States? most diverse law schools. The school?s professors are among the most influential scholars in the nation in fields like constitutional law, evidence, immigration, corporate law, critical race theory, and more.

As part of its commitment to diversity, UCLA is the only law school in the United States that offers a program that examines legal issues related to race and justice. There is also the UCLA Critical Race Studies program and Public Interest Law Program, which are leaders in the field.

Several UCLA graduates that studied these fields have grown to be social justice leaders that provide legal assistance to members of underrepresented communities.

In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked UCLA Law eighth in Tax Law and fourth in Environmental Law. Also, UCLA?s Masters of Law program (LL.M.) is popular among international students that intend to pass the California Bar Exam on their first try.

Presently, UCLA?s law alumni consist of more than 17,000 legal professionals working in the States and beyond. Many of these alumni have served on U.S. courts. In fact, there have been more judges from UCLA than any other law school on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

There are also UCLA alumni who have gone on to groundbreaking work in Hollywood, such as:

  • Thomas Bliss ? Movie producer with more than 30 films under his belt, including Air Force One.
  • Jeff Cohen ? Child actor in The Goonies (1985) and present-day entertainment lawyer.
  • Blye Pagon Faust ? Academy Award-winning film producer.
  • Robert Fitzpatrick ? President of Allied Artists International and entertainment attorney.
  • Stacey Snider ? Former co-chair of Universal, 20th Century Fox, and DreamWorks.

The prestigious University of California-Los Angeles campus houses the UCLA School of Law in Westwood, Los Angeles. It is on the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains (just five miles from the Pacific Ocean). UCLA has one of the most scenic campuses in the United States and is worth touring during a campus visit.

UCLA Law School Rankings

Knowing a law school?s ranking before applying for admission is crucial because it lets you know your chances of getting in. School rankings also give you a clear idea of a school?s quality (education, infrastructure, and more) as well as job prospects after graduation.

Many prospective employers, especially top law firms, consider the ranking of the law school an applicant graduated from when evaluating his or her qualifications.

Several organizations release law school rankings every year. Each uses different factors to determine which school should rank where. For many years, UCLA has managed to rank in the top 20 law schools of various independent organizations.

U.S. News & World Report has placed UCLA Law in the top 20 U.S. law schools since 1987. In 2019, the U.S. News & World Report placed UCLA 17th among U.S. law schools. While Vault Top 25 ranked UCLA as 16th.

UCLA Law School Admissions

What Is the UCLA Law School Acceptance Rate?

The higher the ranking of a law school, the harder it usually is to get in. Law schools like Yale and Stanford have a current acceptance rate of less than 12 percent.

But it?s not just the ranking of a school that determines how difficult it will be for an applicant to get in. The type of academic programs the school provides, the number of students that apply in a year, and the admission requirements all affect admission rates.

Another factor that many fail to take into consideration is the prestige of the school. That is, the more attractive and sought-after a school is, the harder it typically is to receive admission.

Over the years, UCLA has been a moderately competitive law school, meaning getting in is tough but still possible as long as you meet the requirements. That said, the average acceptance rate for law schools in the United States is around 45 percent. Still, UCLA sets a higher standard by accepting only applicants that meet its requirements and prove that they are UCLA material.

Since 2010, UCLA Law?s acceptance rate has danced between 20 and 30 percent. In 2011, the school?s acceptance rate stood at 20 percent. In 2019, the rate is 29.73 percent, a much friendlier figure.

It?s important to take note of a law school?s annual variations in acceptance rate because such differences are not always from factors that are under the school or student?s control. At times, a factor is external.

For instance, UCLA and every other law school have a limited number of slots each year for admissions. When the number of applicants exceeds the admission slots, it can lead to a perceived drop in acceptance rates as the school rejects far more students than it accepts.

Consequently, fewer applicants than there are available slots cause acceptance rates to rise.

In 2019, out of the 5,254 applications that UCLA Law received, only 1,562 received offers. To improve your chances of getting into UCLA Law, you need to ensure that your Undergraduate GPA and LSAT score meet the school?s minimum requirements. Both are critical metrics that most law schools use to determine an applicant?s ability and worthiness for admission.

In 2019, the average undergraduate GPA for accepted Harvard and Yale candidates was 3.86 and 3.93, respectively. UCLA?s wasn?t as steep at a 3.74 GPA.

Even if your GPA is below par, there?s still a chance of getting into UCLA if you can craft a very distinctive application letter and can score well on the LSAT.

The average 2019 LSAT score for students applying to UCLA Law was 166. Harvard and Yale required higher average scores ? 173.

Further statistics for the class of 2023 UCLA Law?s admissions are available in the table below:

 Applications Offers Matriculated
Class of 20235,2541,562 (29.73%)293 (5.6%)
25%Median75%
GPA3.513.743.86
LSAT162166169

UCLA Law School LSAT Percentiles

75th percentile169
50th percentile166
25th percentile162

2023 Entering Class Profile

Number of Students974
 LSAT Score166
Undergraduate GPA3.74
% Women50.50%
%  Students of Color3.0%
% Enrolled Directly After College

What Is The Tuition For UCLALaw School?

In-State ResidentNon-Resident
Full Time$45,284$51,776
Part-TimeN/AN/A

What Are the Living Expenses at UCLA Law School

On-Campus$26,368
Off-Campus$26,368

What Are The Housing Options At UCLA Law School

On-CampusYes
Off-CampusYes

BAR Passage Rates At UCLA Law School

Reporting92.7%
First Time Takers328
UCLA Average81.9%
California Average66.4%
National AverageN/A

Application Deadlines

When will the UCLA application materials available?

You can get all the UCLA application materials you need from the schools website. The materials are available at all times.

When does UCLA begin accepting applications?

UCLA Law is currently accepting applications for Fall 2020. All application submissions must be in before February 1, 2020.

How are applications to UCLA submitted?

UCLA accepts admission applications via the LSAC online application service. The proper application process depends on what type of applicant you are.

Does UCLA have an ?early admission? or an ?early decision? process?

Yes, it does ? namely, the Binding Early Decision Program and the full-tuition UCLA Law Distinguished Scholars Program.

Successful ?early decision? applicants must attend UCLA Law and withdraw their applications to other law schools. They must also not apply to other law schools and must submit their seat deposit and Statement of Intent before the specified deadline.

How much is the application fee and when is the deadline?

Application Fee$75
Early Decision Deadline12/1/01
Regular Decision Deadline12/31

Does UCLA grant interviews?

Interviews are not part of the UCLA School of Law admissions process. But in certain unusual scenarios, the school?s Admissions Committee may call an applicant for an interview.

Employment After UCLA Law School

Median Salary Private Sector$135,000
Median Salary Public Sector$60,000

As one of the United States? most prestigious law schools, UCLA Law has a track record of putting out graduates that go on to become success stories, within and outside the legal field. Several UCLA Law alumni are judges, successful lawyers in law firms, entrepreneurs, and politicians.

For a clearer picture, here is Employment Data for UCLA?s Class of 2018:

  • Employment Status ? Ninety-three percent of alumni found employment within a year of graduating, while one percent went on to pursue an additional degree.
  • Location ? About 85 percent of graduates found work in California. The next most popular work destination was New York, while the rest relocated to the District of Columbia or abroad.
  • Job Sector ? Most UCLA law school graduates work in the private sector, with more than 60 percent of them in law firms. Eight percent went into business and another eight percent for the government, while the remainder took up public interest and academic work.
  • Salary ? The highest-earning UCLA Law graduates are those in law firms, followed by those in business, then those in the public sector. The salary range is between $51,000 and $184,000.

UCLA Law Class of 2021 Student Profile

  • 25th percentile LSAT: 164
  • Median LSAT: 169
  • 75th percentile LSAT: 171
  • 25th percentile GPA: 3.54
  • Median GPA: 3.79
  • 75th percentile GPA: 3.90

If your GPA and LSAT numbers fall within these ranges, you are likely a competitive applicant to UCLA law. With both numbers above the median, you have solid chances of getting in. Self-reported data from last year’s applicants to UCLA showed no outright rejections with an LSAT over 168 and GPA above 3.45, so if you are looking to come close to assuring you get into UCLA, 168 seems to be the magic number. With a lower LSAT score, your odds improve greatly if your GPA is above 3.8.

However, the doors to UCLA law are not barred just because your numbers are slightly below these 25th-75th ranges. UCLA, like other top schools, does not judge applicants based solely on numbers. Every year a considerable number of applicants with either one or both numbers below these 25th-75th percentile ranges will receive a fat envelope. If your numbers are not quite up to par, craft an excellent application and consider retaking the LSAT. Like most schools in this range, UCLA puts little stock in your lower score so long as you boost it on a retake. I also recommend reading this post on getting into law school with a low GPA.

Advice for Getting Into Law School

Admission to law school is very competitive. Consider UCLA Law School. I offer this hypothetical as an example of what happens at law schools generally. What I’m going to say here about UCLA could be said about every law school in the country.

UCLA is an excellent school, ranked 15th in the nation (out of 187 law schools), and third in California (behind Stanford and UC Berkeley). Each year, UCLA has an entering class of about 500 law students. For those 500 seats in its first-year law class, UCLA receives over 7,000 applications. About 1,400 (20%) of the 7,000 applicants will be admitted, since some people will be accepted at many law schools and will turn down UCLA’s offer of admission.

Now, imagine that I’m a member of the Admissions Committee at UCLA Law School. My job on the Admissions Committee is to accept only those applicants about whom I can make a reasonable prediction of satisfactory performance in law school. But how can I make such a prediction? What information about an applicant will most reliably tell me he or she will succeed in law school?

If I look at personal statements, for example, most of those will try to convince me that a given applicant will be the best law student anyone could ever want. That is, it’s highly unlikely a personal statement will reveal anything about an applicant except the most flattering information. And the same can be said about letters of recommendation.

So, after looking at personal statements and letters of recommendation, I’m still left with the same 7,000 applications with which I began.

How do I weed out all but the most promising 1,400?

Suppose I look at college grade point averages. They indeed might give me some reliable information. How a person has performed academically in the past might accurately predict how he or she will do in the future. So I might adopt a strategy of first admitting all those people with 4.0 GPAs and then work backward from 4.0 until the entering law-school class is filled.

But there’s a problem with this strategy. The 7,000 applicants have attended more than 250 different colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. How do I know that a 4.0 GPA at one college represents the same level of academic achievement as a 4.0 at another college? One college might have very high academic standards, while another might not. So an “A” at one school is not the same as an “A” somewhere else. Also, one student with a 4.0 GPA might have majored in basket weaving, while another 4.0 student from the same college majored in a far more difficult field. So, two 4.0 GPAs of students from the same school may not represent comparable academic achievements. Thus, even using GPA, I can’t be 100% sure about selecting the incoming law-school class.

What else is left? The Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). This is an examination every law-school applicant must take, which is graded uniformly across all applicants. Scores on the LSAT range from a low of 120 to a high of 180. In other words, a person can take the LSAT and get all the questions wrong, but still receives a score of 120. Another person getting all the questions right receives a 180.

In theory, the LSAT is a consistent measure for an admissions officer to compare all 7,000 applicants with each other.

Indeed, look at how much UCLA relies on the LSAT. The information below represents the LSAT scores for those applicants to UCLA recently who had a 3.5 GPA or better. In other words, these are the most promising applicants in terms of their academic performance in college.

        LSAT Score        Percent Admitted
 168-180                  100%
 164-167                    99%
 160-163                    71%
 156-159                    15%
 148-155                    12%
 120-147                      4%

These statistics clearly reveal how important the LSAT is to law-school admissions.

Now consider some national statistics. Of all people who apply to law school nationally, about 55 to 60 percent are accepted at one or more schools. In other words, about 40 percent of all applicants to law school aren’t able to go because they aren’t admitted anywhere.

In comparison, of all applicants to law school from the urban public university where I teach, about 30 to 35 percent are accepted at one or more schools. In other words, almost two out of three applicants to law school from the City University of New York (and other colleges and universities like it) are rejected everywhere they apply.

Why do public college and university students not have as much success getting into law school as students nationally? Remember that the national average includes students attending elite colleges and universities like UCLA and UCLA, where 80 or 90 percent or more of their students are accepted to law school. Thus, the national average is just that – an average.

So what should public college and university students who want to go to law school do? Change schools? Those who can be admitted to a UCLA or a UCLA and can afford the annual cost of $35,000 or more to go there may be well advised to do just that. But most public college and university students don’t have that option. Also, transferring to another public college or university won’t help much because many public schools (as well as private ones) don’t have substantially better success in law-school admission than CUNY.

Keep in mind that a significant number of public college and university graduates do in fact go on to law school. The point is that those students who want to go to law school need to be careful, especially with regard to the LSAT. Earning a high GPA isn’t enough. As the UCLA Law School statistics indicate, even those with a 3.5 GPA or better who don’t do well on the LSAT have only about a four-percent chance of admission.

Consider some additional statistics. The average score nationally on the LSAT is about 152. That is what’s known as the 50th percentile. Differently stated, half of all people taking the LSAT across the nation receive a score of 152 or higher. The average score for CUNY students taking the LSAT is about 142. Now, at just 10 points below 152, 142 doesn’t seem like much of a difference from the national average. But the important comparison is between percentiles. An LSAT score of 142 is about the 20th percentile. In other words, approximately 80 percent of all people taking the test around the country do better than 142.

Thus, the big problem for most public college and university students who want to go to law school is performing well on the LSAT. How can students prepare for it?

The LSAT doesn’t measure knowledge about the law or other legal matters. So taking law-related classes (like business law or constitutional law or criminal law) doesn’t necessarily prepare students better for the LSAT than other courses. Rather, the test is designed to measure people’s ability to think critically and analytically, because that’s what a successful career in law school and in the practice of law requires.

Some years ago, a survey was sent to law-school deans (the “presidents” of law schools). One of the questions on the survey was what majors the deans recommended students have in college in order to prepare effectively for law school. The four majors most frequently recommended by law-school deans were (in alphabetical order) English (sometimes called literature), history, philosophy, and political science (sometimes called government). Thus, my recommendation to those students wanting to go to law school is that they major in one of those fields. Moreover, if English turns out not to be the major selected, then it should be considered seriously as a minor because writing well is absolutely essential to success in the law.

More generally, I advise students to take the most demanding courses with the most demanding professors, because they are the ones who will help develop the analytical thinking skills so necessary for success on the LSAT.

There’s no way to prepare for the substance of the LSAT. But one can prepare for it procedurally by developing familiarity with its format through taking practice exams based on actual questions asked in past LSATs. One ought not to be surprised when taking the LSAT by the kinds of questions asked. The general type of question asked can be familiar to you by taking an LSAT-preparation course or by means of the practice books available at bookstores.

LSAT-prep courses may improve exam performance – although some scholars question whether there’s evidence of a reliable connection between coaching and test results. Nonetheless, the classes are expensive, costing up to $1,000 or more. People who teach the courses think the coaching is particularly helpful to students who are not self-disciplined and need the structure of a class. Yet students who are focused may do just as well with practice books (Cracking the LSAT by the Princeton Review is highly regarded) and the official LSAT tests that include the explanations of answers to questions. Often, taking timed practice exams isn’t enough in itself. Students should also understand how and why they make mistakes on the test. In any event, be aware that effective studying for the LSAT usually takes at least 50 hours.

Equally important is your psychological and emotional preparation for the exam. Take it at a time when other stresses in your life are at a minimum. If you walk into the LSAT with the attitude, “What I do today will affect the rest of my life! Oh, my God!” then you’ll not do as well as when you’re cool and collected.

Some people who take the LSAT and don’t do as well as they would like decide to take it again. If they improve their performance the second time around, they think the first score doesn’t count. That’s not necessarily true. My understanding is that many law schools will average the two scores, and as a result, the earlier, lower score does in fact count to some degree. So I don’t recommend you take the exam with the expectation that the first time will be just a trial run for a later, more serious round.

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