Best Value Colleges For Legal Careers

Do you want the truth? Can you handle the truth? If so, a career in the law may be the right choice for you. If you want to be a lawyer, you can expect to use abstract legal theories and knowledge to argue specific cases, or to advance the interests of your clients. But there are other career opportunities that fall under “Legal Occupations”, including paralegals, judges and more.

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Rank 
School Name 
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
 
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
Total 4 Year Cost
 
Full cost, including tuition & fees, room & board, and books & supplies. Actual net cost may vary based on a student’s academic success and family income. Source: IPEDS
Total 4 Year Cost
 
Full cost, including tuition & fees, room & board, and books & supplies. Actual net cost may vary based on a student’s academic success and family income. Source: IPEDS
Graduation Rate
 
% of full-time, first-time degree seeking undergrad students who began their studies at the given school and graduate within 6 years. Source: IPEDS
Typical Years to Graduate
 
# of years it takes for at least 65 percent of graduates from a given school to receive their diplomas. Source: IPEDS
Average Loan Amount
 
Received by full-time, first-time degree seeking undergrad students, multiplied to represent amount over four years. Includes all Title IV loans and all institutionally- and privately-sponsored student loans. Source: IPEDS
% Grant Money Received
 
% of full-time, first-time undergrads who received local, state, federal, or institutional grant aid in the 2012-2013 academic year. Source: IPEDS
17.3%N/A15.3%N/A$784,000N/A$977,000N/A$254,000N/A97%4$27,40016%
1Harvard University(Private)
Annual ROI7.3%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI15.3%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$784,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$977,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$254,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate97%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$27,400
Grant Money Received16%
26.6%N/A9.1%N/A$583,000N/A$665,000N/A$222,000N/A75%4$29,40018%
2Seattle University(Private)
Annual ROI6.6%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI9.1%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$583,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$665,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$222,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate75%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$29,400
Grant Money Received18%
39.2%9.2%14.5%14.5%$528,000$528,000$595,000$595,000$110,000$110,00091%4$27,80015%
3University of Michigan-Ann Arbor(In-State)
Annual ROI9.2%
Annual ROI9.2%
Annual ROI14.5%
Annual ROI14.5%
20 Year Net ROI$528,000
20 Year Net ROI$528,000
20 Year Net ROI$595,000
20 Year Net ROI$595,000
Total 4 Year Cost$110,000
Total 4 Year Cost$110,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$27,800
Grant Money Received15%
48.5%8.6%10.8%10.9%$423,000$424,000$458,000$459,000$102,000$101,00062%5$22,60039%
4San Jose State University(In-State)
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI8.6%
Annual ROI10.8%
Annual ROI10.9%
20 Year Net ROI$423,000
20 Year Net ROI$424,000
20 Year Net ROI$458,000
20 Year Net ROI$459,000
Total 4 Year Cost$102,000
Total 4 Year Cost$101,000
Grad Rate62%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$22,600
Grant Money Received39%
55.3%5.3%7.2%7.2%$411,000$411,000$479,000$479,000$226,000$226,00091%4$27,80015%
5University of Michigan-Ann Arbor(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI5.3%
Annual ROI5.3%
Annual ROI7.2%
Annual ROI7.2%
20 Year Net ROI$411,000
20 Year Net ROI$411,000
20 Year Net ROI$479,000
20 Year Net ROI$479,000
Total 4 Year Cost$226,000
Total 4 Year Cost$226,000
Grad Rate91%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$27,800
Grant Money Received15%
68.2%8.2%11.4%11.4%$399,000$399,000$444,000$444,000$103,000$103,00078%4$27,20023%
6Michigan State University(In-State)
Annual ROI8.2%
Annual ROI8.2%
Annual ROI11.4%
Annual ROI11.4%
20 Year Net ROI$399,000
20 Year Net ROI$399,000
20 Year Net ROI$444,000
20 Year Net ROI$444,000
Total 4 Year Cost$103,000
Total 4 Year Cost$103,000
Grad Rate78%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$27,200
Grant Money Received23%
78.1%7.7%11.8%11.0%$398,000$390,000$451,000$443,000$107,000$115,00084%4$24,30019%
7University of Washington-Seattle Campus(In-State)
Annual ROI8.1%
Annual ROI7.7%
Annual ROI11.8%
Annual ROI11.0%
20 Year Net ROI$398,000
20 Year Net ROI$390,000
20 Year Net ROI$451,000
20 Year Net ROI$443,000
Total 4 Year Cost$107,000
Total 4 Year Cost$115,000
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$24,300
Grant Money Received19%
86.6%6.6%8.0%8.1%$379,000$379,000$413,000$414,000$147,000$146,00062%5$22,60039%
8San Jose State University(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI6.6%
Annual ROI6.6%
Annual ROI8.0%
Annual ROI8.1%
20 Year Net ROI$379,000
20 Year Net ROI$379,000
20 Year Net ROI$413,000
20 Year Net ROI$414,000
Total 4 Year Cost$147,000
Total 4 Year Cost$146,000
Grad Rate62%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$22,600
Grant Money Received39%
97.6%7.6%10.3%10.3%$326,000$326,000$363,000$363,000$97,100$97,10080%5$26,60024%
9Texas A & M University-College Station(In-State)
Annual ROI7.6%
Annual ROI7.6%
Annual ROI10.3%
Annual ROI10.3%
20 Year Net ROI$326,000
20 Year Net ROI$326,000
20 Year Net ROI$363,000
20 Year Net ROI$363,000
Total 4 Year Cost$97,100
Total 4 Year Cost$97,100
Grad Rate80%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$26,600
Grant Money Received24%
106.5%6.7%10.9%11.4%$317,000$322,000$387,000$392,000$125,000$120,00087%4$22,80026%
10University of California-San Diego(In-State)
Annual ROI6.5%
Annual ROI6.7%
Annual ROI10.9%
Annual ROI11.4%
20 Year Net ROI$317,000
20 Year Net ROI$322,000
20 Year Net ROI$387,000
20 Year Net ROI$392,000
Total 4 Year Cost$125,000
Total 4 Year Cost$120,000
Grad Rate87%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$22,800
Grant Money Received26%
116.1%6.9%10.2%12.4%$313,000$335,000$388,000$409,000$139,000$118,00092%4$23,90023%
11University of California-Berkeley(In-State)
Annual ROI6.1%
Annual ROI6.9%
Annual ROI10.2%
Annual ROI12.4%
20 Year Net ROI$313,000
20 Year Net ROI$335,000
20 Year Net ROI$388,000
20 Year Net ROI$409,000
Total 4 Year Cost$139,000
Total 4 Year Cost$118,000
Grad Rate92%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$23,900
Grant Money Received23%
124.9%4.7%6.6%6.3%$311,000$303,000$364,000$356,000$194,000$202,00084%4$24,30019%
12University of Washington-Seattle Campus(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI4.9%
Annual ROI4.7%
Annual ROI6.6%
Annual ROI6.3%
20 Year Net ROI$311,000
20 Year Net ROI$303,000
20 Year Net ROI$364,000
20 Year Net ROI$356,000
Total 4 Year Cost$194,000
Total 4 Year Cost$202,000
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$24,300
Grant Money Received19%
134.9%4.9%6.3%6.3%$309,000$309,000$355,000$355,000$193,000$193,00078%4$27,20023%
13Michigan State University(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI4.9%
Annual ROI4.9%
Annual ROI6.3%
Annual ROI6.3%
20 Year Net ROI$309,000
20 Year Net ROI$309,000
20 Year Net ROI$355,000
20 Year Net ROI$355,000
Total 4 Year Cost$193,000
Total 4 Year Cost$193,000
Grad Rate78%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$27,200
Grant Money Received23%
147.0%6.6%9.0%8.4%$303,000$295,000$336,000$328,000$106,000$115,00070%4$33,40028%
14George Mason University(In-State)
Annual ROI7.0%
Annual ROI6.6%
Annual ROI9.0%
Annual ROI8.4%
20 Year Net ROI$303,000
20 Year Net ROI$295,000
20 Year Net ROI$336,000
20 Year Net ROI$328,000
Total 4 Year Cost$106,000
Total 4 Year Cost$115,000
Grad Rate70%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$33,400
Grant Money Received28%
157.3%7.3%8.9%8.9%$302,000$301,000$327,000$327,000$98,200$98,30085%4$30,30012%
15University of Wisconsin-Madison(In-State)
Annual ROI7.3%
Annual ROI7.3%
Annual ROI8.9%
Annual ROI8.9%
20 Year Net ROI$302,000
20 Year Net ROI$301,000
20 Year Net ROI$327,000
20 Year Net ROI$327,000
Total 4 Year Cost$98,200
Total 4 Year Cost$98,300
Grad Rate85%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$30,300
Grant Money Received12%

* N/A indicates school does not have an on campus living option.

In the United States, law is primarily taught at specialized law schools, all of which must be approved by the American Bar Association. For most law schools, a bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for admission. Different schools often specialize in different types of law, of which there are almost a countless number.

People working in legal occupations often make a good salary, but if you’re considering a career in the law, use PayScale’s College ROI report to make sure you don’t start your career at a disadvantage.


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What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.