Connecticut is home to Yale University, one of the most celebrated law schools in the nation. However, your options for pursuing a legal education don't start and end with "Old Eli." Connecticut has several highly regarded law schools, and selecting the right one for you should involve research and careful consideration.
Choosing the right law school requires you to weigh several important factors. Where do you want to live while you pursue your J.D.? What legal work do you think you'd like to pursue after graduation? How much are you willing and able to pay for your law degree?
This article lays out the pros and cons of each law school to help you make an informed decision about pursuing your J.D. in Connecticut.
Quinnipiac University School of Law
Connecticut's smallest law school, Quinnipiac University School of Law prides itself on educating the "whole lawyer" by providing practical experience in addition to the heady book learning you'd expect from law school.
The school offers clinics to help students get real-world experience in more than a dozen practice areas, including:
- Transgender rights
- Human trafficking prevention
- Medical-legal partnership
- Prisoner's rights
- Veterans advocacy
- Criminal prosecution
With its scenic New Haven campus situated right in between Boston and New York, law students at Quinnipiac have access to many internships and employment opportunities nearby. Quinnipiac Law's bar passage rate is slightly higher than the state average at 77%, and 85% of the Class of 2021 were employed within ten months of graduation.
Tuition at Quinnipiac is about $53,000 per year, but the school does offer merit-based scholarships to incoming 1Ls based on their undergraduate performance.
University of Connecticut School of Law
The only public law school in Connecticut, UConn School of Law is in the nation's top twenty part-time law programs. Its location in Hartford, the state's capital, puts law students in close contact with courts and government agencies.
The University of Connecticut publishes several well-respected law journals, including the Connecticut Journal of International Law and the Insurance Law Journal. Students can also get hands-on experience assisting legal staff at the Center for Children's Advocacy or the Connecticut Urban Legal Initiative.
For residents of Connecticut, UConn is likely the best-value law school at $30,000 per year. However, out-of-state applicants can expect to pay about double that amount for tuition.
Yale School of Law
If you're considering law school, you've probably already heard of this one. Ranked the #1 law school in the nation for decades, Yale casts a large shadow in the Connecticut law school scene. Interestingly, Yale and Harvard recently decided they will no longer participate in the U.S. News & World Report Law School Rankings.
Yale law students benefit from the school's sterling reputation. Graduates can easily transition into government, criminal justice, public interest, and business jobs.
In addition to its Ivy League reputation, Yale sets itself apart from most law schools by having no "curve" and no class rank. Classes are ungraded during the first term; after that, students are graded on an honors/pass/low basis.
As you might expect, Yale does come with a hefty price tag of around $70,000 per year. However, in recent years the school has begun offering full-tuition scholarships to J.D. applicants from lower-income backgrounds.
Taking Your Next Steps
Whatever direction you intend to take once you become an attorney, carefully considering your options will help ensure that you choose the law school that meets your needs. And there will be many points in your legal education when questions arise. FindLaw for Law Students provides informative articles to help you sort out your career options, pay for law school, study for the bar exam, and more.