10 Top Affordable Recognized Law Schools in the U.S.

When evaluating law schools, reputation, location, and the percent of graduates passing the bar exam are very important factors. However, due to high tuition fees and a harsh economy, nowadays affordability is also a vital consideration.

If that is your case, then you probably ought to consider in-state schools. Typically, their tuition is lower in price. Nevertheless, some of the law schools in our list have relatively low out-of-state tuition fees.

In putting together the list, we searched for law schools providing some of the nation’s lowest tuition fees, which are also included in U.S. News and World Report‘s special lists of law schools, or else ranked among the top 20 best-value law schools by National Jurist, or included in other special lists by notable sources.

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Here’s our list of 10 of the most affordable recognized law schools in the United States, in alphabetical order:


CUNY School of Law

(Flushing, NY)

Full-time in-state tuition fees: $11,952

Full-time out-of-state tuition fees: $18,732

City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law is the only publicly funded law school located in the New York City metropolitan area.

CUNY School of Law places an emphasis on public service and public-interest law. More of its graduates enter public-interest law than those of any other school in the country. The law school’s academic model and dedication to public service have received praise from the Carnegie Foundation and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

According to CUNY School of Law, it consistently ranks among the top 10 law schools in the nation in clinical training. CUNY School of Law is ranked the #1 public-interest law school in the nation (PreLaw Magazine, January 2011). It is also ranked the #121 best law school overall (U.S. News and World Report, 2011).

In 2010, 84.9 percent of the graduates passed the New York bar exam.


North Carolina Central University School of Law

(Durham, NC)

Full-time in-state tuition fees: $9,961

Full-time out-of-state tuition fees: $23,222

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) is a historically black institution. The law school has a commitment to public service and produces a significant number of lawyers providing legal services to underserved people and communities.

NCCU School of Law has one of the most diverse student populations in the nation, and is ranked among the top four law schools for clinical opportunities (National Jurist, 2011). In 2010, NCCU School of Law was the #9 most popular law school (U.S. News and World Report).

In 2009, 81.9 percent of graduates passed the North Carolina bar exam—higher than the state average of 74 percent.


Southern University Law Center

(Baton Rouge, LA)

Full-time in-state tuition fees: $9,238

Full-time ou t-of-state tuition fees $14,838

Southern University Law Center is one of the nation’s most diverse law schools. The school’s mission is providing opportunity and access to a high-quality legal education to a diverse group of students from underrepresented ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups.

Southern University Law Center was ranked #1 for the most financial value upon graduation out of 190 law schools surveyed (U.S. News and World Report, 2011). It also ranked among the top 10 for most popular law schools (ibid.).

In 2009, 58.3 percent of graduates passed the Louisiana bar exam, 11 points lower than the state average.


University of Alabama School of Law

(Tuscaloosa, AL)

Full-time in-state tuition fees: $15,760

Full-time out-of-state tuition fees: $28,070

The University of Alabama School of Law is the state’s only public law school. The law school has a diverse student body. It’s one of the nation’s few law schools that guarantees students an opportunity to participate in at least one of seven law clinics.

University of Alabama School of Law ranked the #35 best law school in the nation (U.S. News and World Report, 2011), and among the top 20 best-value law schools (National Jurist, 2010).

In 2010, graduates had a national and Alabama bar-exam passing rate of 95 percent.


University of Kansas School of Law

(Lawrence, KS)

Full-time in-state tuition fees: $15,561

Full-time out-of-state tuition fees: $27,038

University of Kansas School of Law is ranked the #79 best law school in the U.S. (U.S. New and World Report, 2011). It has also been ranked among the top 20 best-value law schools (National Jurist, 2010).

In 2011, 90.1 percent of graduates passed the Kansas bar exam.


University of Louisville, Brandeis School of Law

(Louisville, KY)

Full-time in-state tuition fees: $15,760

Full-time out-of-state tuition fees: $30,300

The University of Louisville’s Louis D. Brandeis School of Law is the fifth oldest continually operated law school in the nation. It has a strong focus on practical legal education.

The Brandeis School of Law is ranked the #100 best law school in the country (U.S. News and World Report, 2011), and has recently been ranked among the top 20 best-value law schools (National Jurist, 2010).

Recently, 89 percent of the graduates passed the Kentucky bar exam.


University of Mississippi School of Law

Full-time in-state tuition fees: $10,275

Full-time out-of-state tuition fees: $22,470

University of Mississippi School of Law is the fourth-oldest state-supported law school in the nation. It’s the only ABA-accredited law school in the nation providing a dedicated aerospace law curriculum.

Ole Miss’s law school is ranked the #107 best law school in the nation (U.S. News and World Report, 2011), and is also among the top 20 best-value law schools (National Jurist, 2010).

In 2011, 85.2 percent of graduates passed the Mississippi bar exam.


University of Montana School of Law

(Missoula, MT)

Full-time in-state tuition fees: $11,062

Full-time out-of-state tuition fees: $26,186

University of Montana School of Law is the only law school in the state of Montana. It provides a popular Environmental and Natural Resources Law program. Students also have an opportunity to participate in the Public Land and Resources Law Review.

The law school is ranked the #132 best law school in the country (U.S. New and World Report, 2011).

In 2010, 94 percent of graduates passed the Montana bar exam.


University of North Dakota School of Law

(Grand Forks, ND)

Full-time in-state tuition fees: $10,163

Full-time out-of-state tuition fees: $22,323

The University of North Dakota School of Law is the only ABA-accredited law school in North Dakota. The law school has one of the smallest student bodies among ABA-accredited law schools.

In 2010, the University of North Dakota School of Law ranked among the top 20 best-value law schools (National Jurist).

In 2008, 91.5 percent of graduates passed the North Dakota bar exam.


University of the District of Columbia, Clarke School of Law

Full-time in-state tuition fees: $8,850

Full-time out-of-state tuition fees: $17,700

The University of the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke School of Law is proud of producing many lawyers dedicated to helping the needy. Its mission is recruiting and enrolling students from groups underrepresented  at the bar. Fifty-one percent of the student body are minority students and 60 percent are women.

The Clarke School of Law is among the top 10 law-school clinical programs in the country (U.S. News and World Report, 2010). It’s also ranked the 10th best environment for minority students (Princeton Review, 2010).

In 2009, 88 percent of graduates passed the District of Columbia bar exam.

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When researching law schools, find out what types of financial aid a school offers, and look into the cost of renting in the area. Often the rent for an apartment in rural areas is substantially lower than that in medium-to-large cities.