- Yale Law School Overview
- About Yale Law School
- What does Yale Law School Offer
- Class of 2025 Acceptance Rate and Statistics
- Yale School of Law Application Requirements
- Yale Law School FAQs
Yale Law School Overview
Yale Law School was ranked the top law school in the United States for 2023 by U.S. News & World Report. The school’s alumni include two US presidents, 11 Supreme Court justices, an array of legislators, and many legal scholars and big law partners—and it currently ties Harvard Law School for having the most alumni serving on the US Supreme Court. Yale Law’s strong ranking, notable alumni, distinguished professors, and educational resources make the school a top choice among aspiring JDs. Yale Law’s location in New Haven, Connecticut, is also appealing to applicants, as the school is close to New York City.
The school received 4,129 applications for the Class of 2025 and accepted 236 students. Given the school’s competitive application process, having strong test scores and grades is essential to gaining acceptance to Yale Law. In addition, knowing some key facts about the school can help enrich your application and set you apart from other applicants.
In this blog post, we at Stratus share what you need to know to increase your chances of getting into Yale Law.
About Yale Law School
History and ranking
Founded in 1824, Yale Law is one of Yale University’s 16 schools and is located near the main university campus in New Haven, Connecticut. As noted earlier, U.S. News & World Report ranked Yale Law number one in the publication’s 2023 Best Law Schools list.
Yale Law School Overview
Yale Law’s acceptance rate for the Class of 2025 was 5.72%. There are currently 676 students enrolled in the JD program, which equates to about 200 students per class. The school’s smaller class size compared to other law schools provides students with more opportunities to get to know each other. First-year students take four classes in “small groups” consisting of 15 to 17 students. For three of those classes, multiple small groups will be combined to form a “section.”
About 98% of Yale Law’s Class of 2021 passed the bar, and roughly 75% of its recent graduates obtained jobs that require JDs. Forty-eight of the school’s recent graduates are currently clerking, and Yale Law has sent close to 400 clerks to the Supreme Court.
Yale Law’s approximately 150 faculty members include such prominent professors as Judge Guido Calabresi of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Linda Greenhouse.
Two US presidents—Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford—attended Yale Law, as did 11 Supreme Court justices, including Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas. The school’s alumni also include dozens of members of Congress and federal judges in addition to activists, media figures, and scholars such as Van Jones, Lisa Bloom, and Catherine MacKinnon.
What Does Yale Law School Offer?
First-year Yale Law students are required to take courses in criminal law, contract law, civil procedure, and constitutional law as well as a legal writing and research course. As is typical at other law schools, students must also complete a legal professions course before they graduate.
Yale Law offers many different types of classes. Some consist of a large number of students and are lecture based, while others might have a dozen students and center on discussions. Courses cover standard subjects such as environmental law, corporate law, and employment law, as well as more specialized areas including internal investigations. Many courses just have one exam at the end of the semester that determines the student’s entire grade, while other courses’ grades are based on one or more papers.
Writing and experiential requirements
Students must satisfy Yale Law’s writing credit requirement by submitting one substantial paper or a few shorter papers, in addition to completing experiential credits.
Yale Law has 30 clinics, and students can meet the school’s experiential requirement by participating in one of them. These clinics span an array of topics such as housing and criminal law, as well as more niche areas including global health. Through Yale Law’s clinics, students work with organizations both in the New Haven community and throughout the world.
The more than 50 clubs at Yale Law cover a wide array of legal issues and social causes. Notable clubs on campus include the Yale Food Law Society and Yale Students Against Wrongful Convictions. The clubs organize lectures, discussions, and social mixers for students to attend, providing them with opportunities to further explore their legal interests and connect with their classmates.
Yale Law publishes eight journals, including the Yale Law Journal, that specialize in areas ranging from international law to regulation. Participating in the school’s journals gives students opportunities to publish their own work, edit academic papers, and attend symposiums and conferences.
Yale Law has 14 centers, including the Center for Global Legal Challenges and the Information Society Project, that organize events, publish papers, and advocate for positions on related issues. Students can participate in these centers by assisting with events, conducting research, and completing externships.
Class of 2025 Acceptance Rate and Statistics
Yale Law received 4,202 applications for its Class of 2025 and made 236 offers of acceptance, with 192 students ultimately enrolling.
Of the Class of 2025,
- 52% are women.
- 55% are persons of color.
- The average age is 25.
- 31% will be first-generation lawyers.
- 16% are first-generation college students.
- 15% came directly from college.
- 38% have one to two years of work experience.
- 27% have three to four years of work experience.
- 20% have more than five years of work experience.
Students in the Class of 2025 attended 89 different undergraduate institutions, and 62 have graduate degrees.
The Class of 2025 also includes
- 14 veterans and service members
- Eight Rhodes Scholars
- One Fulbright research fellow
- One Schwarzman Scholar
- Four Truman Scholars
- Three AmeriCorps members.
Students in the Class of 2025 represent 32 states and 10 different countries and speak 30 languages.
In terms of statistics,
- The lowest accepted LSAT score was 154, and the highest was 180.
- For the LSAT, the 25th percentile was 171, the median was 175, and the 75th percentile was 178.
- The lowest accepted GPA was 3.17, and the highest was 4.21.
- For GPA, the 25th percentile was 3.87, the median was 3.94, and the 75th percentile was 3.99.
Class of 2021 Post-Graduation Statistics
According to Yale Law’s employment report, of the 218 graduates in the Class of 2021,
- 164 were working in jobs that require a JD.*
- 11 accepted jobs where having a JD is helpful.
- One was working in a professional position.
- 32 were in positions funded by the university.
- Seven were pursuing graduate degrees.
- One had deferred their start date.
- One was not looking for a job.
- One had not provided their employment information.
*This may seem low, but many graduates accepted teaching and policy positions.
Graduates took jobs in the following industries/roles:
- Law firms: 92
- Business: 6
- Government: 20
- Public interest: 40
- Judicial clerkships: 48
- Education: 2
Yale School of Law Application Requirements
- Online application and application fee
- LSAT or GRE
- Bachelor’s degree from an approved university
- Undergraduate transcript
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal statement
- 250-word essay
- Statement of activities
- Optional diversity statement and addenda
Yale Law’s application typically opens on September 1, and the school usually accepts applications between October 1 and mid-February. Yale Law follows a rolling admissions process and does not offer an early decision application.
Yale Law requires a minimum of two recommendation letters and strongly prefers to receive letters from two professors. If you have been working for a while and cannot find academic recommenders, you can obtain recommendations from employers.
Yale Law does not specify a required length for the personal statement but notes on its website that the statement “should help us learn about the personal, professional, and/or academic qualities an applicant would bring to the Law School community.”
Applicants must also submit a 250-word essay discussing a topic of interest related to their academic, extracurricular, or professional experience. The topic does not need to be law related. This essay helps the admissions committee learn how you would interact with the Yale legal community.
Optional diversity statement and addenda
Yale Law applicants have the option to submit a statement discussing how they would add to the diversity of the Yale Law community. Applicants also have the option to submit addenda to explain such aspects as their test scores or transcripts.
Statement of activities
Yale Law asks applicants to share details about their activities during undergraduate studies and the summers between undergrad years, in addition to any other relevant activities. If you are more than three months out of school, you must also list your employment details since graduation.
Yale Law School FAQs
What if I attended a low-ranked undergraduate institution?
As long as your college is accredited, its undergraduate ranking does not matter. What matters more is your undergraduate GPA and having competitive test scores.
If I take time off between college and law school to work, do I need to do legal work?
No, but you should be doing some kind of work during this time, and it should be something you would feel comfortable discussing during a law school interview. It could be volunteer work, an internship, or a white-collar job, for example.
Is Yale Law looking for applicants with a particular undergraduate major?
No. The school accepts students from a variety of academic backgrounds.
I have a low GPA but a difficult major. Will Yale Law overlook that?
Generally, no. Law schools primarily look at your overall GPA. They will allow some flexibility for applicants who took particularly difficult majors, such as a STEM major, but this will not excuse a low GPA.
Does it matter when I apply?
According to Yale Law’s website, when you apply will not make any difference. Generally, it can still be a good idea to apply earlier because there might be less competition earlier in the cycle. However, you should never rush your application. It could be worth taking an extra month or two to perfect your application or improve your LSAT/GRE scores, but you should avoid lengthy delays in submitting your application.
Do I need to take time off between college and law school to work in order to gain a competitive edge?
Although work experience will provide a boost to your application, 15% of students from the Class of 2022 gained admission to Yale Law without any work experience, so it is far from mandatory. It is impossible to precisely quantify how much of a difference work experience makes, so do not feel it is absolutely crucial to pursue work experience before applying to law school.
Are you considering applying to Yale Law School? Whether you are looking for comprehensive law admissions consulting, hourly help, or perhaps interview prep, we at Stratus Admissions Counseling can help you! Sign up for a free consultation today!