For many prospective law school students who face the pressures of balancing work or family life with academics, part-time J.D. programs offer students the flexibility to earn the degree usually over a four-year period, instead of the typical three years at traditional law school programs.
While fewer than half of the country's law schools offer part-time programs, it has become a popular route for people who are balancing multiple responsibilities. In fact, according to data from the American Bar Association, roughly 15 percent of U.S. law students were enrolled in a part-time program during fall 2010.
[Check out the U.S. News specialty ranking of part-time law programs.]
In an annual survey of 199 law schools by U.S. News, 93 programs provided part-time applicant data. Each school, on average, received 401 applications—roughly one fifth of the number of applications the most-applied-to law program received in 2011. Loyola Law School Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University received 2,138 part-time applications that year, which was down from 2,566 applications the year before, but still topped this year's list by more than 300.
Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., which received the most full-time applications in 2011, placed second on the part-time list, receiving 1,781 applications. Three D.C.-based schools were among the 10 part-time law programs that received the most applicant attention, including George Washington University Law School (806 applicants) and American University Washington College of Law (780 applicants). George Mason University School of Law, located near D.C. in Fairfax, Va., received 1,262 part-time applications in 2011, placing third on the list.
Schools designated by U.S. News as Unranked were not eligible for this list. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.
The following table highlights the 10 law schools that received the most applications for part-time programs in 2011, according to data self-reported by schools to U.S. News:
|Law school (name) (state)||Part-time applications (2011)||U.S. News part-time law specialty rank||U.S. News law school rank|
|Loyola Marymount University (CA)||2,138||18||51|
|Georgetown University (DC)||1,781||1||13|
|George Mason University (VA)||1,262||8||39|
|Fordham University (NY)||1,120||5||29|
|New York Law School||943||44||135|
|University of Connecticut||854||13||62|
|Brooklyn Law School||844||3||65|
|Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey—Camden||831||9||99|
|George Washington University (DC)||806||2||20|
|American University (Washington) (DC)||780||6||49|
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Law School Compass to find application data for every school, salary information, and much more.
U.S. News surveyed 199 fully ABA accredited law schools for our 2011 survey of law programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Law Schools rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News now produces lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools.