Elon Law surges in U.S. News rankings

Bolstered by the academic strength of incoming students and improvements in bar passage rates, Elon University School of Law in downtown Greensboro reached #133 - its highest-ever placement - in an influential annual guide to the nation’s best graduate programs.

Elon University School of Law jumped to a record-high ranking in the latest edition of a popular guide to America’s best graduate programs.

The university’s downtown Greensboro law school rose to #133 in the 2023-2024 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools publication, a significant milestone that closely follows a #5 national ranking for practical training announced this spring by PreLaw Magazine.

The U.S. News recognition reflects Elon Law’s growth in the academic metrics of incoming students, strong ultimate bar pass rates, and employment outcomes following graduation, among other factors such as institutional reputation and student-faculty ratios. Until now, Elon Law had never risen above #150 among the nation’s nearly 200 accredited law schools.

Elon Law offers students a broad array of opportunities to hone practical training skills throughout their 2.5 years of study. Those include:

  • Full-time residencies-in-practice
  • Team-based legal projects for nonprofits
  • Lab courses and a rigorous Legal Method and Communication Program
  • Five clinics (immigration, small business and entrepreneurship, wills drafting, guardian ad litem appellate advocacy, and constitutional law appellate advocacy)
  • Moot court and mock trial teams
  • Internships, externships, and judicial clerkships
  • Involvement with the Pro Bono Board

In addition to its overall U.S. News ranking, Elon Law was listed among the top 25% of legal writing programs, continuing a streak for the Legal Method & Communication program that provides students with foundational research and analysis skills throughout their first year of study.

“We are the only American law school to feature a 2.5-year program of study that deepens practical knowledge of the legal profession through full-time residency placements with attorneys and judges,” said Elon Law Interim Dean Alan Woodlief. “The impact of our approach is evident in the data factored into the U.S. News rankings.

“And as word of our innovative curriculum spreads, and more legal leaders approach us about hosting residents and hiring graduates, we’re seeing the ripple effect of our growing national reputation.”

Applications have increased more than 50 percent since Elon Law introduced its seven-trimester, 2.5-year program in 2014, with significant increases in the median LSAT and GPA numbers for entering classes. At the same time, Elon Law has pursued a commitment to inclusive excellence in legal education and the legal profession. Students of color today comprise more than 25 percent of each entering class.

And because of strategic investments in scholarships, coupled with less money required for cost of living in a shorter program, average student debt at graduation has been cut by nearly a third.

“Prospective students often have choices for where they attend law school, and we’re honored that many aspiring attorneys recognize the value we provide,” Woodlief said. “With the unique challenges and opportunities confronting society today, our students know there’s no time to lose for making a difference in the lives of future clients and communities.”