If you want to study a law degree to become a lawyer, you are probably looking into which university or law school to apply to.

A decision to become a lawyer is the first step. The next, is to get into a university or law school that can best teach it to you.

Best Law Schools & Universities for Law in Australia

‘QS World University Rankings’ have ranked the first 18 top law school Universities in Australia for 2020 as follows:

  1. The University of Melbourne
  2. The University of Sydney
  3. The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney)
  4. The Australian National University
  5. Monash University
  6. The University of Queensland
  7. The University of Western Australia
  8. University of Technology Sydney
  9. Griffith University
  10. Macquarie University
  11. Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
  12. The University of Adelaide
  13. University of Wollongong
  14. Curtin University
  15. Deakin University
  16. La Trobe University
  17. The University of Newcastle Australia (UON)
  18. University of Tasmania

Best Ranking Law School Universities in the World

According to QS, the top 25 ranking Universities to study law are as follows:

  1. Harvard University, United States
  2. University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  3. University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  4. Yale University, United States
  5. Stanford University, United States
  6. The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), United Kingdom
  7. University of California, Berkeley (UCB), United States
  8. Colombia University, United States
  9. New York University (NYU), United States
  10. The University of Melbourne, Australia
  11. University of Chicago, United States
  12. National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore
  13. The University of Sydney, Australia
  14. The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney), Australia
  15. King’s College London, United Kingdom
  16. UCL, United Kingdom
  17. The Australian National University, Australia
  18. Georgetown University, United States
  19. The University of Hong Kong, Hong Long SAR
  20. The University of Tokyo, Japan
  21. University of Toronto, Canada
  22. The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  23. Peking University, China (Mainland)
  24. Leiden University, Netherlands
  25. Universite Paris 1 Patheon- Sorbonne, France

Australia’s top 10 Universities overall

Overall, here are Australia’s top Universities:

  1. Australian National University (ranked 31 in the world)
  2. University of Sydney (ranked 40 in the world)
  3. University of Melbourne (ranked 41 in the world)
  4. University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) (ranked 44 in the world)
  5. University of Queensland (ranked 46 in the world)
  6. Monash University (ranked 55 in the world)
  7. University of Western Australia (UWA) (ranked 92 in the world)
  8. University of Adelaide (ranked 106 in the world)
  9. University of Technology Sydney (UTS) (ranked 133 in the world)
  10. University of Wollongong (ranked 196 in the world)

World’s Top 10 Universities Overall

The following are the world’s top 10 universities in 2021:

  1. Massachusetts Institutes of Technology (MIT), United States
  2. Stanford University, United States
  3. Harvard University, United States
  4. California Institute of Technology (Caltech), United States
  5. University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  6. ETH Zurich- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland
  7. University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  8. Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  9. University of Chicago, United States
  10. UCL, United Kingdom


What is the QS World University Rankings?

 ‘QS TopUniversities’ is a well-known and recognised university ranking authority, which uses a methodology based on assessing each university on employer reputation, research impact, academic reputation and other characteristics.

It reveals the first 1000 universities in the world, across 80 locations.

Specifically, its methodological framework involves consideration of 6 metrics believed to capture performance. The six metrics are academic reputation, faculty/student ratio, employer reputation, international student ratio/international faculty ratio, and citations per faculty.

What do these all mean? Academic reputation accounts for 40% of the total score. It’s based on an academic survey collating over 100,000 peoples expert views in the higher education spectrum in respect of teaching and research quality. It’s now the world biggest academic opinion survey.

Employer reputation accounts for 10% of the final score. It’s based on how successful universities are at preparing students for employment. It involves nearly 50,000 responses to an employer survey, participated by employers. Those employers are asked to outline which universities produce the most innovative, competent and effective graduates. This survey is considered the largest in the world.

Faculty/student ratio accounts for 20% of the final score. It’s based on measuring student/teacher ratios to determine the quality of teaching. The higher the number of teachers per faculty of students reduces the teaching burden.

Citations per faculty accounts for 20% of the final score. This is essentially research outcome, measuring the quality of research conducted by the university. This involves a consideration of the total extent of citations received by all of the papers produced by a university across a 5 year time frame by the extent of faculty members at the university.

International student ratio and international faculty ratio each accounts for 5% of the final score. A university that consists of a high number of international faculty and students reflects positively on the universities brand internationally.


How Important is the Law School You’ve Studied at to Employers?

 While employers consider the law school a law graduate went to, it is not the sole nor determinative factors amongst employers.

Graduating from a top university or law school can help put your ‘foot in the door’ towards getting an interview or opportunity, but employers will also consider work ethic, passion, personality, attitude, social and communication skills, which are not all taught across universities.

Significantly, law firm employers will also consider what if any legal experience a law graduate has.

Legal experience can significantly improve the chances of a law graduate in landing a full-time graduate position in a law firm. In fact most employers will prefer this over and above a candidate who graduates from a top university with no legal experience.

Hard work always pays off, and is a long term strategy.


Factors to Consider When Picking the Right Law School University for You

When deciding which law school to study at, you should not only consider the top ranking universities or law schools in Australia. Almost equally important can be how conveniently close it is to where you live, flexibility of class times and dates, availability of online courses, availability of summer schools to help complete earlier, types of subjects offered, length of the course, type of double degrees offered and accessibility.

Studying law is the journey to becoming a lawyer, while the ultimate goal is usually to get a job as a lawyer, or a job that benefits in your knowledge of a law degree.

While the common and traditional way to getting a law degree or becoming a lawyer is by studying law at University. An alternative pathway to a law career is through the ‘Legal Practitioners Admission Board’ (LPAB). The LPAB is a less difficult pathway to law, albeit it also leads to the same end goal of becoming admitted as a lawyer.

Have a question? Contact our Sydney criminal lawyers today!

AUTHOR Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.

View all posts by Jimmy Singh