Anyone considering a career as an attorney or in other branches of the law will need to attend a law school to gain the credentials and knowledge necessary to pass the bar exam. Students who live in Tennessee only have six options if their goal is to remain in the state. The six best law schools in Tennessee are also the six worst because they are the only ones. We ranked each school in order of best to the worst, with the worst law school in the number one position.
6. Vanderbilt University School of Law
Vanderbilt University School of Law is ranked as one of the best schools in the state. The process for ranking the schools from best to worst was accomplished by placing the best in the sixth position. Vanderbilt University Law School is one of the oldest to offer law degrees. The history goes back to the year 1874. The law school started with just eight professors and seven students in its first class. Through the years, more students got accepted into the halls of learning with an early cap of just seventy. The current enrollment allows up to 640 students to attend Vanderbilt University Law School. It has an outstanding bar passage rate of 95.7 percent. Vanderbilt has consistently maintained bar exam pass rates in the ninety-something percent range. Students who attend the Vanderbilt law school take their education seriously. The school has a solid reputation as one of the best in the nation, but a few drawbacks come with it.
It’s hard to get accepted to Vanderbilt’s law school. The competition for admission is high. Only a mere 23.7 percent of applicants get into the program. Judging by percentages, it’s the hardest school in Tennessee to get into. They’re looking for the cream of the crop. The standards are stringent. This school offers Juris Doctor and Master of Laws degrees. As such, it is a graduate school. Most of the students at this level are already employed in some capacity. Although the programs are diverse, including land use, intellectual property, criminal law, energy, environmental law, social justice, law and business, international law, and litigation and dispute specializations, the cost of attendance is high. Vanderbilt Law School is the most expensive university to attend with an annual tuition and fees cost of over $57,000. Vanderbilt is the worst law school for budget-conscious students or those who did not perform well in high school. Most applicants do not meet the strict criteria for entrance. It’s the best school in the state. That status makes it the sixth-worst law school in Tennessee for the average student to access.
5. Belmont University College of Law
The Belmont University College of Law is in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s one of the best schools in the State of Tennessee with a record 100 percent of all graduates passing the bar exam on the first try in 2018. Its students achieved a remarkable feat that is evidence of Its status as the best law school to attend if you desire the resources to prepare for passing your bar exam. The overall bar passage rate is 92.6 percent. The percentage drops below Vanderbilt, sitting at over 95 percent. The acceptance rate is not as tough as Vanderbilt’s 23 percent. A little over fifty-two percent of applicants get accepted to Belmont University’s College of Law. Nearly ninety percent of the students who graduate from the law program stay in the state. These students go on with their careers. They work at law firms and put back into their local economies. It’s one of the highest-rated law schools in the state and the nation. The drawback for budget-conscious students is that full-time law students pay $44,470 per year for tuition and fees. The cost is expensive to attend this school. Belmont University received full accreditation from the American Bar Association in 2013. The school offers various specializations such as criminal law, health, entertainment law, and various certificate programs. Belmont University also provides externships to let students gain real-world experience. It also has four law journals within its halls.
4. The University of Tennessee Knoxville
The University of Tennessee Knoxville is the fourth-worst law school in Tennessee. The school boasts a bar exam passage rate of 86 percent. This statistic is only beaten by two other law schools in the state. UTK is a top-performing school that offers law students a low student-to-faculty ratio. In addition, it provides strong resources for studying through the library and various online sources. The school helps students transition from book learning to applying their knowledge in real-world situations. Employment rates for graduates of the University of Tennessee Knoxville law school students are 85 percent. Many law students already have jobs when they enter the program. The median GPA for undergrads is 3.62, which speaks well of their academic accomplishments. Another notable statistic is the rate of 86 percent of first-time test takers passing the Tennessee State bar exam. It beats the state average by more than eleven percent. The competition for acceptance is not as high at UTK as it is for Vanderbilt. The acceptance rate is 37.3 percent of all applicants. Even though it is not the most stringent, the odds are still against most hopefuls. UTK is selective about the students they admit into their programs. This is how they maintain such high scores. Students are afforded a school law library with about half a million volumes. It’s one of the most prestigious schools in the state, qualifying it as number four on our ranking of the worst law schools in Tennessee. You can learn more about admissions requirements by visiting g the school’s official website.
3. The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphrey’s School of Law
The Cecil C. Humphrey’s School of Law is a part of the University of Memphis. In many ways, this is an outstanding school. The bar exam passage rate is 81.1. It gets ranked as the third best for this, placing it on the third worst list of law schools in Tennessee. The school has been operational as a public school since 1962. It is also called the Memphis Law School, Memphis Law, and the U of M Law. It’s a small school with just 314 students in the program. Although slightly more competitive than the worst school on our list, 62.05 percent of applicants get accepted to the school. It’s not hard to get into the school, but it concerns us that a mere 21 percent or less of all students who get accepted ever matriculate. The school has only graduated around 5,000 students since its inception. The tuition rate for full-time law students is $37,582 per year for out-of-state students and just $15,000 per year after aid for students living within the state of Tennessee as legal residents. Memphis Law School is an exceptional value for the cost. It offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral-level degrees in various specializations. It also has a strong diversity rating that welcomes people from all backgrounds. One of our concerns about this school is the graduation rate. It is only 45 percent. Fewer than half of the students who start see the program through to completion. Dropout rates are high, and we’re not sure why. This school has a lot going for it. It has decent exam pass rates, but the odds of a student graduating are below fifty-fifty. You can learn more about admissions requirements at the school’s official website.
2. Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan Law School
The Duncan Law School is housed in the Lincoln Memorial University campus. The school is in Harrogate, Tennessee on a 1,000-acre parcel. It’s an old school in the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park that has some beautiful scenery. Additionally, the history of the school dates as far back as 1897. This is the year it opened its doors to law students. The American Bar Association accredited the law school component in March of 2019. This institution has only been fully-accredited for a little under three years. The school is a nice place to attend, but the bar exam passage rates are among the worst in the state. The state average is 74.4 percent, but the Duncan Law School has a lower pass rate of 72.2 percent. When it comes to the worst school to prepare you for a career in law, it comes in second only to Lipscomb University’s Fred D. Gray Institute for Law, Justice, and Society. A big draw is its massive library and the memorabilia housed within the Lincoln Museum. It also showcases memorabilia from the Civil War era. The undergraduate class size is 1,975 with a graduate student body of 2,982. It’s a private school that has a moderately high cost for tuition. The annual cost for full-time law students is $36,420 with tuition and fees. although the library resources are sufficient, for some reason, it has one of the lowest bar exam pass rates of the five law schools in Tennessee. It’s also worth noting that only 76.5 percent of the graduated students have full-time employment. This gives it the placement as the worst school-based, on this alone, but it does have some outstanding qualities.
1. Lipscomb University College of Education Fred D. Gray Institute for Law, Justice & Society
Lipscomb University College of Education is the home of the Fred D. Gray Institute for Law, Justice, & Society. Our research turned up nothing about the bar exam pass rate for graduates of the college. It’s been in existence for more than a hundred years. the small private school accepts undergraduate students with an enrollment just short of 3,000. The annual tuition rates are not as expensive as Vanderbilt’s, but they’re high at $35,752 per year. It’s an expensive school to attend, and the lack of documentation about bar exam pass rates left us to wonder if and if its graduates are passing. The school does have an exceptional Pharma department with pass rates of 94 percent for certification exams. The institution is celebrating this outstanding performance, but we have no evidence of its law school performance. It’s easier to get into Lipscomb University’s law institute with an acceptance rate of sixty-three percent of all applicants. The school offers certificate, associate, bachelor, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Financial aid is available for some undergraduate students who qualify, but the expected tuition and fee burden after aid is applied is still about $26,000 per year. We were a bit disconcerted about the school’s lack of data for its bar exam pass rates. If you’re going to pay nearly $36K per year for education, the school should offer more transparency.
There are only six law schools to choose from in Tennessee. Although the choices are few, there are decent choices among them. There are pros and cons associated with each school, depending on your situation. The worst law school of the six is the Lipscomb University College of Education’s Fred D. Gray Institute. This school is known for its outstanding Pharma programs, but little information exists about its performance as a law school. The lack of data plummets it to the top position in our worst schools list. At the bottom, we have the ultra-expensive Vanderbilt, which offers one of the best programs in the country, followed by several other schools with outstanding academics and bar exam pass rates. An acceptance letter to Vanderbilt is hard to obtain because of its strict criteria for admission. Belmont’s law program has one of the highest bar exam pass rates of all schools in the nation, but it’s expensive. Most of the six law schools in Tennessee have some great things going for them. It would be nice if Lipscomb would share more information with the general public.