Top Law Schools in Colorado

Posted on Dec 18, 2019

Colorado is well-known for its incredibly friendly people, amazing communities, and diverse landscapes. It is one of the most desirable states to live in. The Western state also offers endless opportunities in the legal industry.

Lawyers working in Colorado can earn up to $174,000 depending on their field of specialization. The state currently has two schools that offer legal studies — the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Let's take a detailed look at these law schools, so you can see which one suits your needs as a student of law.

University of Colorado Law School

The University of Colorado Law School opened its doors in 1892. According to U.S. News, the Boulder-based institution is the 43rd best law school in the United States. It is home to more than 500 students, with a student-faculty ratio of 6.4:1.

The school offers a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree program, which requires 89 credits. Students can choose to complete the program in either three years or two-and-a-half years. In addition to the J.D. program, the school also offers some LL.M specialization options.

There are also several different dual-degree programs. These include:

  • Juris Doctor/Doctor of Medicine
  • Juris Doctor/Bachelor of Laws
  • Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration

Colorado offers the J.D./M.B.A program in conjunction with the Leeds School of Business. In collaboration with the College of Architecture and Planning, students also get the opportunity to earn a J.D./Master of Urban & Regional Planning degree.

In addition to the traditional legal curriculum, the school has a robust experiential learning program. The program encompasses externships and clinics. There's also a voluntary law program, which commits students to at least 50 hours of law-related work before they graduate.

Students can choose to participate in any of the school's several clinics, which include:

  • Civil Practice
  • American Indian Law
  • Family Law
  • Juvenile Law
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Entrepreneurial Law
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Technology Law and Policy

Furthermore, students get the opportunity to participate in school centers such as the Natural Resources Law Center and the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, & Entrepreneurship. The school also offers three student-run journals:

  • The Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy
  • The University of Colorado Law Review
  • The Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology Law

University of Colorado Law School accepts 47 percent of its applicants, and about 80 percent of graduates pass their bar exams the first time around. Also worthy of note is the school's impressive employment rate.

For example, at least 90 percent of the class of 2018 obtained employment within 10 months of graduation. The following admission statistics may be of help if you're looking to join the school:

  • Median LSAT score: 161
  • Median undergrad GPA: 3.6

University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Founded in 1892, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law is a privately-owned law college. According to U.S. News, it is the 63rd best law school in the United States. It has a population of more than 600 students, with a student-faculty ratio of 6.6:1.

It ranks lower than the University of Colorado Law School, even though it is slightly larger in terms of enrollment. Nonetheless, it has several attributes that may make someone choose it over Boulder Law School.

The school is in Denver, one of the country's fastest-growing, economically dynamic cities. Denver has several federal and state government agencies, law firms, multinational businesses, and start-up tech companies, so students have endless internship and employment opportunities.

Sturm College has more than 17,000 alumni across the globe, with at least 280 students graduating every year. It offers five Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree programs. These include:

  • Commercial/corporate law
  • Constitutional rights & remedies
  • Workplace law
  • Environmental & natural resources law
  • International legal studies

There are also several graduate degree options, including Graduate Tax, Master of Science in Legal Administration, Master of Laws in American Law Practice, and Master of Laws in International Business Transactions.

Sturm College also has experiential learning programs, geared to help students gain practical experience. The college takes credit for being a pioneer in experiential learning. It opened its law school legal aid clinic, the first in the country, in 1904.

The college's experiential learning program includes real-client clinics, comprehensive externships, and symposiums. The clinics include:

  • Environmental Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Civil Rights
  • Transactional Clinic
  • Immigration Law and Policy
  • Civil Litigation

Students also get the opportunity to produce scholarly journals that focus on specialty areas of law and legal developments.  This opportunity helps students sharpen their legal writing, editing, and scholarship skills.

The school's admission is quite competitive, with an acceptance rate of 46 percent. About 83 percent of graduates pass their bar exams in the first attempt. The employment rate is also favorable as evidenced by the class of 2017, where 68 percent obtained employment within 10 months after graduation.

Keep these numbers in mind if you would want to join Sturm College of Law:

  • Median LSAT score: 157
  • Median undergrad GPA: 3.43

So, if you want to study law in Colorado, you can use this information to choose a school that you feel will give you a more solid foundation on which to build your legal career.