Alabama is home to just a few law schools, but they differ from one another significantly. If you are considering attending an Alabama law school, you'll need to know about the cost and reputation of the different schools to make the decision that is most appropriate for your needs.
The following article provides an overview of Alabama law schools with information to help you choose the right school.
ABA Accredited Law Schools in Alabama
The American Bar Association (ABA) provides accreditation to law schools that meet a national standard. Most states only allow students who obtain a J.D. from an accredited school to sit for their bar exam.
The Alabama bar does not require a degree from an accredited school, but keep in mind attending an unaccredited law school may prevent you from qualifying to sit for the bar in another state.
The following law schools are ABA-accredited:
The University of Alabama School of Law
The University of Alabama School of Law is the best-rated law school in the state and competitive with top schools nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report. The school is particularly proud of its alums, which include Harper Lee and Jeff Sessions.
Alabama Law has been ranked as a "Best Value Law School" by National Jurist, with tuition for in-state applicants around $24,000 per year and $45,000 per year out-of-state tuition. The school also has strong bar passage rates; around 93% of first-time test takers passed the July 2022 bar exam.
Samford University - Cumberland School of Law
Cumberland School of Law is among the oldest law schools in the nation and is nationally recognized for its trial advocacy instruction. Graduates of the school include two Supreme Court Justices, a Nobel Prize winner, and dozens of high-ranking politicians.
Cumberland is a bit more expensive than the University of Alabama School of Law at around $1,500 per credit hour (approximately $44,000 per year). But it is a highly-respected school with a high bar passage rate. Around 88% of students from Cumberland passed the bar on their first try in 2022.
Faulkner University - Thomas Goode Jones School of Law
The only Christian law school in Alabama, Faulkner University is small but tightly knit. It is reasonably priced compared to other options ($1,300 per credit hour) and would be a good choice for a student looking for a law school focused on Christian values. The bar passage rate for Faulkner students was slightly lower than the other two ABA-accredited schools in 2022, with 68% of first-time test takers passing.
Unaccredited Alabama Law Schools
Alabama permits those who have attended unaccredited law schools that meet specific state requirements to sit for the bar. But, graduates from unaccredited schools may have difficulty obtaining admission in other states.
Miles Law School
If you are sure you want to practice in Alabama, Miles Law School may provide the flexibility you need. The school offers a four-year, part-time evening program focused on public service and social justice. No financial aid is available, but the program is about half the cost of its ABA-accredited counterparts at $780 per credit hour.
Although certainly an economical option, the school has, at times, had a meager bar passage rate. Around a third of first-time test takers from MLS passed the July 2022 bar exam.
Birmingham School of Law
Like Miles Law School, Birmingham School of Law courses take place in the evening and on weekends over four years. Although not accredited by the ABA or the state bar, Birmingham graduates qualify to sit for the state bar exam.
However, like many unaccredited schools, Birmingham has seen very low bar passage rates. Around 20% of first-time test takers from Birmingham passed the July 2022 bar exam.
Classes cost about $835 per credit hour.
Preparing for Law School and Beyond
Choosing the right Alabama law school will set you on the path to becoming an attorney. In school, you'll want to learn more about choosing elective courses, studying for exams, passing the bar, and planning a career. Check back with FindLaw's Law Students section frequently for articles and advice about these and other topics of interest.