South American legal systems share much in common with each other. This fact, in conjunction with the importance of South American business to the U.S. economy -- along with relatively inexpensive tuition and unique cultural experiences -- may make South America an attractive place to study law.
Although their legal systems share many similarities, the countries and schools you'll choose from are dazzlingly diverse. The following article provides a brief overview of some of the most highly regarded law schools in South America with some consideration of their relative merits.
Brazil stands apart from much of South America. The only Latin American country that speaks Portuguese rather than Spanish, Brazil is proud of its unique culture. Brazil's economy has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, even briefly eclipsing that of Great Britain. It is certainly the largest and most dynamic economy in South America. Finally, Brazil is home to some of the best law schools in South America. If you are considering studying law in Brazil, the following are your top options:
University of São Paulo -- The University of São Paulo is consistently ranked among the most prestigious in South America. The law school pre-dates the University itself and is among the oldest establishments of higher education in the country. It has produced a dozen Brazilian presidents and its graduates are leaders in business and politics.
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro -- Federal University of Rio de Janeiro has been in operation since the 1700s. In addition to the school's excellent reputation, it has the advantage of being located in Rio de Janeiro, one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world.
Argentina has a large, stable economy, famous for its fine wines and other high-quality agricultural products. The country offers excellent educational opportunities in a diverse and modern South American context. Top Argentinean law schools include:
University of Buenos Aires -- A total of fifteen Argentinean presidents, four Nobel Prize winners, and Che Guevara all graduated from the University of Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires is a lovely city, called the "Paris of the South," and many U.S. law schools operate exchange programs with the University of Buenos Aires precisely because the school and city offer a top-tier educational and cultural experience.
National University of La Plata -- The National University of La Plata isn't as widely recognized as the University of Buenos Aires, but the school's graduates include three presidents and two Nobel Prize winners. The school has an excellent reputation.
Chile is one of the most stable and prosperous nations in South America. One advantage of study in Chile is the fact that most Chileans speak excellent English, which is mandatory in schools from 5th grade onward. Chile's best law schools include:
Pontifical Catholic University of Chile -- The first Catholic university on this list, Pontifical Catholic University has a close relationship with the Vatican. The law school produced a president and a Jesuit saint.
University of Chile -- The University of Chile has produced 20 Chilean presidents. It is a massive institution, the oldest in the nation, with a total of more than 38,000 students pursuing degrees in a wide array of topics.
Colombia is a country of passion and excitement. The country's wealth of natural resources, focus on renewable energy sources, and rich cultural history make it an attractive destination.
University of the Andes Colombia -- The University of the Andes was the first school established in Colombia that lacked political or religious affiliation. It is located in Bogotá, Colombia's capital.
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