Best Law Schools in New Zealand

law schools in New Zealand

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Law is a prestigious and rewarding career, and New Zealand is home to some of the best law schools in the world. Whether you’re interested in working as a barrister, solicitor, or in-house lawyer, a New Zealand law degree will give you the skills and knowledge you need to succeed.

In this article, we will be looking at the top 15 law schools in New Zealand based on a variety of factors, including academic reputation, employer reputation, research impact, student satisfaction, and facilities, providing a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision on your academic journey. 

Whether you’re a prospective law student or a legal enthusiast curious about the educational landscape in New Zealand, this guide will shed light on the institutions that stand out for their academic reputation, distinguished faculty, and the quality of their law programs.

So, join us as we embark on a journey to discover 15 of the best law schools in New Zealand and empower yourself with the knowledge to make the best choice for your future in the legal profession.

Related: Top 15 Best Law Schools in Australia

In no particular order, here are the top 15 best law schools in New Zealand:

Best Law Schools in New Zealand

1. Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington

Address: Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand

Victoria University of Wellington, situated in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, is renowned for its distinguished law school. With a rich history and a commitment to excellence, Victoria University’s Faculty of Law stands as a pillar of legal education in the country.

Victoria University of Wellington offers a comprehensive range of law programs designed to provide students with a well-rounded legal education. Whether you’re pursuing an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) or an LLM (Master of Laws), the faculty equips students with a strong foundation in legal principles, ethics, and practice.

The law school is known for its research-driven approach, allowing students to engage in cutting-edge legal studies. They also offer specialized areas of study, enabling students to delve into fields like environmental law, international law, and more.

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2. University of Auckland

Address: 34 Princes Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

The University of Auckland is not only a prestigious institution on the global stage but is also home to the renowned Auckland Law School, making it one of the top choices for those pursuing a legal education in New Zealand.

Ranked 62nd in the world by subject in the 2024 QS University World Rankings, the Auckland Law School exemplifies excellence in legal education.

As the largest law school in New Zealand, the Auckland Law School offers a comprehensive and diverse range of law programs. The school’s high entry standards for its LLB (Bachelor of Laws) and LLB (Honours) degrees are indicative of its commitment to academic excellence.

What sets the Auckland Law School apart is its exceptional faculty, consisting of leading experts in various legal domains. This includes the academic staff, members of the Department of Commercial Law in the Business School, accomplished professionals from the legal field, and distinguished academic visitors from abroad.

3. University of Waikato

Address: Hillcrest Road, Hillcrest, Hamilton 3216, New Zealand

The University of Waikato, located in Hamilton, New Zealand, offers a strong and vibrant law program. It is known for its emphasis on practical legal skills, experiential learning, and providing a supportive academic environment for its students.

The law program at the University of Waikato provides students with a well-rounded legal education. The university offers an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) program that equips students with a solid foundation in legal principles, ethics, and practice.

What sets this program apart is its focus on practical, hands-on learning experiences. Students have the opportunity to engage with real legal cases and work on practical projects, preparing them for the demands of the legal profession.

The University of Waikato also has a reputation for creating a supportive and inclusive academic environment, ensuring that students receive the guidance and resources they need to succeed. 

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4. Auckland University of Technology

Address: 55 Wellesley Street East, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

The Auckland University of Technology’s Law School, known as AUT Law School, offers a dynamic and versatile legal education. This institution prepares students for successful careers in legal practice and a broad spectrum of fields where they can have a significant impact.

AUT Law School provides highly respected and adaptable law degrees that equip students with the knowledge and skills needed for legal practice or a wide range of other professions. Graduates from AUT are in high demand and sought after by prestigious law firms, community organizations, and diverse employers.

What sets AUT Law School apart is its emphasis on diversity and inclusivity. It’s known as one of the most diverse and inclusive law schools in New Zealand. This commitment to diversity fosters a rich and dynamic learning environment where students gain exposure to different perspectives and experiences.

5. University of Canterbury

University of Canterbury

Address: 20 Kirkwood Avenue, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch 8041, New Zealand

The University of Canterbury’s Faculty of Law, known as Kaupeka Ture, is a distinguished law school in New Zealand. It consistently ranks among the top 150 law schools worldwide, earning a reputation for its combination of academic excellence and the development of essential legal skills.

The law programs at the University of Canterbury offer a well-rounded legal education with a strong emphasis on academic rigor and practical skill development.

The faculty has an established reputation in traditional areas of law, providing students with a solid foundation in legal principles and ethics.

What sets the University of Canterbury apart is its innovative approach to legal education. The school offers courses that explore the intersection of law with unique fields, such as Antarctica, media, sports, and medicine. This reflects the institution’s commitment to staying at the forefront of legal developments and preparing students for the evolving legal landscape.

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6. University of Otago

Address: 362 Leith Street, Dunedin North, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand

The University of Otago’s Faculty of Law is a recognized leader in legal research in New Zealand, maintaining strong connections with international research networks.

With a history dating back to 1873, the University of Otago holds the distinction of being the first university in New Zealand to teach law. This legacy of legal education provides students with a rich and time-tested foundation in the field.

What truly sets the Faculty of Law at Otago apart is its remarkable record of producing Rhodes Scholars. With ten Rhodes Scholars to its name, it has produced more than any other faculty or school, spanning all disciplines and New Zealand universities.

In addition to producing Rhodes Scholars, Otago’s law students consistently achieve success in national and international law competitions. This achievement serves as a testament to the faculty’s ability to educate and prepare top-quality graduates for the challenges of the legal profession.

7. Massey University

Address: Massey University, Private Bag 11 222 Palmerston North, 4442, New Zealand

Massey University’s School of Law, located in New Zealand, is one of the distinguished law schools in New Zealand, known for its commitment to providing diverse and flexible legal education. The school offers a wide range of law programs to cater to the unique needs and goals of its students.

Massey University’s School of Law stands out for its diverse range of law programs, designed to accommodate various learning styles and career paths.

The school places a strong emphasis on preparing students for the real world of law, with a focus on practical skills and experiential learning. This commitment is reflected in the curriculum, which includes opportunities for internships, moot court competitions, and practical legal projects.

8. Lincoln University

Address: 85084 Ellesmere Junction Road, Lincoln, 7647, New Zealand

The Lincoln University School of Law is a small but well-respected law school in New Zealand. It is consistently ranked among the top ten law schools in New Zealand by the New Zealand Law Society.

The School of Law at Lincoln offers a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree, which is a four-year program that provides students with a comprehensive foundation in the law.

The program covers a wide range of legal topics, including constitutional law, criminal law, contract law, property law, and tort law. Students also have the opportunity to specialize in areas of law that interest them through elective courses.

The School of Law at Lincoln is known for its strong focus on practical legal skill development. All students in the LLB program participate in a clinical legal education program, where they have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with clients under the supervision of experienced lawyers.

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9. Southern Institute of Technology

Southern Institute of Technology

Address: 133 Tay Street, Invercargill, 9810, New Zealand

The Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) is a public polytechnic in New Zealand known for providing accessible and practical education in various fields, including law. 

The school offers a four-year Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree that is designed for students who want to become lawyers. The program covers a wide range of legal topics, including constitutional law, criminal law, contract law, property law, and tort law.

SIT is known for its practical approach to legal education. The LLB program includes a number of clinical legal education courses, where students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with clients under the supervision of experienced lawyers.

The SIT LLB is also accredited by the New Zealand Law Society, which means that graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the New Zealand Bar Examination.

10. Otago Polytechnic

Address: Forth Street, Dunedin North, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand

Otago Polytechnic, based in Dunedin, New Zealand, is a renowned institution that stands out for its diverse range of law programs, providing students with a practical and hands-on legal education.

The faculty at Otago Polytechnic’s law school is comprised of experienced legal practitioners and educators who bring their practical insights into the classroom. This combination of academic rigor and practical expertise ensures that students receive a well-rounded legal education.

Students at Otago Polytechnic have the opportunity to engage with real legal cases, work on practical legal projects, and gain valuable hands-on experience. This practical approach to learning prepares graduates for the dynamic and fast-paced world of law.

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11. Unitec Institute of Technology

Unitec Institute of Technology

Address: Building 180/139 Carrington Road, Mount Albert, Auckland 1025, New Zealand

Another leading institution on our list of law schools in New Zealand is the Unitec Institute of Technology. Located in Auckland, New Zealand, the Unitec Institute of Technology is a forward-thinking institution known for its innovative and practical approach to education, including law.

Unitec’s law programs are designed to equip students with real-world legal skills and knowledge. The institution’s approach to legal education is grounded in practicality, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared for the demands of the legal profession.

The law faculty at Unitec is committed to fostering a supportive learning environment and providing students with the resources they need to succeed. Students benefit from engaging with experienced legal educators who bring their practical insights into the classroom.

Unitec’s law programs are characterized by their flexibility and adaptability. Students have the opportunity to tailor their legal education to their specific interests and career goals, ensuring that graduates have the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their chosen area of legal practice.

12. Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology

Address: 322 Hardy Street, Nelson, 7010, New Zealand

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, situated in Nelson, New Zealand, is an institution committed to providing practical and industry-focused education, including in the field of law.

NMIT offers a practical and hands-on approach to legal education. The law programs at NMIT are designed to prepare students for the real-world demands of legal practice, with a strong emphasis on developing practical legal skills.

Students at NMIT have the opportunity to engage with real legal cases, work on practical legal projects, and gain valuable hands-on experience. This experiential learning approach ensures that graduates are well-prepared to meet the challenges of the legal profession.

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13. EIT Hawke’s Bay

Next on our list of law schools in New Zealand is the Eastern Institute of Technology Hawke’s Bay. The EIT Hawke’s Bay LLB is a good option for students who are serious about becoming lawyers and who are looking for an applied and affordable education.

The school offers a Diploma in Legal Studies, which is a two-year program that provides students with a foundation in the law. The diploma covers a variety of legal topics, including constitutional law, criminal law, contract law, property law, and tort law.

Students who complete the Diploma in Legal Studies at EIT Hawke’s Bay may be eligible to transfer to an LLB program at another university. However, it is important to note that not all universities will accept transfer credits. Students should check with the university they are interested in transferring to see if their credits will be accepted.

14. Ara Institute of Canterbury

Address: Madras Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand

Ara Institute of Canterbury, located in Christchurch, New Zealand, is a distinguished institution known for its commitment to providing practical and industry-focused education, including in the field of law.

The LLB program at Ara is a four-year degree that covers a wide range of legal topics, including constitutional law, criminal law, contract law, property law, and tort law. Students also have the opportunity to specialize in areas of law that interest them through elective courses.

Ara is known for its focus on practical legal education. The LLB program includes a number of clinical legal education courses, where students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with clients under the supervision of experienced lawyers.

15. Wellington Institute of Technology

Wellington Institute of Technology

Address: 11 Kensington Avenue, Petone, Lower Hutt 5012, New Zealand

The last school on our list of law schools in New Zealand is the Wellington Institute of Technology. Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) is a public polytechnic in Wellington, New Zealand. It offers a wide range of programs, including a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree.

The LLB program at WelTec is a four-year degree that covers a wide range of legal topics, including constitutional law, criminal law, contract law, property law, and tort law. Students also have the opportunity to specialize in areas of law that interest them through elective courses.

WelTec is known for its focus on practical legal education. The LLB program includes a number of clinical legal education courses, where students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with clients under the supervision of experienced lawyers.

The WelTec LLB is also accredited by the New Zealand Law Society, which means that graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the New Zealand Bar Examination.

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FAQs

Is New Zealand a good place to study law?

Yes. New Zealand has a reputation for producing some of the best lawyers in the world, making it one of the best places to study law. Aside from its reputation and academic rigor, law students here have the opportunity to practice and gain valuable experience in law, even as students.

Can a foreigner study law in New Zealand?

Yes. New Zealand accepts students from different parts of the world; hence, you have no criminal records whatsoever. 

How much does it cost to study law in NZ? 

The prices for law schools in New Zealand differ based on the school: However, the average tuition fee for law students is around $36,430 per year.

How long is law school in New Zealand?

The degree takes approximately four years of full-time study to complete.

Is it hard to get a job as a lawyer in New Zealand?

New graduates might find it difficult to secure solicitor work; however, you can seek jobs in other areas of law, such as policy development, if you don’t get a lawyer job.

How much do law graduates make in New Zealand?

The average lawyer salary in New Zealand is $84,047 per year, or $43.10 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $70,753 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $125,008 per year.

Summary

Choosing the right law school is a pivotal decision that can significantly shape your legal career. From the vibrant city campuses of Auckland to the serene landscapes of Dunedin, New Zealand offers a diverse array of law schools, each with its own unique character and strengths. 

From the prestigious University of Auckland to the practical and industry-focused programs at institutes like the Ara Institute of Canterbury and the Eastern Institute of Technology, the 15 best law schools in New Zealand encompass a rich tapestry of opportunities.

Remember that your choice of law school is a significant investment in your future, and the decisions you make today can shape your legal career for years to come. 

With the top 15 best law schools in New Zealand at your disposal, you have a multitude of opportunities to embark on a path of legal knowledge, excellence, and personal growth.

We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights and knowledge to help you make an informed decision as you embark on your legal education journey in New Zealand.

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