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Law Schools

While an officially published ranking of law schools in Brazil does not exist, some private parties publish lists suggesting which would be the top public and private law schools in the country. From our experience and consideration of such lists, these are the top 5 public and private law schools in Brazil.

Top 5 Public Law Schools in Brazil

  1. Universidade de São Paulo (USP): This is Brazil’s largest university with 90,000 students and eleven campuses. Law is one of the approximately 30 subjects of humanities offered.
  2. Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG): It is located in Belo Horizonte and has four separate law departments. These departments study Philosophy of Law, Society by Quotas, Penal Law, Penal Process, Constitutional Law, Brazilian International Acts, and Social Function of Property.
  3. Universidade de Brasília (UNB): a law school located in the capital of the country, Brasilia. In addition to top professors in the field, the network available to law students is certainly another benefit to consider.
  4. Universidade Federal de Rio de Janeiro: This university was founded in 1920 and has four separate institutions. These include the law school, the national museum, the house of science, and the laboratory school.
  5. Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR): another top contender, this university is located in a Southern Brazilian state where many foreign companies choose as location for their headquarters.

When reviewing these two lists, one should remember that in Brazil the public universities will usually have the best programs. The best example of such reality is that the unanimously known best law school in Brazil is the Law School of the University of Sao Paulo, a public law school.

Top 5 Private Law Schools in Brazil

  1. FGV-SP: This school is devoted solely to law, and it is located in Sao Paulo. It was founded as a branch of the Sao Paulo Business School and is now a dedicated private law school.
  2. Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP): Founded in 1946, this school also has almost 20,000 students. The focus of this school lies mainly in law, philosophy, social science, communication, and education.
  3. FGV-RJ: a spinoff of the FGV-SP, this is another top private Brazilian law school. Located in Rio de Janeiro, it is particularly attractive to foreign students interested in living in a world-famous beach town like Rio de Janeiro.
  4. Mackenzie: This is another heavy-weight private law school. Located in Sao Paulo, Mackenzie is recognized for its high-quality law program.
  5. Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio): This private Catholic school was founded in 1940 and has almost 20,000 students in attendance. Its excellence in law is recognized.

1,200+ Law Schools in Brazil

There are more than 1,200 law schools in Brazil – believe it or not. According to NPR, Brazil has more law schools than the rest of the world combined. This is an anomaly that hurts the legal profession in Brazil in many ways. Unfortunately, many private law schools operate with low-quality standards. As a result, there are literally hundreds of thousands of people with a bachelor of laws unable to pass the Brazilian Bar Exam.

Still, many more hundreds of thousands pass the bar exam only to face a market overwhelmed with attorneys. Because of the brutal number of licensed attorneys, such professionals in Brazil earn substantially less than peers in the vast majority of other countries. Actually, it is not uncommon for attorneys from poorer areas to rely on assignments from courts or even subsidies from the local bar associations to survive.

Mkt., Rank. = Ranking based on employers’ evaluations
Learn., Rank. = Ranking based on the quality of the education provided.
Prof., Rank. = Ranking based on the quality of the professors’ teaching.
MEC, Rank. = Ranking based on the official government (MEC) evaluations of the courses.
Bar, Grade = Grades obtained by students at the national bar examination (OAB).

Source: Folha de Sao Paulo, 2019.

You can also access the complete spreadsheet directly here:
Brazil Law School Rankings on Google Sheet