Arizona State University, Sanda Day O’Connor College of Law
Academics & Programs: The College of Law at Arizona State University is a smaller law school with smaller classes where “you get a lot of personal attention.” At the same time, “The range of courses is extensive.” The Indian Legal Program here is one of the finest of its kind in the country. Another point of pride is the Law, Science, and Technology Center, which—not very surprisingly—concentrates on the intersection between law and science. Hands-on opportunities to “get real-world experience in nearly any legal field” are abundant. Eleven clinics allow students “to employ lawyer[ing] skills instead of just talking about it or writing legal memos,” and virtually every student who wants to participate in a clinic can participate.
There are “almost too many opportunities for externships” with judges, legislative offices, and administrative agencies, observes one awed student. The faculty at ASU is “a wide mix of both hardscrabble, old-school courtroom warriors, and young, innovative minds.” There are a lot of adjunct faculty members “who enjoy teaching and who bring real practical experience into the classroom” as well. Most professors are “very accessible and happy to help.” “They enjoy getting to know students outside of the classroom.” Inside the classroom, “professors use the Socratic Method mostly, but not in a scary way.” The focus is “more on teaching relevant materials than playing games with students.”
“Although the material is sometimes as dry as the Arizona desert, the teachers do a great job [of] keeping the class interesting.” “I could not have asked for better professors my first semester,” beams a 1L. A few students tell us that the administration is “only concerned with raising ASU’s ranking” but the overwhelming sentiment is that the top brass is “visionary” and “extremely responsive.” The law school staff as a whole is “totally” approachable and “wonderful to work with at every level” (though it’s a much different story when you are “forced to deal with the red tape of the general university”).
Students here have “amazing access” to the Phoenix legal market and Career Services “will bend over back[ward] for you to help you make contacts in the job market.”
Students also point out that for better or for worse, they are “bombarded with opportunities to meet with practicing attorneys.” Opinions concerning the portability of an ASU degree are decidedly split, though. Some students say it’s very easy if you want to work in another state upon graduation. “ASU law degrees actually travel quite well and are respected throughout the United States,” boasts a confident 1L. Others disagree. “ASU is well-known in Arizona but needs to gain more national prominence,” they say. “If you want to work anywhere out of Arizona, the degree doesn’t travel well.”
Campus Life/Facilities: Some of ASU’s facilities are “old and outdated.” Classrooms are “uncomfortable and downright backwoods when it comes to technological integration.” “It would be nice if they took down the paneling from the 1970s,” too. The “well-equipped” law library is “pretty nice,” though. It’s relatively new and it’s “state-of-the-art in its technology and environment.” In addition to four floors of study space, there’s an all-night study room that allows students to come as late or early as they please and stay as long as they want. “I have never had a problem finding a quiet place to study,” notes a 1L.
Students describe the academic atmosphere at ASU as “competitive but not overly combative.” It’s “enough to motivate, but not intolerable.” Students are “focused on studies when they need to be,” but they “study together, share outlines, and generally help each other.” “Courses are tough but the atmosphere is upbeat and actually fun.” “The Tempe sunshine makes us friendlier,” suggests a 1L. The law school is located on ASU’s main campus in a “suburban” part of the fast-growing Phoenix metro area. This “extremely active” law student population is “a mix of students living in Tempe and commuter students.”
“Students who are married live a little farther away from campus,” explains a 3L. “However, most law students only a few years removed from undergrad tend to live very close to campus and are very involved in extracurriculars and other student organizations.” Social events are “frequent.” “There are opportunities to party, but not the pressure to.”
“Intramurals are a great way to blow off steam” as well, and if you are an outdoorsy type, “There is always stuff to do” in the vicinity all year round. “Almost always, some club or activity is providing lunch for us,” notes a sated 1L. There’s “a very stimulating, steady stream of speakers on a variety of legal topics.” Also, students can take advantage of all the “opportunities to get involved” on one of the largest public university campuses in the country.
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.