Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Academics & Programs: Well known for its professional schools and status as a world-class research institution, Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law only fortifies the school’s reputation. All students follow the school’s unique practical legal curriculum, CaseARC, which one student calls “the greatest strength of our school.” This integrated skills program brings together legal theory and fundamental practice skills with traditional classroom methods, putting students in the role of a practicing lawyer. Second and third year students have a wide discretion in selecting their courses, and with seven areas of concentration and 10 dual-degree and certificate programs, there are many choices, and there is “not much difficulty in getting into any class you’d like.” The law clinic, which allows students to handle a broad range of civil, criminal, health, and business matters “is the greatest experience I’ve had in law school,” according to one student. It “really increases the value of the classroom experience.” “Few law schools mandate so many practical courses, and provide so many elective options in various specialty areas.”
Beyond the strength of the academics and the great “breadth of its specialty programs and classes,” the school has a “highly respected” faculty that “provide a first-rate legal education,” though a few students mention their experience is “lacking in one on one attention.” All of the professors have at least a decade of experience in practice, and the faculty boasts attorneys with backgrounds from the WTO, World Bank, and corporate law, as well as “national public sector international scholars.” Most professors are “excellent teachers who match up well against the best in any of [the] top tier law school[s],” and “lots of them have written the textbooks and know their subjects inside and out.” Many have also moved beyond the traditional Socratic method, in order “to find what works for their subject and students.”
Aside from faculty, “the staff clearly cares about the school and the students,” and “the school’s administration is very accessible and knowledgeable.” It “learns from its mistakes… if something isn’t working, they try to fix it.” Research facilities are also “really amazing,” especially “the access to international law information through the War Crimes Portal and through all of the database access in the library.” “I worked on a journal and the librarians were literally the largest sources of knowledge I’ve ever encountered,” says a student.
Truly, it is the school’s curriculum that shines through for students. One student proclaims, “[It] has allowed me to hit the ground running in my legal summer work.” Another states, “[It] provides opportunities that I know other schools don’t,” such as an exchange program with Chinese law schools and “the ability to extern at an international war crimes tribunal for a semester instead of taking classes.” “When I was participating in [the international tribunal externship], I had students from Yale, Harvard and Georgetown doing summer internships at the tribunals who were very envious and surprised that we had this opportunity to continue on in the fall for credits.” Some do say that the Career Services Office “needs to improve its relationship between the school and the alumni” and “to focus on expanding its influence into legal markets such as New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.” However, nearly all agree that “Case does a great job of giving students the resources they need to succeed, [and] everything else is (and should be) up to the individual.
Campus Life/Facilities: As the school is housed in a building “a bit too small for the number of students,” a lot of courses “have to be offered at night,” which is great for adjuncts and people who work. The students are the best part of the school. Case students “aren’t competitive, but rather friendly and helpful, and always looking out for each other.” In Cleveland, “you make your own fun,” so “it’s a great environment to study without getting distracted.” “You can have as much of a social life as you want. Some weeks, I go out three or four times a week. Other times not at all,” says a student. Cleveland itself “isn’t horribly dangerous, but you do have to be careful about where you go.”
Case has “more than a fair amount of diversity” in this “very friendly, cohesive community,” and “there are many students who represent many different communities,” with strong student associations for African Americans, Jewish students, and South Asian students, among others.
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.