Michigan State University College of Law
Academics & Programs: When students at Michigan State University say their school offers “the best of both worlds,” they really mean it. As a private school affiliated with a large public institution, MSU Law offers “a small academic community where professors remember and really take an interest in their students,” while simultaneously providing “access to all the benefits of a world-class Big Ten university.” The school maintains an accomplished faculty, and “The professors have, for the most part, attended top schools and have great experience to share.” “While all the professors have their own research and other legal work, the emphasis is on teaching” at MSU. Of course, “You’ll have some professors that are better than others,” but the majority are engaging and student-friendly. If you visit them during office hours or linger around after class, many professors will “talk about work experience, research they’ve done, [and] interesting cases they’ve worked on. Some of them will connect on a more personal level” and talk “about their families or cool places they have visited.”
The J.D. curriculum is “quite rigorous,” and “you have to be willing to put in the work to get the results”; however, MSU invests in its students’ success. One student explains, “The law college is good at providing academic resources for students such as labs, advisement, and T.A.’s for 1Ls.” In the library, “the research librarians are great at helping students find what they are looking for,” as well as keeping the noise levels reasonable during exams. Highly student-friendly, the law school’s administration is praised for their efficiency, friendliness, and contemporary approach to education, especially the school’s “great Dean, who understands the current legal market and the changing legal education system.” Throughout departments and processes, “The administration at MSU is actively involved in making sure you receive a high-quality legal education,” and they “genuinely want to connect with students.” For example, “The deans have a free lunch meeting once a month where they explain what is going on in the school and let students ask questions.”
There are many ways to put your legal skills into practice at MSU, including the school’s “excellent Moot Court and Law Review opportunities.” Of particular note, “The emphasis on clinical experience and expansion of the clinical programs at MSU College of Law is second to none.” Depending on your area of interest, “There are about seven or eight different clinics that 2Ls and 3Ls can enroll in, ranging from Tax and Housing to Chance at Childhood and Plea and Sentencing.” Alternatively, MSU’s “geographic location (adjacent to the state capitol, Lansing) enables students to pursue a variety of intern and externships in lieu of the offered clinics.” Those interested in government work can augment these experiences through the school’s popular “semester in Washington, DC,” which combines professional experience at a federal agency coupled with the ongoing coursework at MSU.
After graduation, students looking for work in Michigan appreciate the school’s great local reputation. Propitiously located in the capital city of Lansing, “There are a lot of opportunities for work within a few miles of school,” particularly for those interested in government-related positions. For those planning to practice outside of the Great Lakes state, note the words of one student in particular who affirms that “career services is an extremely useful department for in-state students. However, more could be done to improve the ability of out-of-state students to obtain internships and externships.”
Campus Life/Facilities: Those looking for a lively, well-rounded law school experience will be happy with the atmosphere at MSU. There is “great cooperative attitude among all students,” and no lack of activities and events to fill up their free time. Between the law school and the larger university campus, there is “a wide range of extracurricular activities and organizations, from access to intramural sports through the university to law-student-specific groups that encompass just about every background, interest, and practice area.” Students love attending college football games with their classmates, and they take advantage of the myriad fitness and recreational facilities on campus. Among other perks, “There are two golf courses on campus, and the driving range is heated so you can hit a bucket late into fall or early in spring.”
The law school is located in an “excellent building,” which is “newly renovated with wireless throughout.” In addition to nice study spaces and common areas, “There are private study rooms for groups that can be reserved in advance.” Plus, “Sparty’s, the cafe in the law school, is a great spot to get caffeine before late nights or long classes.” Located in a bustling “college town,” law students benefit from an affordable and relaxed lifestyle in hometown Lansing. When they need a change of scenery, “E. Lansing and Lansing offer a wide range of cuisines and other activities that don’t have to revolve around the school.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.