St. Thomas University School of Law
Academics & Programs: St. Thomas University School of Law offers “a small, tight-knit community” that truly wants to see its students thrive and succeed. The school takes a practical approach to teaching law and students are quick to highlight the legal writing department, which they view as an “asset.” Indeed, the in-depth curriculum requires “a closed memo, open memo, motion for summary judgment, client letter, affidavit, service lists, statement of the facts, complaint and answer to the complaint, interrogatories, request for admissions, request for documents, summons, and appeals brief (and argument in the presence of 3 judges).” As one second-year continues, “Legal writing [is] the cornerstone of [your] career. Therefore, the standards for memos, motions, etc. are high.”
Moreover, law students here speak glowingly about their “tremendously helpful and supportive” professors. The vast majority seems to maintain “an open door policy,” which really “allows students to visit professors freely to ask questions and review problems.” Additionally many truly appreciate how STU professors “push their students to achieve legal and social excellence.” Indeed, “they are always there to offer whatever they can to help students, which is always well researched or spoken from their extensive experience.” This praise also extends to the administration, which tends to “greet the students with open arms and typically by first name.” Impressively, they also operate under an open door policy, which “helps cater to the needs of students (ex: extending library hours during final exams).” As a second-year brags, “Anything the students want/need, the students feel free to bring up to the administration for their consideration.
“STU also provides “great” research facilities and on-campus resources. One second year elaborates, “Not only do we have Westlaw and LexisNexis, we have access to other great databases such as JSTOR and HeinOnline. Campus offers unlimited, free printing which is helping when writing your law review comment and/or seminar paper.” Even better, “The staff in the library is ALWAYS around to help. They will meet with you for however long you need; it is like having your own personal library assistant there for you along the way.”
Students here are also extremely grateful for the professional opportunities a St. Thomas education affords them. As one second year elaborates, “The externship programs and on-campus interviews brought in from career services is phenomenal. The school places students in trial, appellate, and supreme courts for both state and federal systems.” Another pleased student quickly follow up, “The reputation that our school has in South Miami has helped place these students in the judicial clerkships and various public offices (state attorney and public defenders).” Further, St. Thomas has “a unique relationship with the Pax Romana of the United Nations. Therefore, students can be selected to go to New York to the UN headquarters for a unique experience with ambassadors and diplomats.”
Campus Life/Facilities: “This law school is very diverse.” In fact, it’s one of the most ethnically diverse bastions of legal education in the country. There is a very high Latino student enrollment. There is also “a substantial number of second-career types as well as attorneys from Latin American and other countries who are revalidating their degrees” in the United States. “About half of the student body came to St. Thomas via the ‘traditional’ student method,” estimates a 1L, “and the other half is a little older and brings a wide range of practical understandings. This dichotomy leads to some truly enlightening classroom discussions.” Some students explain, “There is a good deal of competition” academically. Others say that students “join forces” and share notes regularly and copiously at exam time.
STU is situated on the main campus of the larger university in a suburb between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. Some students tell us the location is “not so good.” The cost of living in these parts isn’t the cheapest, either. On the plus side, the weather in South Florida is “very relaxing” virtually year-round, and the Floridian campus boasts palm trees, ponds, and tennis courts. The area also offers tons of activities and nightlife. Bars, restaurants, shopping and cuisine are all world-class and, of course, “you always have the beaches.”
Perhaps more importantly, students at STU are privy to “rich experiences” and “fantastic events.” A pleased third-year proudly shares, “Our Law Review just hosted a tremendous symposium on Media and the Law, in which Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson was the keynote speaker.” Additionally, “last semester, Justice Scalia came and talked to our school.” Socially, there are “enough student organizations to find something you like.” This law school is a pretty tight-knit place too. “Close relationships” are easily formed, and students know pretty much everyone in their class year. Also, “The school design invites socialization.” “There is a breezeway always full of students talking and hanging out, sharing thoughts, and talking about the professors and classes.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.