University of Alabama School of Law
Law School Admissions Office
Admissions: (205) 348-5440
Academics & Programs: Alabama prides itself on offering a tremendous legal education at an affordable price. Though the school definitely places an “emphasis…on corporate law,” students are grateful that there are also “amazing faculty members with interests in academia, public interest and environmental law.” And according to one-second year, these professors are “huge assets to students with no desire to go to a big firm or to vote Republican.” Overall, many find their academic experience to be “exceptional.” As another second year notes, “The quality of classes I’ve taken has been amazing, especially compared to classes I sat in on at other (higher ranked) law schools prior to enrolling. There are incredible academics willing to oversee guided research topics and help you get published.” Students also highlight Alabama’s international programs, which offer “even more opportunities to work with professors in different areas of law in different countries.” Moreover, they note that “the school’s administrators and professors have an open door policy and are always amenable to speaking with students. The administrators and professor genuinely care about the students and their success in the classroom and beyond.”
One gripe students at UA do have is with the perceived “bias against students with low GPAs.” As a frustrated second-year notes, “While I had hoped that a lower GPA might merit extra attention, especially since I am paying full-price to attend the Law School, I have found that students with high GPAs by far receive the most praise and attention from administrators.” Another student concurs adding, “Furthermore, like many law schools, my school’s administration and faculty tends to place favor and preference upon those with higher GPAs, a practice that outcasts those of us with a strong work ethic who fell victim to the mandatory curve.” Fortunately, the low student to teacher ratio means struggling students can meet individually with their professors if they need extra help. In addition, the school hosts several skills workshops open to the entire law school.
Students feel that there remains room for improvement when it comes to career services. However, they appreciate the strides the office has made. “Our career services are still adjusting to our improving national reputation. They are making increased efforts at providing useful business contacts outside of Alabama, but could still improve.” A frustrated second year adds, “We do not attract a lot of attention from prestigious firms because they assume we are all uninformed rednecks – an assumption that is both unfortunate and inaccurate.” However, another more content second-year counters, “As a native Alabamian, I am interested in finding long-term employment either in my home state or in Washington, DC. The school has been very helpful in creating connections for me, both through UA Law alumni and through the DC externship program.”
Campus Life/Facilities: UA manages to foster a warm and welcoming environment and this collegial atmosphere certainly extends to the law students. Indeed, “Alabama has heart, ambition, and an attitude that really encourages teamwork. Outlines and notes circulate through so many students—there is no required “quid pro quo” in that regard. We just believe in each other.” A second year student concurs stating, “Everyone operates with a sense of respect and professionalism toward one another…with a little “Southern Hospitality,” everyone always lends a helping hand, so the competition is outweighed by our southern charm.” “The average student is young and direct from college,” and “usually” comes directly from Alabama “or from a neighboring state.”
Students describe themselves as “very smart” and “down-to-earth.” Politically, it is a pretty conservative atmosphere, though you will find students with a range of interests and viewpoints nonetheless. While the UA law population is “not very diverse,” “in recent years, racial and geographic diversity has been a priority of the law school. The average age of law students has increased as well.” One ecstatic third year buoys this sentiment sharing, “I’m a Yankee, but the people down here are second to none. I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything.”
While most students here are diligent workers, one-second year also assures us that they “know how to have a little fun” as well. A fellow student agrees adding, “It has been very easy for me to make several good friends among very diverse individuals with differing interests. While we study a great deal we also find time to hit up the bars in large groups.” Additionally, “The Student Bar Association throws parties every other week, and the students all socialize together.” Tuscaloosa offers “great weather” and “it’s a great college town.” Be forewarned though, for those not “super interested” in football “[it is considered] sacrilegious down here.” Indeed, Alabama’s social scene generally “revolves around sports,” and “football is a near-religious experience.” And devotion to the Crimson Tide certainly extends to the law school. In fact, students have their own cheering section, “right there with the fraternities.” As a first year student admits, “We schedule our work so we can attend Crimson Tide ball games.” If you “don’t like football you’ll probably have a harder time finding your niche.” However, others assure us that “it is possible to escape and do your own thing.” “Birmingham is an awesome city a mere forty-five minutes away from Tuscaloosa and it offers everything an urbanite could need,” including “fantastic shopping, excellent restaurants, lots of young singles, a sense of community, and even a little bit of the hipster scene (somewhat of a rarity in Alabama).”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.