University of Arkansas William H. Bowen School of Law
Academics & Programs: The “perfectly sized” University of Arkansas—Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law is located “right in the heart of downtown Little Rock”—“the economic and government center of the state”—and it is thoroughly “tied into the local community through its connections with legislators, judges, government agencies, and private firms.” Clerkships and externships are “bountiful.” Access to part-time jobs at law firms is “second to none.” Other perks at UALR include three clinical programs, five dual-degree programs, and “a bargain-basement price.” There are around twenty different areas of concentration here and some students tell us that “the overall breadth of course choices makes it possible to study almost any topic you find particularly interesting.” Others grumble that course selection is actually pretty limited. “Students here get a strong, basic legal education,” says a 2L. “However, if you want more variety in more subject-specific courses, you won’t really find them at this school.”
Professors “expect you to come to class prepared.” The faculty is “highly qualified, and there is a great mix of” adjuncts who teach specialized courses. Not every professor is great but most are “dedicated” teachers “who really want to see their students learn.” “They make sure we understand,” says a 1L, “and if we don’t, they go back over it.” Students also laud the legal writing program and say that the “writing instructors epitomize true excellence in their fields.” Outside of class, faculty members are reportedly “very approachable.” “The student body is small enough that you can have ample one-on-one time with the profs after hours,” reports a 3L, “if you’re brave enough.” Student opinion concerning the administration is drastically split. Some students call management “incompetent.” “The school is run like a low-budget movie set,” charges a 2L. Other students contend that UALR is “very well-run.” “The administration is very helpful and accessible,” they contend, and the deans make “an effort to hear student comments and feedback, and implement changes accordingly.”
Campus Life/Facilities: The law school itself is “ugly-looking from the outside” and it’s “in a rough section of town.” The facility is “very pretty” on the inside, though, “with great marble stairs” and “nice views” from the upper levels. Incidentally, we think the “haunted floors” are just a legend. “Classrooms are top-notch” “with plenty of outlets” for laptops. “This law school is one of the only schools in the nation with state-of-the-art video lecture capture in nearly every room,” beams a 3L. “Missed something in class? Watch it again, including any slides or videos that were shown.” The building is also “fully equipped for Wi-Fi access and remote printing.” There’s a fabulous student lounge, too. Even “parking is awesome,” which is something law students at many schools complain about to high heaven. “Overall, our school works to provide us with a comfortable environment,” says a 2L. The spacious library is “the law library for the state of Arkansas, so it is excellent,” too. The staff is “phenomenal.” It’s a public library, though, and “There are definitely some pro se misfits who can be distracting.”
Some students call UALR “a diverse school.” Others argue, “There is not much diversity,” beyond a solid contingent of nontraditional, older students. Views of the academic atmosphere also vary. “There are some students who are very competitive,” relates a 3L, “and there are others like me who do the best that I can regardless of what others do.” Other students say, “There is no rivalry” when it come to grades. “There is a definite sense that we are all in this together,” says a 1L, “and most everyone is willing to help out a fellow student if that students asks.
Socially, it’s “a very congenial atmosphere.” “There are plenty of student organizations.” In addition, there are “wonderful lunch meetings and seminars, as well as dinner programs on a regular basis that accommodate both part-time and full-time students.” “The school is intimate and definitely allows for getting acquainted with people,” reports a 2L, though “if you’re not from Arkansas it is a lot harder to find a social niche.” Also, “there does seem to be a line” between the students who find it “hard turning down the temptation of going out” and those who would rather crack the books all day, every day. Beyond the confines of the law school, Little Rock is “the largest city in Arkansas,” but it’s “still a small town” that approximates “a suburb” when compared to a lot of bigger cities. “There is not a whole lot to do in Little Rock outside of school,” explains a 2L. “There is a downtown area with bars and shops, but nothing huge.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.