University of Colorado Law School
Academics & Programs: “Much like Boulder itself, the University of Colorado Law School provides a small, laid-back and friendly community” where “it is easy to interact with everyone.” However, despite the relaxed atmosphere on campus, the academics at CU “are superb” and the professors “are top-notch and, for the most part, extremely interesting people, from all walks of life.” CU boasts “phenomenal environmental and natural resources law programs with a huge range of course offerings,” as well as “the best American Indian Law program” in the country. To top it off, cutting-edge classes are delivered in the new state of the art Wolf Law Building, which is “entirely green” and “probably the most intuitive and modern law school building in the country.”
Students at CU say that when it comes to the study of law, they have the best of all worlds; “We have an Ivy League faculty without the Ivy League smog, the Ivy League vindictiveness, or the Ivy League flatlands.” The school mixes “scholarly integrity and relaxed informali[ty].” In addition to the strength of its environmental and natural resources programs, “The entrepreneurial/IP law program is top-notch and well-connected to the MBA program and local business scene.” The “technology/business law courses (including the Silicon Flatirons program, the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic, and the Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology Law),” are other strengths.
Academically, “This school is very sound.” Students say the curriculum offers “a good mix of theory and practical [instruction],” in a “positive atmosphere” with “moderate class size.” However, some feel that “not enough value is placed on learning how to practice law; too much value is placed on abstract academic exercises.” Fortunately, the school recently expanded its experiential learning opportunities; in addition to the nine legal clinics, a practical component has been included in more than fifteen classes, like legal negotiation.
The faculty at CU “create[s] an interest in the material through a positive and dynamic presentation rather than through fear of being made to look foolish through an unforgiving Socratic style.” Students say top-notch faculty are continually drawn to the school for its ideal weather and location; “I am really challenged and taught by very talented professors. In fact, I find most of their backgrounds to be quite intimidating. Yet, all of the professors are highly accessible and friendly. Ultimately, they want everyone to succeed.” Others lightheartedly joke, “Faculty range from jeans and cowboy boots– wearing, Western-focused, law wizards to small, nerdy-looking, East Coast types. Watching them interact is a treat and a learning experience in itself.”
When it comes to areas where they would like to see improvement, students say it comes down to three simple words: “Employment, employment, employment.” During 2011, the school restructured and added new staff to the Career Development Office, expanding career-related programming, employer outreach, and networking opportunities on campus. However, when it comes to the top brass, “The law school administration is next to perfect.” “Everyone is surprisingly approachable, from the dean to the library research staff.” Students at the University of Colorado Law School say they “couldn’t imagine attending school in a more beautiful place.” “The law school is nestled at the bottom of the famous Boulder Flatirons and is only a few blocks from Chautauqua Park, Boulder’s contribution to the Chautauqua Movement.” The quality of life in Boulder “is second-to-none; finding something exhilarating to do outside law school is never, ever a problem. And whereas some schools focus on a cutthroat academic experience, the University of Colorado encourages a collaborative atmosphere where students feel like family.”
Campus Life/Facilities: Most students at CU “have a strong appreciation of life outside of law school that mitigates the workaholic tendencies of law students in general.” The school hosts social gatherings once a week (sponsored by different student organizations) “making it a great place for a social life.” In addition, “there are lots of great student organizations, one of which runs a mentorship program for incoming 1Ls which really helps incomers get adjusted to law school life and meet people.” CU’s new, environmentally friendly, LEED-certified building “is gorgeous, and the view from the library is the foothills of the Rockies—if you have to spend all day studying—it doesn’t get much better!”
Boulder is often touted as “a bohemian paradise.” But city-folk be warned. Boulder lovers joke, “Those coming from and who are used to metropolitan/urban life…won’t find it here. Denver is only twenty minutes away, but it seems like a world away most of the time. If you like fun people, beer, snowboarding/skiing, and living the nostalgia of college life, you’ll love it out here.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.