Chapman University School of Law
Academics & Programs: Chapman University School of Law is located “in the heart of Southern California,” “just minutes away from the Orange County courts and only thirty-five miles from downtown” Los Angeles. “The law school itself is beautiful.” “The facilities are state-ofthe-art,” “very modern,” “grand yet cozy,” and generally “amazing.” “Classrooms are a dream.” Study space is ample. “The research facilities leave students wanting for nothing.” “It is a very nice environment in which to spend large amounts of time.” And it’s not just all the bells and whistles that make Chapman great—Chapman offers the academic heft to complement its beautiful facilities. The school boasts two law journals and a unique certificate program in entertainment law. Certificates are also available in tax law, international law, business law, environmental law and land use, and dispute resolution. Moot court and other trial competition teams are perennial powerhouses. There are “numerous clinics that provide valuable experience in a broad range of fields,” including a family violence clinic, a meditation clinic, and a constitutional jurisprudence clinic. Students seeking international exposure can study abroad in England. “Chapman also has a very comprehensive bar preparation program that it provides for students at no additional cost” during the spring and summer of their third year.
Class sizes tend to be smaller here, which affords “a very intimate feeling, unlike that of a larger school,” and students have nothing but praise for their professors. The faculty is brimming with “fun, brilliant” profs who are “challenging but not patronizing.” Outside of class, faculty members are reportedly “easily accessible and always open to discussion with students.” In class, “they manage to make even subjects like federal income tax exciting.” “We have professors that quote popular television shows during class, sing songs about the subject matter, and make witty comments that make us laugh to lighten the mood between the times when they scare us to death with the Socratic method,” relates a 1L.
Administratively, complaints are rare. “It’s an ongoing ‘love-in’ between the administration and the students,” explains a 2L. “It’s like Woodstock, only without the hallucinogenic substances and endless rain.” The top brass reportedly provides “overwhelming and unending support” and “really cares about making the school better.” “They have tons of money,” adds a 3L, “and they spend it pretty effectively.”
High grades are difficult to achieve on a consistent basis here. Students also point out that Chapman’s reputation beyond the immediate area “could improve.” “The legal community outside of Orange County doesn’t know much about the school,” laments a 3L, although “the administration is working hard” to change that, starting with the recent hiring of a new high profile dean with connections throughout the state.
Campus Life/Facilities: “Chapman has a reputation as being a conservative school,” explains a 3L,”but I think that reputation is true only when compared to other schools.” Students agree, “Chapman has strong diversity of thought.” “Regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political views, religious preference, or cultural background, the social fabric of the Chapman community is tightly knit, and no one is viewed as an outsider here.” “Being a liberal student, I have not felt uncomfortable in any way,” declares another 3L. “Quite the opposite, the school has always fostered an environment of healthy discussion and acceptance of all students.”
Beyond politics, students here are “witty, darn[ed] smart, and pleasant to be around.” The Chapman Law population is comprised of “very social” younger students and older students who “seem to spend more time studying and less time hanging out at school, so that when they have free time, they can spend it with their families.” The “relaxed but rigorous” academic atmosphere is “very community-oriented.” “Everyone is aware that we’re being curved against each other, but that doesn’t stop us from helping each other succeed,” relates a 2L. “Everyone pushes each other to success.” “Law students do compete for grades,” though, and there are definitely “competitive undertones.”
When students have the time or just can’t bring themselves to brief another case, “There are plenty of opportunities to steal away” from course work. For one thing, “the weather is always perfect.” “There is a club for everyone.” “The school is also very successful in bringing in high-level speakers, including judges and well-known academics.” “A multitude of dialogues, lectures, and panels “presents various legal issues and different perspectives on those issues. “The school is located in an area with a ton of fun restaurants and bars right down the street” as well.
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.
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