Cleveland State University College of Law
Academics & Programs: Students at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law call their school “a diamond in the rough.” The focus here is squarely on bar preparation and practical training. “The greatest strengths are the opportunities for real-world experience,” says a 3L. There are a half dozen clinics and they cover a wide range of legal areas. Externships with judges, government entities, and public interest groups are “readily available” in Cleveland and the greater metropolitan area. The moot court program is strong. The legal writing program thoroughly emphasizes “advocacy skills.” If students run into academic difficulties, they can take advantage of Cleveland-Marshall’s academic support programs, which provide group training and one-on-one assistance to help students with their course work. Areas of concentration are available in business law, civil litigation and dispute resolution, criminal law, employment law, health law, and international law. There are five dual-degree programs and three journals. Cleveland-Marshall Law is also quite a bargain, particularly if you are an Ohio resident.
“On average, Marshall professors are knowledgeable, passionate, and approachable,” relates a 2L. “I have never been taught something as inherently boring as civil procedure in such an invigorating manner,” beams a 1L. Professors are also generally accessible outside the classroom. The “excellent” administration is “extremely open to student interaction and answers questions and concerns promptly.” However, “Heading to the main campus to get administrative stuff done can be tedious.” Students’ biggest academic complaint involves the distribution of grades. The curve here, which permits faculty members to give over fifty percent of all 1Ls a grade of C+ or lower, can be pretty rough.
More than seventy-five percent of all newly minted graduates take jobs in either private practice or the corporate world. The overwhelming majority of ClevelandMarshall’s alumni practice in Ohio and the school’s reputation is very solid throughout the northeastern part of the state. Students rave about Cleveland-Marshall Law’s “connection to the Cleveland legal community” as well as “a supportive, active alumni base that extends opportunities to anyone who seeks them The part-time program at Cleveland-Marshall is pretty large and “evening and day students do have very different experiences.” As you would expect, full-timers are generally younger while part-timers are older and have “more time in the real world” already under their belts. “In my class, we have architects, engineers, law enforcement officials, researchers, bankers, and people with other varying careers,” says a part-time 2L. Some part-time students complain that they are “excluded from a lot of school activities and classes.” Others assert that “the full- and part-timers are treated equally.” “I am a fulltime 3L who frequently takes night classes due to my part-time work schedule and I haven’t noticed a divide between night and day professors’ focus on the students,” explains one student. “Some of the best professors I have had in law school teach night classes.”
Campus Life/Facilities: Cleveland-Marshall Law is located in downtown Cleveland on the main campus of the larger university, which means that part-time work at local firms is easy to come by throughout the year. According to some students, “the facilities could be a little fancier.” Most say that the layout of the law school is “not only aesthetically pleasing but functional,” though. “The library is great.” “The new addition is modern and beautiful,” relates a 1L. “It’s eye-catching from the street and a great place for students to study or relax between classes.”
Student opinion concerning the academic atmosphere is mixed. Some students flatly call it “competitive.” Others, staking something of a middle ground, say that “people are friendly and willing to help, most of the time.” Still others describe “a great sense of camaraderie.” “Students here help one another better than at any institution I’ve ever encountered,” declares a 3L. Socially, clubs and extracurricular activities are abundant. “The student bar association plans fun socials at least once a month with free food and drinks for students to unwind.” “Everyone seems to fall into whatever groups make them happy and things move right along.” “Most of the students know one another,” explains a 3L. “We have lockers, prom (Barrister’s Ball), socials, drama, and tons of drinking.” Beyond the law school orbit, Cleveland isn’t generally listed among the greatest cities in the United States but there really are a lot of charming neighborhoods and the cost of living is comparatively low.
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.