DePaul University College of Law
Academics & Programs: Located in the heart of Chicago near the major courthouses and law offices, DePaul University’s College of Law “stresses practical instruction across the board” while enabling its students to get “as much practical experience in the legal community as they can handle while still going to class.” “My corporate law, evidence, and tax classes were all centered on learning the law and applying it in future practice,” says a grateful 2L. The plethora of practical skills courses that are offered, such as Trial Advocacy and Commercial Arbitration, are also “geared entirely toward teaching students how to employ those skills when they leave the law school.” “Through the Field Placement program as well as the legal clinics, I have gained some very useful practical lawyering skills while getting school credit,” says a 3L.
With only 240 students in the school’s full-time day program, the grading curve can be tough, but this also means that there are “very small classes so each student gets individual attention.” “My class only has twelve students and it’s very easy to visit office hours for help,” says a student. Nearly all of the classes here are also available in the evening. Everyone agrees that the faculty at DePaul is “incredible” and “impressive” in terms of teaching effectiveness and professional experience, with “excellent connections not just in Chicago, but even internationally as well.” “I really can’t applaud the faculty enough,” says a 3L. This “highly approachable, interesting, animated, and even really funny” group of instructors “really care about their classes and the students.”
Though some people feel the law school administration is “incredibly receptive,” many are on the “very frustrated” side of the fence, feeling that there is “more of an overall student focus” rather than an outreach to individuals. Career services “seems like they always need improvement in helping students—non-law-review students—to get a job.” Given the breadth of the school’s alumni (which includes three former Chicago mayors), DePaul “definitely opens doors to almost any practice area imaginable” within Chicago, which is “one of the largest legal markets in the country.” “Try finding any firm in the greater metropolitan area that doesn’t have a DePaul Law grad,” challenges a student. Still, Catholic-affiliated DePaul remains a service-oriented school, and for many, “the desire to advocate for the country’s less fortunate is stronger than the desire to make money.”
Campus Life/Facilities: Students readily admit that DePaul’s classroom facilities are “outdated” and “definitely need to revamp,” though “some of the high-tech gadgets do the trick.” In addition, the law school is in the middle of a substantial renovation of its facilities, scheduled to wrap up in fall 2011. The library here is more than “complete,” with full access to Westlaw and LexisNexis DePaul touts its diversity, which most students feel is up to par with the city that surrounds it.
“Everyone has their own background that [they bring] to the experience of school to aid in the workplace after graduation,” says a student. The school’s small size can lead to some “clique-ish” tendencies, but “anyone who wants an active social life can have one.” DePaul’s location certainly helps to expand social horizons, as the easy access to non-DePaul activities and people means that “the school is not the normal college bubble.” Students “are hard-pressed to not find fun stuff to do, given that we’re in a huge city.” There is also a “very popular” study abroad program that is given at a substantial discount (per credit hour) to encourage students to attend. Outside of the city’s offerings, there are “always events for students to put on and get involved in,” and the administration also recently upgraded the registered student organization facilities to allow for the creation of more student organizations.
Though “the school is competitive,” there is a real sense of community among students and “a great balance between working very hard during the week and having a social life on the weekends. Everyone is “supportive,” though people “are not here to baby you, but help you advance your career in an enjoyable environment.” The student body tends to be “extremely liberal politically but very conservative morally.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.