Hamline University School of Law
Academics & Programs: In addition to the traditional full-time program, the excellent and “extremely underrated” Hamline University School of Law in Minnesota’s Twin Cities offers a unique part-time, four-year weekend program that “truly creates flexibility for people who want to keep their present job.” “Hamline takes a practical approach to legal education that has…a regional reputation for creating graduates who are strong legal writers and are ready to work Day One,” explains a 2L. “Hamline graduates end up being the attorneys who like getting their hands dirty and who are probably the most realistic and practical of the law school [graduates] in the area.” There are eleven clinics and twelve specialized areas of focus on offer. Hamline does health law “exceptionally well,” but the crown jewel is the Dispute Resolution Institute, where students learn the art of the deal. Other perks include an Academic Success Program, which offers structured study groups, workshops, and one-on-one tutoring for free. Study abroad options include programs in Hungary, Israel, and Norway. According to many students, “The writing program is also fantastic.” Not everyone loves it, though. “It feels really self-taught,” grouses a 1L.
Classes at Hamline are usually conducted in “a semi-Socratic atmosphere.” “The majority of professors use the Socratic Method or some sort of system that includes calling on unsuspecting students, but not in a bad way,” relates a 3L. Students have very few negative comments about the faculty. “The professors are great.” They are “outstanding educators who are passionate about their work,” and they “provide a diverse range of expertise and experiences.” Once class is over, profs are “highly accessible outside of the classroom” and “individual attention” is plentiful if you seek it out. Some students love the top brass as well. “The administration keeps everything running very smoothly,” says a 1L, “such that I don’t need to waste any of my time untangling messes.” “The administration is strongly focused on the law school experience from start to graduation,” emphasizing “bar passage, and career development,” adds a 2L. Other students complain that management is “unwilling to respond to student problems with course registration or student complaints.”
Opinions regarding Career Services are decidedly mixed. Critics charge that the staff “hardly does anything worthwhile to help students with their job searches or career issues.” Other students counter that Career Services is “incredibly helpful, open, and dedicated to helping students find jobs, internships, and develop skills of professionalism,” as well as careers after graduation. A strong alumni network also helps in this regard. “Hamline alumni have been very helpful in connecting me with other attorneys and notifying me when they hear of opportunities that [they] know I am interest[ed] in,” notes a 2L.
Campus Life/Facilities: According to students, “The appearance of the law school building is lackluster.” “The interior of the building is comfortable but could be updated.” “Some new carpet here and there wouldn’t be a bad thing.” However, “The classrooms are all up-to-date with the latest technology, including plug-ins for your laptop.”
A “community atmosphere” is pervasive at Hamline, though the student body is really composed of two very different subgroups. The younger students in the full-time day program here are “competitive but not cutthroat.” “Generally, the students are friendly toward each other and are willing to help each other out,” relates a 2L. “There are a few zealots, but they tend to identify themselves quickly so you know who to avoid.” “I am very comfortable providing my classmates with help and frequently receive assistance in return,” adds a 1L. Meanwhile, students in the part-time, weekend program say their program has its own “very special, very communal essence.” “The weekend program students have a wealth of experience and are extremely welcoming,” explains a 1L. “Law school is merely one important component in our lives.”
Socially, “There are cliques and ‘in’ groups,” but “common courtesy” and Midwestern affability is ubiquitous. Intramural sports are pretty popular. There are over two dozen clubs and organizations. The location provides plenty of options for culture and nightlife as well. “The campus is within walking distance of several great ethnic restaurants” and bar review on Thursday nights “at different bars in the Twin Cities area” is pretty well attended.
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.