Loyola Marymount University Law School
Academics & Programs: Loyola Law School (affiliated with Loyola Marymount University, or the “mothership”) is “an understated gem” in downtown Los Angeles that “seeks to create top lawyers who use the profession for the betterment of society and [to] give back to [the] legal community.” It’s a generally happy place that quite simply seeks to make good lawyers, send them out to the world, and repeat; all the people associated with the school, from students to staff, are accordingly pleasant and uncomplicated, if not a little resentful of the relative anonymity as compared to the other law schools in the area. As one 1L puts it, “Masochists would be disappointed at Loyola. For legal torture, look elsewhere in Los Angeles.”
Professors are “smart [and] demanding yet understanding of the pressures of a first-year law student.” They are of “the highest caliber” and “set the bar high, but [they] give you all of the tools to use at your discretion to meet that bar.” Classes are “lively and enjoyable,” and teachers keep their doors open for whatever’s troubling the masses. “Every professor I have had seems to truly care about the success of their students, both inside and outside the classroom,” says a student.
The curriculum itself offers “a strong foundation in legal theory but also the practical skills necessary to excel in the workplace,” including a comprehensive legal research and writing program. There are a “broad range of specialists within a variety of fields” to help students narrow down their field of focus, and many “solid opportunities for public interest law,” as well as “a tremendous trial advocacy program, moot court, and three law reviews.”
However, all of this opportunity comes at a private school price, and financial aid is not easy as easy to come by as most students would like. “A break in $40,000 tuition payments would be nice. For a school that boasts itself on public interest, taking out well over $100,000 in tuition loans doesn’t exactly amend itself to accepting a $50,000 per year public interest job,” says a 3L. Graduates of LLS mainly practice in California and L.A., so the school enjoys a much greater reputation within the state than it does nationally, and for those who do stay nearby (very much the majority), the alumni networking opportunities are strong.
As for the administrators, most here have little to no problems with the administration, which “not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.” That is, aside from the Registrar’s office, which “is like talking to a brick wall. They need to listen and think about what you are saying before they respond with the scripted answer.”
Campus Life/Facilities: The law school has its own “cozy” and completely separate campus from Loyola Marymount, so there are “no undergrads taking up the library study rooms.” The school operates a shuttle, which takes students to the financial district and the new L.A. Live entertainment complex every fifteen minutes, which means that “courts, law firms, and our city’s phenomenal entertainment are basically our campus.” As expected, happy students make for a happy campus. Competition is at a low here; notes and outlines “are regularly shared,” and “There has not been one hint of dirty competition at all.” “I can’t imagine a better atmosphere considering the pressures of first year. The 2Ls and 3Ls have been amazingly supportive too,” says one first-year. Even outside of the classroom, everyone is “peculiarly friendly”—one student was “caught off guard by how helpful everybody was.” There is always something new and exciting going on, from “bowling to benefit the public interest law foundation, to lunches with European patent scholars, to social outings at hot bars and clubs around town.” Panel lunches with industry leaders are well-attended at Loyola, and “You could probably go to a meeting and eat for free every day if you wanted.”
One of the reasons the lunch hour is so heavily trafficked is the high number of commuters who go to school here, which limits after-class time as an option for socializing and means that “developing a large social network isn’t as easy as it might be if everyone lived right next to campus” (where everyone also agrees that it would “be nice if we had a gym”). However, the SBA and student organizations “do a good job of scheduling social activities to bring students closer,” and this social bunch obliges for the most part. Downtown L.A. has also undergone a massive revitalization effort, and everyone agrees that it is “incredibly convenient.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.