Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law
Academics & Programs: Mercer University School of Law strikes the “perfect balance” between a “familial atmosphere” and one of “healthy competition” thanks to its “smaller size,” which “allows for close relationships with other students and productive interaction with professors,” and its “emphasis on practical training in the law.” “I feel like I’m getting an Ivy League education, but without the higher price tag and without having to move to New England,” explains a 1L. “The class sizes are very small compared to other law schools, which encourages thoughtful discussion in class, [and] the professors abide by an open-door policy and are always willing to provide extra help.” Most students here agree that the “outstanding” faculty is “interesting,” “engaging,” and “very welcoming.” “The professors that I have had thus far have all been brilliant academics, which can be intimidating at times—especially in the beginning—yet they have the ability to stimulate student thought through engaging discussion and have successfully trained me to ‘think like a lawyer,’” says a 2L. The “helpful and friendly” administration gets similarly high marks for being “extremely accessible.” “Many of the administrators are helpful, kind, and welcoming of suggestions and questions from the student body,” says a 2L.
Students at Mercer Law consider the “outstanding” and “second-to-none” legal writing program—in particular, the Writing Certificate Program—to be one of the school’s “greatest strengths.” According to a 2L, “As I have seen from moot court competition, higher-ranked schools don’t produce better writers than Mercer.” A 3L adds, “The substantial emphasis that Mercer Law places on developing superior legal writing skills is an asset that will distinguish all graduates throughout their legal careers.” However, students would like to see “more entertainment and [intellectual property] law classes” as well as a more relaxed curriculum. “I haven’t dealt with a curriculum this restrictive since I was in high school,” explains a 2L. “Not only are there specific courses that you have to take all the way through the first semester of your 3L year, there are certain blocks of courses from which you are required to choose ‘electives’…in order to graduate. If one of the block courses interferes with an elective you actually want to take then you are out of luck because most of the elective courses are only offered once a year since the student body is so small.”
When it comes to the Career Services Office, student opinion is divided between “terrible” and “wonderful.” “Even in a recession, they have managed to produce a large number of opportunities for on-campus interviews, and for other job opportunities as well,” says a 3L. However, another 3L would like to see Career Services “reach out to 3Ls who are struggling to find jobs in this terrible economy.” “I am in the top five percent of my class and have only managed to land three interviews since last fall. Though the school cannot change the fact that the economy has hurt the legal market, the school could do a better job to assist 3Ls and those who graduated last year.” Though the “facilities probably won’t win any beauty contests” due to “sterile” classrooms that could be “mistaken for conference rooms at a Holiday Inn,” the “great” law school building itself draws plenty of praise for its “Southern charm.” Students also appreciate the “well maintained” library and “renovations” that have provided a “comfortable work environment.
Campus Life/Facilities: With a “class size of about 150 students,” “everybody knows everybody” at Mercer Law. Despite “healthy competition,” students are “very friendly and accepting,” meaning that Mercer “does not suffer from the same cutthroat, book-stealing plague that runs rampant at the top-tier schools.” “It is amazing how open and cooperative the student body here is,” says a 1L. “I have yet to encounter any real drama or horror story concerning the cutthroat environment that I had heard about prior to entering law school.” Due to Mercer’s location in “the heart of the South,” students note that “conservative students” will feel “right at home.” “It’s not unusual for a class discussion with a left-leaning political note to be interrupted by the harrumphs and disapproving commentary from much of the rest of the class,” says a 2L. “It’s almost enough to make one not want to participate.”
Students insist that they’re “very social outside of school,” but as “it is law school,” opportunities to kick back can be slim. Luckily, student clubs and associations “consistently host fun social events, such as charity auctions, dances, and other parties.” When it comes to Mercer’s location in Macon, students are a little less sunny. “The only problem with Mercer is that it is in Macon, and downtown Macon, though on the verge of improving, is pretty depressed,” says a 1L. Macon’s lack of excitement can be “a blessing” since it means there are “few, if any, distractions” from academics. However, many students admit that while Macon “isn’t exactly the cultural capital of the world,” it’s “accessible” and “only an hour from Atlanta” if the need for more happening locales arises.
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.