University of Notre Dame Law School
Academics & Programs: True to its Catholic heritage, the University of Notre Dame Law School boasts a “strong moral center” with “lots of emphasis on being a ‘different kind of lawyer.’” Students are drawn here for the school’s “academic rigor,” “world-renowned faculty,” “affordable tuition,” “clinical opportunities,” “national name,” “small class sizes,” and impressive “alumni network.” Students say, “The Catholic character of our law school is one of our greatest strengths.” Others concur, “Notre Dame’s Catholic character only adds to the richness of the legal education. Schools that downplay morals, faith, and religion are only giving you half of the story.” Many say that by and large the professors here “are exceptional teachers,” as well as “respected academics who get published and make contributions to the field.” Instructors also “incorporate ethical dilemmas and large questions of law rather than black letter law.” As one 1L notes, “Fifty percent of my first year core curriculum was taught by professors who clerked for the U.S. Supreme Court.”
The “family-like atmosphere of the students and the faculty” “makes a very great learning environment.” Some say the faith-based nature of the school can lead to heated in-class discussions; “We have a few more conservative professors and students than many other schools, so when we have discussions we really hear a diversity of viewpoints.” Others say the school can be a bit “homogeneous and conservative for a university of its stature. Everyone’s very nice and generally respectful, but being a diversity student here takes some thick skin.” For those seeking alternate opportunities to traditional course work, the University of Notre Dame offers “the London Law Program, where students can spend their entire second year…exposed to the global legal community, and are taught by both English and American faculty.” Notre Dame “also places a strong emphasis on public interest law careers, and offers students summer scholarships for those who work for public organizations who cannot afford to pay them.”
Campus Life/Facilities: Thanks to recent renovations, when it comes to classroom facilities, Notre Dame is “second-to-none!” The new Eck Hall of Law opened in January 2009 and it is” both architecturally impressive and technologically advanced.” The law school’s other building, Biolchini Hall, was recently gutted and completely renovated, and now includes plentiful library and study space, a new computer lab, and high-tech classrooms. The administration at Notre Dame has recently undergone some transition, and change is underfoot. After some revolving door action, the school’s Career Services office is now at full staff, providing some stability for the students.
Set on one of “the most beautiful campuses in America,” Notre Dame boasts “a very strong sense of community.” ND law students “like to balance work with play.” There are “frequent social events sponsored by the Student Bar Association.” “Relations among students are good—there are lots of law school social events and parties that people go to.” Others note “a camaraderie that I believe is unrivaled by other law schools. Located in South Bend, the surrounding town “is not the most cosmopolitan place, though it isn’t as bad as some people make it out to be.” Others say South Bend is “a fun college town.” The cost of living is “really reasonable.” However, due to the school’s small size, “social life can be a little bit NDLSHS (Notre Dame Law School High School).” For those looking to get away for the weekend, “The proximity to Chicago is great.” And if you like sports, “There is no better place to go!” ND is “one of the most active law schools in the country in terms of intramural sports.” “Football games and tailgating really are fun, too.” As one student jokes, “There is no better way to make immediate bonds with classmates than tailgating under the watchful eye of Touchdown Jesus.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.