I have had an excellent time attending and graduating from the University of the District of Columbia Law School. However, like any law school, it has its pros and cons.
Pro: Lower tutition than most law schools. Residency is assessed every year so you do not have to wait two years as with most.
Pro: Small class sizes. Friendly, helpful, invested professors.
Pro: Professors with a broad range of experience. Some are judges, we have a nobel prize winner, some have argued in front of the supreme court. All have been practicing attorneys.
Pro (that is also a con): Entire educational experience is geared towards bar passage. Bar classes are the most encouraged. The con of this is that there is not a wide variety of elective courses available as comparable to other law schools.
Pro: Closeknit classes. No rankings. No class percentage postings. Less competitive environment at the University of the District of Columbia Law School than other DC law schools.
Con: Ugly school. The school as a whole and the law school itself leave a lot to be desired as far as atmosphere. Although, the new law library is beautiful!
Con: Smaller school = more drama.
Pro: you're in DC - duh. More amazing internship opportunities, more legal exposure - more political exposure - firsthand working knowledge of both political and legal system in a way you can't get other places.
Con: VERY poor career services dept. This has been a running complaint of University of the District of Columbia Law School students.
Pro: Such a good networking system in place with professors, other students and the dean --- most of us don't have trouble regardless of our career services person.
Pro and Con: mandatory clinic. Not just a little - A LOT. 700 Hours - this is 7 credits for two straight semesters. Its exhausting, you don't get a big say in picking which clinic you get -- you sacrifice time that could be spent with elective courses and clinics sometime get in the way of your core classes. Pro - experience like no other. Most graduates do not have significant legal experience - you have a year of it. 700+ hours to be exact. I have gained skills that I believe Icould confidently practice with immediately. This also lends to contacts and recommendations.
Con: The administration of the University of the District of Columbia Law School can be more than a little disorganized/laxidasical.
Pro: The administration is available and approachable.
Pro: the most unbelievably awesome Financial Aid Director - Anne -- in existence. She MAKES SURE you have enough money to stay at the law school and get your bills paid. She's wonderful, really. it would be a great loss to the University of the District of Columbia Law School if she left.
Con: The law school doesn't have a lot of prestige - either in DC or in the larger legal community. Although, since it is now fully accredited - this may rapidly change. Unfortunately, the University of the District of Columbia Law School is regarded as the worst law school in DC.
Pro: Diversity. In every way -- women, men, straight, gay, latin, african american, white, asian.
Con: Racial tension. Religious tension. A school that encourages students to have a voice and speak their mind sometimes invites divisiveness that can get to the point of distraction.
Pro: Scholarships. We get lots of them. Period.
Con: High-paying jobs post-graduation. Not so much.
Pro: Help paying for bar prep classes.
Overall, I definitely recommend the University of the District of Columbia Law School. I have had a basically great experience there. The professors at UDC such as Professors Mack, McClain, Judge Pryor, Judge Lee, Professor Gellhorn, Professors Tulman and Batipps -- along with many others -- believe in absolute excellence and are so personally involved with students that you want to give it to them.
Of course, time will tell regarding the bar exam and jobs but the University of the District of Columbia Law School is a highly underrated school that produces excellent lawyers. I would have any one of my classmates represent me. Not to mention - we've had a lot of fun together.
A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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