I'll give you my take as just about to start my 2E year, and having taken summer school right after.
The administration at Catholic is what you make of it. If you need something done, you need to be proactive and schedule appointments with the right people to get things done. They aren't going to come looking for you. In a way, that's life. If you need something, you have to be proactive about it. That said, every interaction I've had with the Registrar, Financial Aid, and Student Services has always gone smoothly. Financial Aid, in particular, is exceptionally helpful.
As for the quality of teaching, which the exception of my LSP teacher (Woods - horrible), and Torts (Ogilvy - ok, but not inspiring), every other teacher I've had at Catholic has been incredible. Property, Contracts, Civil Procedure were all taught extremely well, and I feel I have a firm basis in these core subjects. I also have the grades to prove it. Instead of opting for their 1E "write-on" to the journals (where you can only get on the three alternate journals and not on the main law review), I decided to take summer classes....Evidence by Barracato and the weird Social Justice and the Law Class. By far, Barracato stole the show in terms of teaching Evidence. I work at a law firm doing litigation and I feel like I live and breath the subject now. Two days after the final I was giving advice to attorneys I work with, and a week later they had me drafting Motions in Limine over some pretty thorny evidentiary issues. I can write on as a 2E and get onto any of the journals, including the main one. I'm not sweating a hard write on; so what if I have to analyze 500 pages. That's being a lawyer IMO. I had to review 500 pages of case law just to draft one of the motions I just referred to.
As for the Lawyering Skills class, I honestly think it's a joke. I can understand for someone that has no previous experience with legal writing, the class being a basis in which to learn the ropes. But I was a good legal writer and researcher before I even got to Catholic (I had collaborated in research and briefing cases in the Sixth Circuit for a year and a half prior.) So there was a huge clash of ideals; LSP wants formula writing; I want good persuasive writing. I was graded off significantly because I didn't follow the cookie cutter format that LSP tries to get you to do. LSP was my lowest grade, but I'm glad I didn't let them corrupt my writing ability. I can only hope the upper level writing classes allow one to stretch out and exercise style.
As for Career Services and OCI? I've only had limited involvement. I do know that I was pretty suitably impressed with the firms that do OCI on campus. I know Catholic grads at most major firms in town. I also know that a boatload of the mid-level and smaller firms in town are heavily populated with Catholic grads, as well as the federal government. Whatever we "slipped" to in the rankings hasn't made a bit of a difference that I can see in terms of interest. I can't answer for certain, however, much more about career services, because I don't start focusing on that until this coming semester. We haven't had a boatload of notices that firms were canceling OCI like I've seen from other schools, so that is pretty encouraging. If anything, the slip in rankings is due to the recent addition of the evening division stats to the day division stats in the U.S. News report. Almost every other program with a night school dropped as well.
Yes, there are some white shoe firms that skip Catholic over. Their loss IMO. I'm not the type to fret about it, especially because the working environment in a lot of those firms seems pretty dismal if you are paying attention to Vault rankings. Firms I'm interested in come here; they also come to Howard, GW, GT, Mason and AU. There are D.C. Superior Court judges that are alums (and heavily recruit clerks from here) and some notable alums in the D.C. federal district court as well. A decent amount of grads leave for clerkships. Catholic goes way out of their way to ensure your bar passage. And if Career Services was that bad, you'd think our employment rate after graduation would be a lot lower than it is.
I have no doubt that graduating in the top 10 of my class and working the right angles (law review and/or moot court) will get me to where I want to go. And last, with the ridiculous price of this education, I'd be a fool to turn down the scholarship they offered me a the end of my first year to try and transfer elsewhere. I'm looking at the economy and it doesn't look good. Student loan debt is already a ridiculous drain on the incomes of students when they graduate. So I'll take the money, a small amount of loans, pay off the rest with my income from work and I'll be maybe 30k in the hole at graduation. Not 140k + like some other people.
(Oh, sidenote on "liberal" vs. "conservative" - yeah, there are a lot of conservatives in the school, students and faculty. Since I'm uber-liberal, I had some concerns at the beginning that it might be a problem. I've had none. There was absolutely no spin in any of our classes except for one isolated case in property where the professor said we were free to read a case, but she would not be discussing it because of the subject matter (which was against Catholic Church teachings). In the Social Justice and the Law class, we were actually encouraged to talk about our varying beliefs (and the application of these to the law). There was a great deal of perspective in that class and none of it was judged harshly. Lastly, I've made a lot of friends in my class, and some of them are so conservative as to be reactionary. But every last one of them is a decent human being and we just happen to disagree. I've gotten no preaching about my evil ways; nor have I had to be subjected to a tirade on the conservative hot topic of the day.)
SeanSatori, thanks so much for that information-- especially the summary of conservative/ liberal thought. As a liberal myself, it worried me more than a little. Best wishes on your 2nd year. Orientation starts next Wednesday for me