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Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

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Cleveland Law school (established in 1897) and John Marshall School of Law (established in 1916) merged in 1946 to become the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Cleveland-Marshall has been affiliated with Cleveland State since 1969 and is thus considered a public school. USNews ranks Cleveland-Marshall's full-time program in the 3rd Tier, but their part -program is ranked #42 nationwide and #1 in Ohio.

Admissions & tuition

Last year, Cleveland-Marshall accepted 34% of all applicants, of whom 33% chose to attend. Full-time matriculants boasted median GPAs and LSAT scores of 3.46 and 156, respectively. Students applying with numbers near or below Cleveland-Marshall's 25th percentiles (3.19, 153) will likely need to be exceptional candidates to have much of a shot at admission.

Once admitted, students must pay for tuition. Fortunately, tuition at Cleveland-Marshall is pretty reasonable compared to that of many other law schools. As Cleveland-Marshall is a public school, tuition varies depending on one's state of residency. For full-time students, the cost is $16,764 for Ohio residents and $22,608 for non-residents. Part-timers pay $12,895 in-state and $17,689 out-of-state. Roughly 37% of the student body receives some form of grant aid, including about 6% on full scholarships.

Employment prospects & bar passage

The Bar passage rate at Cleveland-Marshall is impressive. On the 2008 Ohio Bar Examinations, 90% of Cleveland-Marshall graduates passed. Bar passage rates at Cleveland-Marshall have not, however, always been so impressive: The Class of 2005 managed only a 72% Bar passage rate, compared to a statewide average of 81%. Still, it is reasonable to conclude that Cleveland-Marshall students are generally well prepared for the Bar. 

Employment prospects for Cleveland-Marshall graduates are generally limited to Ohio and the immediately surrounding environs (although a tiny number of New York and DC firms do participate in Cleveland-Marshall's on-campus interview process). Biglaw is a possibility, as about 5% of Cleveland-Marshall graduates tend to work for NLJ250 firms after graduation, however it is a safe bet that those students finished at or very near the top of their classes.

Academics

1Ls at Cleveland-Marshall take the standard litany of 1L courses (Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Legal Writing, Property and Torts). After the first year, students must take 6 required courses, but beyond that they are given considerable leeway to pursue specialties and areas of academic interest. Cleveland-Marshall offers five areas of concentration: Business law, civil litigation and dispute resolution, criminal law, employment and labor law and international/comparative law.

Grading is harsh at Cleveland-Marshall, and 18.7% of 1Ls don't make it back for a second year. The student-to-faculty ratio of 13.8 to 1 suggests that personal attention from professors is available to those who need and/or want it, but some legwork may be required on the part of the student to develop those relationships.

Quality of life

When you hear terms like "excitement," "culture" and "high quality of life," many cities spring to mind. Cleveland is not one of them. The picture of Rust Belt decay, Cleveland is a city in free-fall. In the 1950 census, Cleveland was the proud home of 914,000 people. As of 2007, the population had dwindled to an estimated 438,000. One plus is that the cost of living is reasonable, but one must still contend with brutal winters and high crime. Poverty and unemployment are big problems in Cleveland, and nearly 40% of the city's children live below the poverty line. Still, as with any large city, fun things to do and nice places to live can be found.

Synopsis

Offering low in-state tuition and decent access to the Ohio job market (especially in and around Greater Cleveland), Cleveland-Marshall is a fine choice for those looking to practice in the Buckeye State.

Quick reference

Cleveland State University, Marshall College of Law
2121 Euclid Avenue, LB 138
Cleveland, OH 44115

U.S. News Ranking: Tier 3
LSAT Median: 156 (FT), 155 (PT)
GPA Median: 3.46 (FT), 3.44 (PT)
Entering class size: 158 (FT), 45 (PT)
Application Deadlines: 5/1
Application fee: $0
2009-2010 Tuition: ~$16,750 residents, ~$23,000 non-residents.
Median Private Sector Salary: $80,000 (Class of 2008, 43% reporting) Bar passage rate: 90%