Admissions Question: July 22
Q: Can you tell me why Lewis & Clark Law School is better than _____ Law School?
A: This is a question the admissions office is asked on occasion, but we are not the best people to answer it. Only you can answer this question after you have clearly identified your goals, determined what kind of law school experience you want, researched & compared information from a number of different schools, and visited those you’re seriously considering.
You’ll want to consider what’s going to be most important to you (not your parents, friends, colleagues, etc.). This could include class size, location, cost (taking into consideration scholarships & cost of living), curricular offerings, access to professors, opportunities to gain practical experience, placement and bar passage rates, student retention, alumni satisfaction, etc.
To help you understand if L&C is a good fit, you might refer to the Why choose L&C page. Without information about one’s particular interests, I believe it’s best to talk about why some of our students & alumni chose to come to L&C over other law schools.
1) Location - Whether the west coast is where they call home (or want to), or whether Portland is the kind of city they enjoy and they like the legal opportunities they can get here (while in law school and after), or whether it’s the Lewis & Clark campus in a forested state park that lures them here, our student indicate that location was a big draw to Lewis & Clark. Our campus, city, and region are all attractive and unique, and the lifestyle is hard to beat. Luckily, Lewis & Clark is the only law school in Portland!
2) Faculty & Curriculum – Lewis & Clark professors are very interested in the quality of their teaching and developing relationships with their students – much like one might experience at a smaller undergraduate school. Professors know their students on an individual basis and care about what their students are learning.
While we prepare students to practice any type of law, some students come to L&C because they want to study subjects in which we are considered to be particularly strong. Some of these include animal law, business & commercial law, environmental, natural resources, and energy law, intellectual property law, public interest law, criminal law & crime victim advocacy, tax law, and a growing attention to international law. These tend to be the subjects in which we really shine, but even so, the curriculum is full of many other types of courses so you can be a generalist, or even create your own focus. Our graduates practice everything under the sun, so we encourage people not to limit themselves.
Finally, some students are attracted to the flexibility in our curriculum with our part-time program options.
3) Cost – while law school tuition is admittedly high, we do offer scholarships to nearly half of our incoming class, making the cost more manageable. Obviously, scholarships are helpful, but they don’t always make a school more affordable. In comparison to other private law schools and many public schools’ out-of-state tuition, L&C’s tuition is competitive and the cost of living in Portland is definitely reasonable compared to some other areas of the country.
4) Student body – L&C’s student profile is impressive and our students are smart, interesting, and fun. Our attrition rate is also on the low, which is a testament to high student satisfaction. The average age of our students (about 27) is slightly higher than most schools’, and many of our students have impressive work experience prior to coming to law school. We also attract the kind of student who wants a supportive & friendly learning atmosphere and doesn’t want to have an experience where their peers are secretive, competitive, and too intense.
5) Opportunities – getting a job and being able to gain practical skills while in law school is also very important. Our Career & Professional Development Center is top notch and offers a wide range of services and programs to help students find summer jobs, internships, externships, and jobs after graduation. Our faculty and administrators are also very helpful to students with regard to this. We have some fantastic clinical opportunities (in animal law, business law, environmental law, international environmental law, crime victim advocacy, criminal justice reform, and tax law) as well as strong moot court/mock trial teams, law reviews, and study abroad options. It is crucial that students develop their resumes while in law school and there are a lot of ways to do that at L&C.