CWRU Law School FAQs
Q: What is the Case Western Reserve University School of Law doing?
A: The law school is creating a new model of legal education, building on the best of traditional theoretical education and its historical strengths in experiential education. The curriculum and course sequence is being restructured to better prepare students for a profession that is changing dramatically toward specialization and will continue to do so. The new curriculum integrates doctrine, theory, experience, professionalism and other skills.
Q: Can you be more specific?
A: The new academic model dramatically increases students’ writing requirements and opportunities for real, practical legal experience. The program calls for entering students to serve in the role of attorneys within their first semester and includes a third-year externship or clinical engagement that lasts at least a semester. The new curriculum also includes a required series of courses on leadership taught by faculty from the university’s Weatherhead School of Management
Q: Why and why now?
A: Transformations in the legal profession have made it clear that law students must graduate with a broader and deeper set of understanding, skills and competencies to obtain jobs and build successful careers in the 21st century. The curriculum is largely based on direct feedback from more than 70 hiring law partners, CEOs and other law-related hiring managers. In particular, the industry seeks “client-ready” graduates. These changes are designed to prepare and deliver them.
Q: When did the planning for this start?
A: Dean Lawrence Mitchell was hired two years ago, in part, because of his commitment to experiential education. The structure of the new curriculum came together several months ago, building on the groundbreaking CaseArc experiential program developed 10 years ago.
Q: When does the new curriculum begin?
A: The new curriculum will be fully in effect in August 2014.
Q: Won’t the changes hurt current students who are already deep into the curriculum?
A: No. Most of the new curriculum will be available to incoming first-year law students, and substantial portions of it will be available to returning second-year students. Third-year students will graduate having studied our existing curriculum.
Q: What is the law school’s enrollment and how has that changed?
A: The law school faculty has several times voted over the last decade to reduce class size, and Dean Mitchell was hired with a mandate to do just that. The school has substantially reduced enrollment to maintain the quality of the class and is aiming for an enrollment that will represent a reduction of about one-third of the pre-2011 class sizes.
Q: How much are enrollment applications down?
A: The law school’s decline has tracked the national average.
Q: What is the law school’s record for job placement?
A: 85.3 percent of the Class of 2012 was employed or pursuing an advanced degree nine months after graduation.
Q: What is the law school's national ranking?
A: U.S. News & World Report ranks the law school 68th nationally, and its health care law and international law programs fifth and 13th, respectively. The Leiter Rankings (updated by Sisk) ranks the school at No. 38 in scholarly impact.
Q: Median LSAT score (vs. national median)?
A: The Class of 2015 entered with a median LSAT of 160. There is no national reporting of a reliable median, but the average score for all applicants in 2011-12 was 153.6.
Q: Bar exam pass rate (vs. national)?
A: The law school’s pass rate for all takers nationally was 77 percent, on par with the national average for all first-time takers.
Q: How will the results of this change be measured?
A: Metrics for a change of this magnitude are often difficult to measure and sometimes misleading, but the focus will be on the success of students in the job market at graduation and over the course of their careers.
Q: What is the law school best known for?
A: International law, health care law, intellectual property and experiential education.
Misc. law school facts:
• The international war crimes research program was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for students' work on the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
• The Jessup International Law Moot Court team was the last U.S. representative to win the World Championship.
• Students in the Law Clinic recently won a $1.1 million jury verdict for their pro bono clients.
• Among the law school’s noted alumni: Barry Meyer, chairman of Warner Brothers; Laura Quatella, president of Eastman Kodak; Mark Weinberger, global head of Ernst & Young; Martin Gruenberg, FDIC chairman; renowned civil rights lawyer Fred Gray; Hewit Shaw, managing partner of Baker Hostetler; Former Ambassador Capricia Marshall, chief of protocol of the United States; Rear Admiral Janet Donovan, the first female judge advocate general of the Navy Reserve.