One of the oldest schools in the nation, the Valparaiso University School of Law (Valparaiso Law) places a great deal of emphasis on practical skills and retains strong ties to the community, which in turn results in numerous clinics and externships that allow students to gain a wide variety of practical experiences. The school also draws excellent participants to its lecture/speaker series, having had the governor of Indiana, the former mayor of Detroit, the president of the ACLU, and Supreme Court Justices visit the school in the past year alone. Located "close enough to Chicago to nurture your social life, and yet far enough to ground you in your studies," the proximity provides world class culture, shopping, and entertainment as well as jobs. The research and writing courses are "definitely challenging," with a two-semester 1L requirement, a 2L requirement, and a 3L seminar requirement, students are aware that it pays off in the long run, as "employers are always impressed by the amount of legal research we know how to conduct." "At Valparaiso Law, you will not work in groups to write an appellate brief. You learn to compose yourself," says a 1L. Professors take an active role in their teaching and their students' lives, making it "a joy to take classes and learn," and absence from class is clearly noticed. Accessibility abounds both in and outside of school, when the "approachable and modest" teachers "mingle with students after hours, and truly inspire you to probe and reach out for more knowledge." They "get students excited about what they can achieve with their future degrees." The administration "always seems happy to engage with students and to constantly solicit feedback" and "advocates [their] interests in the broader University and community," though the Career Planning Center "struggles to place students in big metropolitan areas." The library staff is very helpful with any research questions and "availability is rarely a problem," (says one student: "the smaller the library, the faster you will find the book you are looking for"). The library itself was recently updated including the creation of a new quiet zone reading room that seats 120. As for the building in which Valparasio Law is housed, it's "not a Cadillac, but if you want a place that has practical and functional facilities with an outstanding faculty" then it will do, and the school is in the process of undergoing a renovation and upgrade, with a new building scheduled to open in April 2011.
- The Princeton Review