Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law combines the professional opportunities and legal resources of Washington, D.C. with the intimate, student-friendly atmosphere of a private law school. Drawing from the surrounding city’s large legal community, many CUA professors are “full-time practicing attorneys” with a “deep understanding of their particular field.” Here, professors come from “interesting and diverse legal backgrounds,” including “younger faculty already making names for themselves in areas like civil procedure, First Amendment conscience protection, and protecting children from sexual abuse.” While the school attracts top-notch names, the atmosphere is “warm” and accommodating, with professors described as “intelligent, sympathetic, approachable, and caring.” While the JD program is not overly easy, “the emphasis is on creating successful students,” with ample support services to promote that goal. For instance, “there is a program for individuals in [the] lower 15 percent of the class with additional lectures, and study technique assistance—they don't let people slip through the cracks.” The accommodating culture extends to the administrative offices and staff, too. From financial aid to the program dean, “the administration is very helpful and will address student concerns promptly.” Legal education extends beyond the classroom at CUA, and the administration puts a lot of “emphasis on the school’s moot court, arbitration, and trial teams, as well as journals and clinics.” Plus, “All of the professors are more than willing and able to help connect students with internships, clerkships, and eventual jobs.” Research is also a major component of the academic program, and “the research librarians bend over backwards to help any student who asks.” If they cannot find what they need at CUA, the school provides “access to all major research databases as well as catalogs from most major libraries in Washington, D.C. through the interlibrary loan program.” When it comes to the job hunt, many would love to see CUA’s Career Services department significantly enhanced. A current student details, “While the people working there currently do a very good job, that office needs more funding and larger staff so they can help students learn about and apply for jobs.” However, “the connections to government and legislative opportunities” are strong at CUA, and the “very active alumni network” helps students make inroads in D.C.’s legal community. On that note, students point out that the school “focuses primarily on D.C. and government jobs, so if you're a student looking to work elsewhere after graduation, Catholic may not be the best option.” Catholic University of America’s religious affiliation is more than just in name alone, and, depending on their own background, students either praise or deride the Catholic influence on their law school education. Prospective students should be aware that, even in strict legal discussion, “You don't get away from that Catholic perspective” at CUA. For example, “The school’s connection to the Catholic church prevents student groups from participating in certain activities, and makes some journal-writing topics off limits.” Others explain that because of the school’s stringent standards, “there can sometimes be trouble in getting outside speakers approved in a timely manner.” Excluding religious affiliations, most students are happy to note that the school’s Catholic values are wonderfully demonstrated in its “commitment to public service and pro bono” work.
- The Princeton Review