Willamette University College of Law is “a smaller school in the Pacific Northwest,” “in the state capital city” of Salem, Oregon. Highlights here include an exemplary legal research and writing program. A JD/MBA program allows students to earn both degrees in four years. There are three journals, six specialized clinics, and a broad externship program. Certificates are available in dispute resolution, business law, international and comparative law (reportedly “wonderful”), law and government, and sustainability law. Study abroad programs in Hamburg, Germany; Quito, Ecuador; and Shanghai, China are another big hit. Students also laud their surroundings. “The facilities at Willamette are, by far, among the best,” they say. The “beautiful building” is located on the peaceful and collegiate-looking campus of the larger university. Classrooms are recently renovated and modern. “You have access to the library 24/7,” too, which can be an invaluable perk when finals roll around each semester. Classes are definitely on the smaller side, and they’re generally “entertaining.” “The greatest strength of Willamette Law has to be the faculty,” relates a 2L. “The faculty is knowledgeable, accessible, and seems to generally enjoy teaching students—an extremely valuable trifecta.” The “very helpful” top brass gets a lot of love as well. “The school’s administration works as effectively as possible,” says a 3L. “They are very focused on getting us to pass the bar,” agrees a happy 1L, “and very focused on getting us a job post graduation.”Course scheduling is probably the biggest single source of frustration among students. After the first year, it can be hard to get into the classes you want (and occasionally need). The fairly strict grading curve comes in for some grief as well. “Grade deflation” is alive and well, and a handful of 1Ls at the bottom of the class at Willamette are inevitably asked to leave each year. On one hand, it’s an intimidating situation. On the other hand, it “will really help motivate.” When the time comes to get a job as an actual attorney, there’s good news and bad news for newly minted Willamette alums. On the minus side, the generally mild climate and the culture of Oregon are both professionally appealing for many people. Competition for jobs (especially in Portland) is fierce because the legal market is not huge and a lot of transplant lawyers want to work in the state. On the plus side, the law school here is “down the street from” the Capitol building and various courts. Consequently, students have “fantastic access” to state legislative bodies, state courts, and state agencies. “Great networking opportunities” and prospects for practical experience outside of school abound. Students can “cooperate with the judicial process” in ways that students at the other two law schools in the state cannot.
- The Princeton Review