The traditions of legal learning are moving with the times as the world becomes more connected, with globalization bringing about a profound and central shift that affects every aspect of law and legal practice.
In this fast-evolving world, students are increasingly demanding a legal education that prepares them for professional realities, combining academic study and practical knowledge with the development of legal competence.
Employers are also insistent on taking on law graduates who know both how to thrive in practice, as well as how to bring analytic rigor, critical reflection and creative problem-solving to their work.
By tying core law subjects to necessary practice skills, progressive law schools are showing a commitment to cultivating well-rounded graduates who grow both personally and professionally while studying at their institutions.
Law schools at the forefront of this movement embrace the value of their students, letting them become part of a community that believes in making a positive impact in the world through their legal knowledge and practice.
More schools than ever are providing internships, legal clinics and pro-bono work that gets students out of the classroom and into the community to help those most in need, locally and internationally. Many offer placements that focus on contemporary global problems, including environmental justice and sustainability, feminist legal advocacy, investor protection, and international and transnational law.
Here are 5 law schools taking a global approach to improving communities while boosting your prospects in a competitive job market…
Suffolk Law is one of only 14 schools in the US with five or more US News-ranked specialty programs. The school has four Top 20 programs and Intellectual Property program is ranked 27th. A personal approach to teaching enables the school to cultivate expert graduates ready to face the real-world of evolving legal practice.
Located in the heart of Boston, students here enjoy the vibrant lifestyle of the city. The convenient proximity of Boston’s finance, government, and commerce centers presents an array of valuable internship opportunities.
Ranked a Top 10 School for Legal Technology by the ABA Law Practice Today magazine and Pro-Bono Innovator of the Year by LegalTech News, the School’s commitment to hands-on learning gives local and international students the chance to test out their freshly-gained skills in real-world legal situations. Students have previously worked alongside institutions at the forefront of the legal profession both in Boston and overseas, including the Federal District Court, local courts, non-profit and governmental organizations, international corporations and law firms, local and abroad.
Ranked 6th in the country for legal writing and 16th for trial advocacy, Suffolk ensures you gain the world-class skills and legal knowledge needed to make you highly-competitive in the global employment market. With a tag line of ‘access and opportunity’, that’s exactly what you’ll get here in Boston, standing you in good stead for the duration of your career.
University of Arizona Law believes your experience should extend far beyond the lecture hall and has created a curriculum that embodies this ethos. Many of the classes involve simulated or real-world experiences, plus a wide variety of trial advocacy, negotiation, mediation, and interviewing courses to help students apply their expertise. National Jurist magazine ranks Arizona Law fourth among all law schools for practical training.
“I’m glad I made time to take advantage of all of the opportunities outside of the classroom,” says Harry Aaron, an Arizona Law graduate from the Class of 2015. “All of them added to my law school experience and my ability to enter the employment market.”
Arizona Law’s newest initiative for students is a collaboration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office that allows students to work with clients and practice before the patent office, work that otherwise could not be done until graduating from law school and passing the patent bar.
The externship program is also considered one of the strongest in the country, including more than 50 judges in state and federal positions. Students have the opportunity to work with organizations such as the Immigrant Survivors Legal Assistance, Florence Immigration and Refugee Rights Project, and the Department of Homeland Security, just to name a few.
Arizona Law also guarantees law clinic placement for every student, highlighting their commitment to gaining real-client experience that prepares students for successful careers. In addition to the faculty-led clinics, students work with alumni and local lawyers to set up student-run clinics that help society’s most vulnerable individuals.
The college also maintains a strong global focus in academics (like its programs in International Economic Law and Policy and Global Mining Law), student body (one of the most globally diverse in the U.S.), and educational partnerships with international institutions.
UConn School of Law is considered one of the most beautiful law schools in the country. Its campus includes historically-listed buildings, with the law library recently being named among the best in the world by Best Masters Programs.
UConn Law’s program emphasizes intellectual discipline and the development of the professional analytic expertise required to respond effectively to the challenge of continuing change in law and the society it serves.
The Public Interest Law Group (PILG) fellowships allow students to work for non-profit and government agencies to affect change in the community at large. Past students have worked with legal aid, Center for Children’s Advocacy and the Commission on the Status of Women.
“These many opportunities are a testament to the law school’s mission of public service, and a fine way to repay the support we receive from the people of this state,” says Dean Timothy Fisher.
Programs reflect the UConn Law’s commitment to public service and the notable positive impact they have on their surrounding communities.
UM’s 260-acre campus sits in the heart of Miami, Southern Florida, placing it at the crossroads of the Americas and the perfect location to instil students with a much-needed global perspective, crucial in being able to navigate today’s complex legal environment.
The School provides hands-on learning through various externship and fellowship programs, including opportunities to live and work in Washington DC for a semester, interacting with government agencies, non-profits and advocacy organisations. Students can also work alongside practicing attorneys on live cases in their practicum classes. Mock trials and moot court will also prepare you for the rigors of the legal profession.
UM is making sure it is a force for good in its community by running the Center for Ethics and Public Service, a law school-housed interdisciplinary ethics education, skills training, and community engagement program devoted to the values of ethical judgment, professional responsibility, and public service in law and society. Current programs include the Environmental Justice Clinic and the Historic Black Church Program.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International