Above the walkway to the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, visitors are greeted by a colorful banner proclaiming that CWRU is “A National Leader in Experiential Education.”
“That’s far more than a boast. It’s the core of who we are,” said Co-Dean Michael Scharf. And this month, CWRU School of Law’s lofty standing was confirmed by the Spring 2022 issue of preLaw magazine, which ranked CWRU 5th best law school in the nation for practical training.
According to preLaw magazine, “Classroom learning is imperative, but it doesn’t offer real-life, get your hands dirty experience. Practical Training does, which is why preLaw magazine annually honors those schools that do it best.” In 2020, CWRU broke into the top 10 at #9. In 2021, CWRU rose to #6. Now, Case is in the top five, with well-known pioneers of experiential education Northeastern, Baylor, UC Irvine, and University of St. Thomas/Minnesota law schools.
For this ranking, preLaw rates law schools on five metrics: clinics (32%), externships (25%), simulation courses (20%), and Moot Court/Mock Trial and pro bono hours (10%).
2021 marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the endowed Milton and Charlotte Kramer Law Clinic at CWRU School of Law, which offers ten separate clinical course offerings: Criminal Justice, Second Chance Re-entry, Environmental Law, Health Law, Immigration, Human Trafficking, Community Development, Intellectual Property Venture, First Amendment and Appellate Advocacy.
Pursuant to CWRU’s capstone requirement, every student spends a semester participating full-time in one of CWRU’s ten clinics or undertakes an externship placement to gain hands-on legal experience in their third year of law school. This past year, our clinic students have briefed and argued cases before the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the Ohio Supreme Court and the Federal Immigration Court, among other courts.
Through our Federal Judicial Externship Program and grant-funded externships in International Law, Health Law, Environmental Law, IP Law, and Public Interest Law, nearly every CWRU law student secures an internship for the 1L summer across the country and throughout the world. Over 70 externship placements include: Office of US Attorney, Federal Public Defender, Legal Aid, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Guardians, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, Department of Justice, Department of State, INTERPOL and the International Criminal Court.
Every 2L student must select either LLEAP 3 Litigation or LLEAP 3 Transactions—intensive skills courses that expose students to every stage of litigation or a business transaction. These unique simulation courses are the reason our students are so sought after by employers as “practice ready.”
Moot Court/Mock Trial Teams
A recent study ranked CWRU the 3rd best law school in the country in Moot Court and Mock trial success. The top five were: #1 Fordham, #2 University of Miami, #3 CWRU, #4 Harvard, and #5 American. This year, CWRU reached the semifinals and finals at a number of prestigious national competitions, including: Jessup International Law Moot Court (National Semifinalist and Best Speaker in the World), Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Elimination Round and Best Speaker Award), BLSA Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition (Best Speaker in Regionals and National Semifinalist), National Trial Competition in Fort Worth (National Semifinalist), American Association for Justice Mock Trial Competition (National Quarterfinalist), Costello National Criminal Law Trial Advocacy Competition (Second Place), and the Case Classic Mock Trial Competition (1st place).
Pro Bono Opportunities
Last year’s graduating law students amassed 25,325 hours of pro bono work through our required 1L Client Contact Program (Legal Aid Brief Advice Clinics and Immigration Brief Advice Clinics), through our Clinic, and through engagement in various externships and other volunteer pro bono activities.
“Our students have hands-on opportunities to change lives and impact the law throughout their studies,” says Dean Scharf. “There’s no more exciting way to learn the law.”