4 out of 5 Stars
Strong Criminal Law Education
City of MadisonDowners
Mediocre Building and classrooms
Large Class Size
Everyone is really nice at UW Law, their clinical programs are great, and you will be prepared for the bar exam. However, the building is kind of meh and the class sizes are big.Would You Recommend
There is a vey collegial atmosphere amongst students and the professors are very supportive of learning and student success.Downers
The building is relatively outdated which leads to less-than-stellar facilities.Comments
If you plan to practice in Wisconsin, you can't get more bang for your buck and diploma privilege is great.Would You Recommend
Great combination of theory and practice, with implementation of "Law in Action" concept throughout the curriculum.Admissions
Has focus on diversity and desire to come to Wisconsin.Level
Excellent. Campus has great facilities for studying (Law School library is fantastic), plenty of activities and entertainment within a stone's throw, and a high-quality learning environment.
The law-in-action philosophy teaches us the difference between doctrinal law and law in practice. It is of incredible value, especially as firms are less likely to provide hands-on learning experiences and training to new associates. We are prepared to succeed from day one.Admissions
They review applications holistically to build a strong, diverse, and intellectually stimulating class.Level
The Socratic Method is not really emphasized in most classes (though this is at the discretion of each instructor and varies from class to class), in favor of something closer to a traditional university lecture in many classes, but with plenty of opportunity for students to ask questions or to answer questions from the instructor if students wish to. Overall I feel this approach is very effective for helping us to learn the material and to learn to think critically.Level
From 1L on, I found the faculty to be very accessible. They were willing to meet both during and outside of office hours, and happy to talk about both class and other subjects. Although my law school offered few classes in my area of interest, I found several other faculty who were willing to explore the area, or to supervise directed research.
The practical courses or programs I took were of the most value in training me to be a good attorney. On the whole the quality of classes was very high, with a few notable exceptions.Admissions
I don't recall; it was a while ago.
Regardless of teaching quality, all faculty are excellent scholars. In the classroom, however, teaching quality is generally high, but sometimes is disappointing without being poor. A few faculty are deeply committed to teaching and their subjects are generally the most liked. While the school is known for pioneering the very sociological "Law in Action" approach to leagal education, the application of this concept is not uniformly distributed within the curriculum. However, here, students really can do whatever they wish after law school, if they plan correctly. That is, there is tremendous support for virtually any career path, from academia to small-town practitioner, because the curriculum offers dozens of seminars alongside as many clinical offerings, for example. Class sizes for 1L classes are large, but students always have one substantive class with a small group and Legal Research & Writing is also taught in small sections. Students are not competitive, but rather extremely collaborative. Grading is on the A+ to D- scale. Average grades in large sections generally cannot exceed 3.1 and in small sections 3.3. Even in very small seminars, professors are pressured to keep to the curve. Some senior faculty grade as they please, but there are very few. I imagine the workload is the same here as other top law schools. There is generally 50 or so pages of reading per class per day, and it's casebook reading, so it's tough. However, while the workload is appreciable, it is manageable. Faculty who are truly excellent at both scholarship and teaching are Bill Whitford, Kathrine Hendley, Dave Schultz, David Schwartz, Allison Christians, Joel Rogers, Anuj Desai, Gerry Thain, and Linda Greene. Ann Althouse's approach to her classes is unpredictable, though in faculty meetings, she expresses genuine interest for the quality of teaching at the school. Brad Snyder talks a good talk, but in faculty meetings, advocates strongly for policies that benefit junior faculty scholarship, ahead of policies that encourage better instruction.Quality of Life
The Law School building itself is a monstrosity, but it gets the job done well. Madison, Wisconsin is one of the most livable cities in America. It lies on an isthmus, which makes the town very beautiful and gives access to miles of shoreline. The town has a very vibrant and unique feel, because its communities include folks who live there due to government work, the University, and because of its progressive and liberal roots. It is also very affordable. There are miles of bike paths. The Law School student body is ethnically and racially diverse. UW-Madison and Madison proper, however, are not. The campus is very safe and crime rates are low. There is sometimes a problem with stealing on campus though, but this is easily solved with vigilant habits and practices.Admissions
Typical application process for a public law school (meaning residency questions will be involved). Two unique aspects to the process: (1) scholarships and grants are not offered with acceptance, but rather all at once around the end of March or the beginning of April and (2) no deposit is required to secure a seat in the class.Level
I came to Wisconsin for its clinical programs and I was not disappointed! Wisconsin offers a broad array of clinical programs ranging from the Innocent Project, in which students navigate the criminal justice system to exonerate wrongly-accused inmates on death row, to the brand new Entrepreneurship Clinic, in which students help entrepreneurs bring their ideas into the marketplace by helping them with issues ranging from corporate structure and business planning, to intellectual property. I decided to take advantage of the clinical programs right away - at the beginning of my 1L year, I joined the Unemployment Appeals Clinic and started representing employees at administrative law hearings here in Madison. Having this opportunity to counsel clients and speak in front of administrative law judges during my very first year of law school was incredible; it actually shaped the rest of my law school career because it piqued my interest in civil litigation. After my 1L year, I applied for and obtained a position with the Neighborhood Law Project, one of the civil litigation clinics within the Economic Justice Institute. My work with NLP is what I am most proud of, and most thankful for as I graduate and enter the practice of law and it is an experience that I may not have had at any other law school.Quality of Life
I absolutely love the city of Madison. It is an incredibly vibrant and active place to live (it is impossible to be bored here!), yet it is very accessible. I lived in the NYC area before moving to Madison so I was ready for something a little smaller but I didn't want to give up great restaurants, music, and night life. For me, Madison was the perfect compromise. Also, as the state capitol, Madison provides law students with easy access to the Supreme Court, government internships, and other unique opportunities that would be much harder to get outside the city of Madison. As you've probably seen on the news lately, the Madison community is also politically active and socially progressive, which makes it a very interesting place to study and practice law.Admissions
The admissions process is pretty standard: personal statement, LSAT, CAS report, scholarship application, letters of recommendation, etc. There are limited scholarship opportunities.Level