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Lewis & Clark College (Northwestern School of Law)

Lewis & Clark Law School is the only law school located in Portland, Oregon, the largest city in the state. We enroll 220-230 first-year students from approximately 2,500 applicants in our Day and Evening Divisions combined. Successful completion of either program results in a Juris Doctor degree.

The roughly 700 students attending Lewis & Clark Law School represent a spectrum of ages, experiences, and priorities, due in part to the blending of the day and evening programs. Some students are in their early twenties, fresh out of college. Others are in their late twenties, thirties, or forties; some are embarking on a major career change. Close to 50 percent of the students are women. More than half of the entering class come from outside the region. About 17 percent of our students are members of minority groups. Three of every ten students are married.

Most students are full-time day students, but about 25 percent opt for the part-time or evening program. First-year full-time students have classes during the day and possibly one evening class. Part-time students may attend all their classes in the evening. After the first year, all students have great flexibility. Students may readily transfer between the full-time and part-time divisions and may enroll in courses offered in either the day or the evening. Full-time faculty teach all first-year courses and the core upper-division courses in both the day and evening divisions. Because of the flexibility of our day and evening offerings, students entering school in fall 2004 will graduate at various times between December 2007 and May 2008.

Business executives, biologists interested in resources and environmental law, students of politics, musicians, community activists, schoolteachers, health care professionals, internationalists - people from almost all of the analytical disciplines meet at the law school in a common pursuit. Students from around the world also meet here. In the past several years the law school has welcomed students from China, Russia, Japan, England, Canada, Pakistan, Peru, and other countries. The varied perspectives brought by our students enrich the fabric of the law school community, whether in classes or during informal discussions and debate. Each individual also brings a special background to the practice of law after receiving the juris doctor degree.

Our students cite many reasons for choosing Lewis & Clark Law School. Probably the most important reason is the quality and attitude of the people on campus. Visitors notice students and faculty having lunch together in the student lounge, discussing questions long after class has ended. Equally evident is the sense of shared effort and mutual support among faculty, staff, and students.

Here a student finds all the hard work, long hours, and intellectual challenge customarily associated with law school. However, students also discover that they are regarded as individuals by their fellow students, by their professors, and by the staff. Both faculty and staff take special pride in seeing students progress and succeed.

Once law school is over, our graduates take jobs throughout the nation. Today our alumni practice everywhere from New York City and Washington, D.C.; from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii; and from Florida to California, and points in between. They can be found in every part of the United States and in several foreign countries, using their legal training in a diverse range of specialties.

Summing up a law school in a word or two is not only difficult, it is bound to be somewhat misleading. In a world of "sound bites," however, if we had to come up with three words to describe Lewis & Clark Law School, three that would work are "challenging," "flexible," and "cooperative." Our curriculum is as challenging as any in the country and it is taught by a faculty dedicated to excellent classroom teaching thus making challenging material also stimulating and provocative. The curriculum has the breadth to assure you have the opportunity to cover all the fundamentals needed for a thorough legal education. There is also the depth to allow you to specialize by taking advanced courses and by getting practical experience through our clinics, clinical internship seminars, and externships. Supporting this curriculum is a law library with over half a million volumes, computer labs and computer work stations, and a library staff that students often describe as "superb." A look at the number of course offerings will instantly convey the size of our curriculum.

Critical to the atmosphere at any law school is the way students treat one another and how they are treated by faculty. The atmosphere at Lewis & Clark is collegial and cooperative. Students treat one another as colleagues and friends, not as competitors, and faculty are accessible to students and supportive. In one recent year alone more than 10 student papers were published in various law reviews. Such publication is the result of faculty support for student writing projects. Students spend time with one another outside class both socially and in study groups preparing for classes and exams. Years later many of these same law students are practicing with people they met in law school and some of them are practicing in the courtrooms of former classmates who are now judges. Faculty descriptions and a full bibliography of faculty publications can also be found on this web site. If you visit the law school, be sure to talk to some of the current students about what it is like to attend Lewis & Clark.

Flexibility is a word that describes several aspects of the law school. There is the flexibility afforded by having two fully integrated programs: a part-time program and a full-time program. This means a student may switch from one to the other, after the first year, merely by indicating the wish to do so. Both programs are taught by the same full-time faculty and there is no distinction made as to whether a student is a graduate of the full-time or the part-time program. This flexibility means a student who is willing to go full-time and take full summers of courses can graduate in as little as two-and-a-half years. If a student wants to take advantage of summer school, it's possible, depending on how many summer school courses are taken, to register for one or more part-time semesters, thus creating the opportunity to clerk in Portland. Depending on how much summer school and how many part-time semesters a student decides to take, people can graduate in the typical three years or in three-and-a-half. Students who do not wish to take summer school and who plan to work all the way through law school, graduate in four years.

Along with the flexibility provided by the part-time program, there are other ways in which the word "flexible" captures elements of Lewis & Clark. There is the flexibility to take classes in either and both the day or the evening regardless of whether you are a full-time or part-time student. There is the flexibility to create your own schedule as an upper division student mixing practical skills courses and theoretical courses, and mixing core courses with specialty courses, in the way that best satisfies your educational goals. After the first year of law school, our requirements are few and students decide for themselves in what order and in what courses to fulfill those requirements. There is, finally, the flexibility, created by our location in a major metropolitan area, to work part-time or full-time while in school and earn money to defray some of the expense of going to law school.

We believe that those people who decide to prepare for a career in law are ready to take on a challenging curriculum and to make decisions as upper division students as to how to best craft a curriculum that will suit their educational goals. Faculty and staff are ready and willing to assist students but we also know that you are one short step from becoming a professional who will solve complex and important problems. It is our hope that we can challenge you, build on and hone the skills you bring to the study of law and help you develop new skills, assist you when necessary, and prepare you to step into a diverse and exciting profession.

While a campus visit or interview is not required for admission, we urge candidates to take a look for themselves, visit classes, talk with students and graduates, meet the faculty, and get a feeling for the campus and the special beauty of Portland and its environs. If you give us advance notice, our Admissions Office will gladly provide help in arranging a visit.

Competition for admission to our law school is keen. The prospective student and the institution both bear certain responsibilities in the selection process. Each must be discerning. Lewis & Clark Law School seeks students with exceptional professional promise whose potential can best be realized in our special environment.

The Evening Division at Lewis & Clark Law School allows students to spread their course load and expenses over four years. Admission criteria, full-time faculty, and academic opportunities are identical in the two programs.

The major distinction between a day and evening student is in the number of hours the student carries in a semester. The course load for day students ranges from 13 to 18 hours per semester. Evening students enroll in eight to 12 hours per semester.

Evening Division students can count on finding the full schedule of law classes available from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Since most evening students are employed full time during the day, the law school attempts to cluster courses so students have an evening free each week to study and use the library.

After the first year, students may transfer from one division to the other and use the summer school program to accelerate progress toward graduation. In addition, after the first year, students may select courses from either division, combining day and evening courses as they find appropriate.

From its beginnings as a night school in Portland, Oregon, Lewis & Clark Law School has valued diversity. We firmly believe that our community must reflect the diversity in society to best provide for participants' intellectual and professional growth. The earliest student bodies included plumbers and corporate executives, teachers and homemakers, recent college graduates and students working on second or third careers. Ethnic diversity adds to this mix, providing a more complete setting for students and faculty to study law.

We have historically worked hard to spread the word among the nation's future ethnic minority law students that Lewis & Clark Law School offers a welcoming academic atmosphere. The law school has long known that the lack of ethnic minority attorneys nationwide, as well as in Oregon, demonstrates a need for innovative and comprehensive programs to help ethnic minorities achieve population parity in the legal profession. In the 1970s the law school decided to take a more active role in diversifying the student body and the legal field. At that time the school began a program now known as the Academic Enhancement Program (AEP). The program was established in order to bridge cultural differences that may exist between ethnic minority law students and the legal academic and professional communities, and to address academic issues before and during law school. AEP has since evolved to include students who are not members of an ethnic minority but who may have experienced cultural or socioeconmic barriers to education.

Although statistical indicators are a powerful tool in sorting through the pool of law school applicants, statistics alone do not always predict the potential for success in law school. Factors such as writing ability, life experience, cultural background, and a track record of dealing successfully with life's challenges may also combine to indicate the potential to succeed in legal studies. Each year the law school invites all admitted students to apply for the Academic Enhancement Program. Space in the program is limited. To help us identify students who would best benefit from participating in the program, AEP applicants may want to address factors mentioned above in your personal statement and in your AEP application. You may also include economic hardship and financial pressures that have influenced life decisions and events.

The Academic Enhancement Program begins with an eight-day summer institute offered in mid-August to incoming first-year students as an introduction and orientation to law school. This is followed by skill-building and centering sessions and other support services throughout the first year. An eight-week Bar Support Program is also offered for graduates.

Lewis & Clark Law School offers students some of the finest classroom teaching available at any law school in the country. Our faculty not only bring excellent academic credentials to the law school; they also reflect a breadth of experience that gives depth and creative energy to their teaching. The combination of thorough theoretical training and practical experience presents a rich academic resource for our law students. Faculty members also produce scholarly written work and make contributions to the life of the general legal community locally, nationally, and internationally. The faculty are accessible and responsive to students.

School name:Lewis & Clark CollegeNorthwestern School of Law
Address:10015 S.W. Terwilliger Boulevard
Zip & city:OR 97219 Oregon

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