Case Western Reserve University School of Law

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Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Established 1892
School type Private
Dean Jessica Berg and Michael Scharf
Location Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Faculty 68 full-time

Case Western Reserve University School of Law is one of eight schools at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. The law school is known for its innovation in legal education and blending of practice, theory, and professionalism. It has a long commitment to diversity and admitted students of color in its first entering class in 1892. It was one of the first schools accredited by the American Bar Association[1] and it is a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).[2]

It was initially named for Franklin Thomas Backus, a justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, whose widow donated $50,000 to found the school in 1892.[3]

According to Case Western Reserve's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 58.6% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo-practitioners.[4]


Rear Entrance to the Law School
Front Entrance to the Law School

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Case's Juris Doctor program at 57th in the nation in 2016. Its health law program is 9th in the nation, and international law is #11.[5] In addition to the JD curriculum, the law school offers LLM and SJD degrees to lawyers around the world. It also offers an Executive Master of Arts in Financial Integrity and a Masters in Patent Practice.

Employment reports indicate that 91% of the Class of 2013 were employed or enrolled in an advanced degree program nine months after graduation. This represents a 5-percentage point jump since the year before. Of those who were employed, 83% were employed in bar-required positions.

Case Western Reserve Model of Legal Education[edit]

In August 2013, by a near-unanimous vote, the faculty adopted a new curriculum to reflect changes in the legal industry. The model is designed to blend practice, theory, and professionalism in all three years of law school. Students begin working with clients in the first year of law school. Writing and skills courses track the content in their substantive courses to blend theory and practice. Students also learn transactional drafting, financial literacy, and statutory and regulatory analysis during the first year.

During the second year of law school, students specialize and continue to build on the skills they learned during their first year. The law school's well-known specialty areas are IP, health, international, and business law.

A Capstone semester is the hallmark of the third year. All students will practice law full-time by working on cases through the Milton A. Kramer Law Clinic Center at the law school. Students may also practice law through an externship in the U.S. and abroad, or they may choose to spend their third year in Europe, completing a foreign LLM degree in addition to their Case JD, at no additional cost.

Students learn leadership through courses developed by faculty at Weatherhead School of Management, and students graduate with e-portfolios of their work to share with employers.


The "Bridge"

Centers of Academic Excellence[edit]

  • Frederick K. Cox International Law Center
  • Center for Law, Technology and the Arts
  • The Law-Medicine Center
  • Center for Business Law and Regulation
Gund Hall with Peter B. Lewis building in the background

Class of 2018 First-Year Profile[edit]

According to information posted on the law school's web site, the 2015 incoming class profile includes: 124 First Year JD students 75 LLM students and 25 SJD students from 14 countries 51% women 20% students of color 63% from outside of Ohio 86 undergraduate programs represented 24 states and 5 foreign countries Median LSAT: 159 Median Undergraduate GPA: 3.43 12 exchange students visiting us from China, The Netherlands, Germany and Italy[6]

As of Fall 2015, total student enrollment at Case Western Reserve University School of Law has dropped approximately 36% since 2010, as the university holds admission standards amidst a nationwide drop in prospective students taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and applying to law schools. As of Fall 2015, total J.D. student enrollment is 383 students, including 124 first year law students.[7]

Post-graduation employment[edit]

According to Case Western Reserve's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 58.6% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo-practitioners.[4] The school ranked 85th out of 201 ABA-approved law schools in terms of the percentage of 2013 graduates with non-school-funded, full-time, long-term, bar passage required jobs nine months after graduation.[8]

Case Western Reserve's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 27.2%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[9] 88.8% of the Class of 2013 was employed in some capacity while 2.6% were pursuing graduate degrees and 8.6% were unemployed nine months graduation.[4]

Ohio was the primary employment destination for 2013 Case Western Reserve graduates, with 56.8% of employed graduates working in the state.[4] The next two most popular locations for Case Western graduates to accept employment were Washington, DC and New York. In addition, seven graduates from the class of 2013 accepted positions abroad.[10]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Case Western Reserve for the 2014-2015 academic year is $69,112.[11] Case Western Reserve's tuition and fees on average increased by 4.89% annually over the past five years.[12]

The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $266,125.[12] The average indebtedness of the 77% of 2013 Case Western Reserve graduates who took out loans was $113,416.[13] For the 2013-2014 academic year, 79.9% of the JD students received some type of scholarship aid from the school, with a median grant amount of $27,000.[14]

Notable faculty[edit]

  • Jonathan H. Adler - A contributing editor to National Review Online and a regular contributor to The Volokh Conspiracy
  • Michael P. Scharf - A renowned international expert on international criminal law and author of "Enemy of the State: The Trial and Execution of Saddam Hussein," Scharf serves as Co-Dean of the law school and is the Director of the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center.

Notable graduates[edit]

Among Case Western alumni are prominent elected officials, particularly from the State of Ohio. Examples of such include current Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel, former Ohio Attorneys General Marc Dann, Lee Fisher, and Jim Petro, and former U.S. Representatives Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Ron Klein.

Members of the bench who are Case Western alumni include Kathleen M. O'Malley of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and John J. McConnell, Jr. of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. Both were appointed to their current positions by President Barack Obama. Associate Justice John Hessin Clarke of the United States Supreme Court was educated at Case when the school was known as Western Reserve College. Justice Jeffrey Hjelm of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court is also an alumnus.

Other Case alumni are involved in the fields of government, business, academia, and the judiciary.

Government and politics[edit]

Business and industry[edit]




In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ ABA-Approved Law Schools by Year
  2. ^ about AALS: Member and Fee-Paid Schools
  3. ^ "BACKUS, FRANKLIN THOMAS". Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. 11 Jul 1997. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Section of Legal Education - Employment Summary Report". American Bar Association. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Case Western Reserve University School of Law, retrieved 6 October 2015  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Case Western Reserve University School of Law, retrieved 6 October 2015  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Leichter, Matt. "Class of 2013 Employment Report". The Law School Tuition Bubble. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "Case Western Reserve University Profile". Law School Transparency. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Financial Aid & Scholarships". Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Case Western Reserve University Profile, Costs". Law School Transparency. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Which law school graduates have the most debt?". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Andrew Meacham, "Mayor packed ideas, pipe tobacco in rich public life," September 15, 2010". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 

External links[edit]