Case Western Reserve University School of Law

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Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Case Western Reserve University seal.svg
Established 1892
School type Private
Dean Jessica Berg and Michael Scharf
Location Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Enrollment 507
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 once named for lawyer Franklin Thomas Backus, 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 59th in the nation in 2015. 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.

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

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.[6]

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.[7] 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][3] 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 2003 accepted positions abroad.[8]


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.[9] Case Western Reserve's tuition and fees on average increased by 4.89% annually over the past five years.[10]

The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $266,125.[10] The average indebtedness of the 77% of 2013 Case Western Reserve graduates who took out loans was $113,416.[11] 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.[12]

Notable faculty[edit]

  • Jonathan H. Adler - A contributing editor to National Review Online and a regular contributor to “The Volokh Conspiracy,"
  • Michael P. Scharf - Scharf serves as Interim Co-Dean of the law school and is the former Associate Dean for Global Legal Studies.

Notable graduates[edit]

Among Case 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 federal bench who are Case 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.

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

Government and Politics[edit]

Business and Industry[edit]




In popular culture[edit]

  • In 2010, the show The Deep End on ABC features a main character, Addy Fisher, who graduated from Case Western Reserve Law School.[14]


External links[edit]