School of Law
George Gund Hall
Founded in 1892, the Franklin Thomas Backus School of Law of Case Western Reserve University is a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools and of the national law honorary society, the Order of the Coif. It was among the first law schools accredited by the American Bar Association.
The school has a student body of about 500 and a full-time faculty of about fifty. In the school’s early years, most students came from Ohio and remained in Ohio after graduation. Today, students come from all parts of the USA and the world, and there are CWRU law graduates in virtually every state and many foreign countries (with particular concentrations in Asia and the Middle East). An active and aggressive Career Development Office works with students, graduates, and prospective employers from all over the nation to maximize job opportunities.
Since the mid-1970s, the School of Law has invested heavily in its litigation program. Students practice the basic skills of trial advocacy in such courses as LAWS 6110, LAWS 6111, and in the co-curricular moot court and mock trial programs.
The JD program in the School of Law offers a number of opportunities for students to engage in comparative legal study. The law school has cooperative agreements with over 20 schools in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America, allowing students to study at the host school for a semester and transfer the completed credits to the CWRU JD program. In addition to traditional semester-long exchange programs, the law school offers concurrent degree programs with prestigious universities in England, France, and Spain. Through these programs, students can earn two degrees - a JD from our law school and an LLM from the partner school - in just three years, for the same price as those earning just the JD. Students spend their 1L and 2L years at our law school, and then their third year at the foreign partner school. The law school also offers the Case Abroad at Home program, which brings foreign scholars to campus to offer special one-week intensive courses immediately prior to the start of the fall term each year.
The School of Law publishes three scholarly journals, all student-edited. The oldest is the Case Western Reserve Law Review. The Journal of International Law is an academic journal specializing in research in the areas of international and comparative law. Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine began as a joint undertaking of all six of the university’s professional schools but since 1990, has been sponsored solely by the law school and its Law-Medicine Center.
A student board administers the Dean Dunmore Moot Court Competition, a year long program in which second-year students participate after completing the Appellate Practice course. It culminates in a round-robin tournament involving 16 finalists. From those finalists, the executive board and faculty advisors select teams that will compete the following year in external moot-court competitions (currently the National Moot Court Competition and the ABA's National Appellate Advocacy Competition.) Case Western Reserve also enters the Jessup International Competition, the International Criminal Court Competition, and the Vis International Arbitration Competition; those teams are selected by the faculty coaches in a joint intramural try-out competition in the fall.
The Jonathan M. Ault Mock Trial Board sponsors the Case Classic, an invitational competition involving law schools from places as diverse as Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, and Alabama. The Case Classic provides a competitive and collegial environment for multiple teams to tune up for the Spring competition season. Currently, the law school sends a team to the National Trial Competition, the National Student Trial Competition of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and a competition sponsored by the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.