School of Law
George Gund Hall
Founded in 1892, the Case Western Reserve University School of Law 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 country, and there are CWRU law graduates in virtually every state (and in several foreign countries), and certainly in every major U.S. city. An active and aggressive Career Services Office works with students, graduates, and prospective employers from all over the nation to maximize job opportunities.
The Judge Ben C. Green Law Library
The law library’s holdings include more than 410,000 books and volume-equivalents, complete collections of federal and state law, law reviews, current law services, an extensive British and Commonwealth collection, and special collections in taxation, labor law, foreign investments, international law, and environmental law. The law library is building strong collections in law and medicine, intellectual property, and law of the European Union. It is a selective depository for both U.S. and Canadian government documents. There are computer facilities on every floor of the library, providing access to more than 700 electronic services and library catalogs, and a wide range of software services. The university boasts a fast and powerful computing network and wireless access, and the university network links the law school to the vast resources of the Internet. The law library is a member of OhioLINK, which is a consortium of Ohio’s college and university libraries and the State Library of Ohio. OhioLINK offers access to more than 31 million library items from 79 institutions. These materials include items from law, medical, and special collections.
The law library offers its users access to an ever-expanding list of electronic research databases as well as e-books. Electronic resources are accessible through the library catalog and the Law Library Services page on our website. Web-based databases offered include Lexis/Nexis and Westlaw as well as over 100 OhioLINK databases (including Index to Legal Periodicals and Medline). Many of these OhioLINK databases contain the full text of journal articles. Housed within the law library are a computer laboratory and a computer training classroom.
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 Trial Tactics, LAWS 6111 Appellate Practice, 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 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.
Regulations and Rules of Conduct
The Academic Regulations of the School of Law are provided to each student upon matriculation through the law school’s website.
In addition to the university’s rules of conduct, law students are expected to comply with the American Bar Association’s Model Code of Professional Responsibility and Model Rules of Professional Conduct, to the extent that these are applicable, and with the law school’s own Code of Conduct. The Model Code and Model Rules are available in the law library. The school’s Code of Conduct, like the Academic Regulations, is provided to each student upon matriculation through the law school’s Intranet website.
Regular class attendance, a high degree of preparation for class, a high degree of participation in class discussions, and diligent execution of class exercises or assignments are required of every student. At the option of the instructor and after notification to the student, one who violates this regulation shall be withdrawn from the course, and the grade WF shall be entered on the student's transcript.
In light of the sudden shift to remote instruction beginning in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, law students in the second and third years of JD program were given the option to convert earned letter grades to either Pass or No Entry, or to keep their evaluative grades in all of their Spring 2020 courses. For the first year JD students, all course grades were given on an Honors/Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. For law courses in programs other than the JD, there was no changing from the standard grading bases. Academic probation and dismissal actions that would normally be taken at the conclusion of the Spring semester were deferred until after the Fall 2020 semester.
Jessica Willen Berg, JD, MPH
(Cornell University, Case Western Reserve University)
Michael P. Scharf, JD
Alyson Suter Alber, JD
(University of Virginia)
Associate Dean for Enrollment Planning and Strategic Initiatives
Avidan Y. Cover, JD
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Kelli C. Curtis, JD
(Ohio State University)
Associate Dean for Admissions
Sarah McFarlane Polly, JD
(Ohio State University)
Senior Associate Dean for Student Services and Career Development
Laura E. McNally-Levine, JD
Associate Dean for Experiential Education
Joseph A. Custer, JD, MLIS
(University of Arkansas, University of Missouri - Kansas City)
Director, The Judge Ben C. Green Law Library
Michael T. McCarthy, JD
(Washington and Lee University)
Assistant Dean for Student Services
Mary Beth Moore, JD
(Cleveland State University)
Assistant Dean of Career Development
Melanie Walker, MBA
(Cleveland State University)
Assistant Dean of Finance and Administration
Coleman P. Burke Center for Environmental Law
Nearly a decade after endowing a professorship in honor of his law school mentor Leon Gabinet, alumnus Coleman P. Burke (LAW ’70) has committed $10 million to establish a center at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law that combines two of the driving passions of his life: the environment and the law.
The gift — the largest in the law school’s 126-year history — creates the Coleman P. Burke Center for Environmental Law. The Burke Center will dramatically expand students’ learning opportunities in environmental law, while also establishing the school as a leading intellectual hub of interdisciplinary research and thought leadership in this rapidly growing field.
Milton A. Kramer Law Clinic Center
The Supreme Court of Ohio authorizes student practice under attorney supervision in the final year of law school. Through the clinic, students provide legal representation to indigent clients and community groups and receive academic credit. The supervising attorneys are full-time members of the law faculty. The clinical program is the capstone of the skills curriculum and offers specialized practice experiences in Criminal Justice, Community Development, Civil Litigation Practice, focused on consumer matters, predatory lending, social security disability, and other public benefit issues, Immigration, Health Law, and Family Law.
Center for Business Law and Regulation
To better prepare its students and future leaders with a thorough understanding of the business issues facing entrepreneurs, entities, and other clients, the School of Law created the Center for Business Law and Regulation. The center focuses on expanding curricular offerings and programs as well as engaging in opportunities for legal, empirical, and interdisciplinary research, assessing the role and impact of government in the regulation of business. The center will also host special lectures and symposia to highlight topics in business law and foster public debate and inquiry regarding business regulation.
Spangenberg Center for Law, Technology and the Arts
The Spangenberg Center for Law, Technology, and the Arts was established as an internationally recognized forum for the interdisciplinary study of law, technology, and the arts. The Center focuses on teaching, research, and programs pertaining to intellectual property, technological innovation and technology transfer, the intersection of science, economics, philosophy, and the law, legal issues concerning biotechnology and computer technologies, and laws and cultural issues relating to the creative arts. Through the Center, the law school is able to offer students opportunities to address important, topical issues relating to law and technology and law and the arts through a variety of courses, lectures, events, and symposia.
Frederick K. Cox International Law Center
The Cox International Law Center serves as the stimulus for enhancing programs in international, comparative, and transnational law at the law school. It supports visiting scholars and visiting faculty at the law school to enrich the curriculum and research capacity of the resident faculty. It also supports the development of international information resources. Through a series of sister law school relationships, it seeks to attract foreign students to the law school and provide opportunities for Case Western Reserve law students to study abroad; it also provides opportunities for faculty to study and teach abroad.
Institute for Global Security Law and Policy
The events and aftermath of 9/11 have made security and counter-terrorism fundamental, if not defining, concerns for the world community, nations, companies, the legal system, and individuals. The institute for Global Security Law and Policy was created in 2005 to provide a uniquely comprehensive hub for addressing the legal, financial, political, social, religious and cultural ramifications of counterterrorism, using an innovative multifaceted approach that integrates theory with practical application. The Institute develops and integrates the best learning from the academic and the real world and draws on numerous disciplines and experiences to provide innovative and world class programs, research, teaching, and service on the issues of security and counter-terrorism. The work of the Institute serves as an invaluable resource to governments, businesses, organizations, the legal profession, and the general community.
Financial Integrity Institute
The mission of the Financial Integrity Institute is to advance financial integrity globally by conducting and promoting at the highest standards research, education, and professional excellence in anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, targeted sanctions, anti-corruption, and international tax evasion policies and practices. The Institute has also recently launched a Master of Arts in Financial Integrity program at the School of Law.
The Law-Medicine Center at Case Western Reserve University has been in operation for over 50 years. It began with a focus on forensic medicine, but has broadened to include the whole range of legal, social, economic, scientific, and ethical issues in which law and medicine are interrelated. Besides the regular course offerings, the center frequently presents lectures, symposia, and workshops, and sponsors major conferences. It publishes a student-edited journal, Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine. Participants in the center’s activities include not only university personnel, but also professionals from such institutions as University Hospitals of Cleveland and the Cleveland Clinic.
Center for Cyberspace Law and Policy
The Center for Cyberspace Law and Policy is devoted to studying the creation, dissemination, and acquisition of human thought, creativity and information in the digital age. Through scholarship, teaching, and bringing together leading thinkers, the Center evaluates the laws, policies, and social forces that govern issues once limited to the Internet, but that are now commonplace in a world networked and mediated by digital technology.
Center for Professional Ethics
The center’s mission is to explore moral choices across professional lines in a variety of disciplines. It brings together practicing professionals, faculty and students to exchange ideas on such topics as confidentiality, decision-making, lying and conflict of interest. The Center for Professional Ethics was founded in 1978 by Robert P. Lawry, who retired from the law faculty in 2007, and Robert W. Clarke, retired Director of Case Western Reserve University’s Christian Movement. The center is supported by the David and Katherine Ragone Endowment Fund. The center plans to continue to draw upon its founding principles to expand its inter-disciplinary approach and put academic work into practice.
Social Justice Law Center
From our efforts to improve the county’s bail/bond system to our involvement in municipal police reform, from our international war crimes prosecution assistance to our research in Innocence Project cases, from our efforts to address human trafficking to our work to remedy the lead crisis in our city, Case Western Reserve University School of Law has been a leader in social justice. The Social Justice Law Center continues the tradition of exploring, teaching, and debating these critical issues in our contemporary society