The Grand Tour:
Law Schools Around the U.S.

It all began in 1989 or so, when I got my driver's license. I needed someplace to go, so I rented a car and drove around looking at law schools. I saw about 25 schools in 10 days. (I was supposed to see about 30, but the combination of exhaustion and a truly rotten sense of direction dictated otherwise. I mean, I was headed for Touro and ended up at the Teddy Roosevelt House -- really! And if you know Long Island, you know that means really lost! (Teddy had a great house -- you should see the bookcases everywhere. There were a few too many animal parts for my liking, but he was famous as a big-game hunter.)

Despite the exhaustion, I hit upon two great realizations:

  • You won't remember more than two schools a day no matter what you do; and
  • if you don't bring a camera, you don't remember which school is which.

So for the next several years, I set aside a week or two to practice my driving and my photographic skills. Both improved greatly with time. (I quickly learned that my eye might see a building beyond that tree, but the camera sees the tree.)

By the time Philly went bankrupt and it was time for me to leave, I had toured New England and the Middle Atlantic region. When I moved to Durham, NC, I added schools from DC to New Orleans. Law Forums in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco gave me a chance to add three- or four-day tours of each region. Then I moved to Seattle and added the Pacific Northwest region.

A tour to take a family friend to look at colleges added a few schools, attendance at a graduation added a few more, a consulting gig here and there added a couple, and before you know it I had seen well over a hundred law schools.

So I never set out to see all the law schools, and I never will.

  • I have no need to visit Hawaii -- I'm a bug-phobe.
  • In places where there are no law forums, I need a graduation or consulting contract to lure me; I rarely travel to "see the sights."
  • Some schools are just too regional; they don't recruit out-of-state, and the clients I get from those states want me to get them out of there!

But that being stated, I have seen most every major city, at least in passing. I can tally it up if you really want, but by the end of 2009 (when I plan to add ten more midwestern schools, including Iowa and Wash .U., and perhaps the schools in the Miami area that I missed last year (remember my penchant for getting lost?) I expect I'll have seen about 140 law schools.

But here's the catch: I visited some of those schools in 1989! So my goal isn't to give you a description of the Moot Court Room or of the wireless network (wireless? What was that -- in 1989?) but of the University, the Law School, and the area in general.

Those of you who know me know that I am as outspoken as a half-Italian-half-Russian from the east coast can be. My prejudices are for the Northern and the urban, and mountains and waterfalls are great if you can see them from the car. So don't expect too much objectivity here; I'll just never wax poetic about winding roads through virgin forests. But I'll try hard to let you know when I'm being biased, so you can adjust your reading accordingly.

Okay, if you're ready to go for a ride, click the link to the "Grand Tour" located below.


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