What's Special About...?

Sometime around 1997, one of my interview questions was, "Where else do your applicants tend to apply, and how are you different from them?"  I've reported the results for all interviewed schools below, and added my own thoughts where possible.  Please note that I don't endorse what the admissions officer said; I haven't been to many of these schools, and I certainly don't know them well enough to judge comments about programs or administration.  Also note that neither "not interviewed" nor "not visited" is a comment about the schools.  Some schools don't attend forums, or I missed them for some reason, and I visit schools within driving distance of my home or when I happen to be in an area; I've just never happened to be in Wyoming or Hawaii.

The list of comparable schools is helpful for two reasons:  right now it shows you whom the person quoted was comparing their school to; In June, it will show you which wait lists are connected to the one you're interested in.

I was thinking of retiring this data in 2010, but I decided to give it a second look before doing so, and I'm glad I did:  I had something new to say, usually based on a visit, for 40 of the 180-or-so schools!  Loretta's thoughts for 2010 are highlighted thus.  Older thoughts match the older chart.

School Comparable Schools A School Representative Said: Loretta's Thoughts
Akron Capital, Cleveland State, Toledo, Dayton Trial Advocacy, Low Tuition very suburban
Alabama Cumberland Higher Standards, Low Cost major college town
Albany Syracuse SUNY In state capital, student/faculty ratios, bar passage Beautiful law school, but no campus
American George Mason GW Maryland Boston U. Friendly and feminist New building, nice campus; closest law school to Morty's (formerly Krupin's) deli.
Arizona Arizona St. New Mexico Small, friendly, high diversity, emotional support not visited.  Great admissions staff.
Arizona State Arizona Cal & NY schools Quality of life, solid and affordable. Suburban. Pueblo-modern architecture, way too hot. Great admissions staff.
Ark.-Fayetteville Ark.-Little Rock not interviewed not visited
Ark.-Little Rock Ark.-Fayetteville not interviewed not visited
Baltimore Catholic Widener Nova not interviewed Urban Campus
Baylor Texas SMU Vanderbilt not interviewed Trial Advocacy, Waco.
Boston College Boston U. Northeastern UNC Notre Dame Hastings Fordham GW Georgetown William & Mary Quiet atmosphere, isolated, supportive community emphasize "isolated"
Boston U. Boston College Northeastern Fordham American Maryland Tulane Job placement, trial advocacy excellent Boston location; one of the best urban campuses. 
Brigham Young Utah Arizona not interviewed Mormon
Brooklyn Cardozo Fordham Hofstra Pace Rutgers Strong clinical programs & minority recruiting trial advocacy; nice building
Cal-Berkeley Stanford Chicago Harvard Low cost, high diversity, emphasize social policy Prop 209 problems, but fabulous campus and law school.  More of a college town than I expected. 
Cal-Davis Hastings McGeorge UCLA USC Civil Rights Suburban/Rural, Prop 209 problems
Cal-Hastings Berkeley Davis UCLA USC Strong public sector law dealing with real life problems LEOP Program limited somewhat to play USNews rankings game. 
Cal-UCLA Berkeley Davis Hastings USC Cornell GW Penn Accessible faculty, diversity, public interest law Prop 209 problems, but great staff. 
California Western Whittier Pepperdine Golden Gate Chapman Thomas Jefferson Western State Accessible faculty and staff user friendly environment high attrition rate
Campbell Central South Carolina UNC Wake Forest Good practitioner reputation Southern Baptist.  2010:  moved to a more urban locale.
Capital Akron Dayton Toledo Cleveland State In state capital, International Law, Dispute Resolution not visited
Cardozo Brooklyn Fordham Hofstra Pace NYLS Entertainment and immigration 5th Avenue location
Case Western Reserve Ohio State Wash U. Tulane BC BU Commitment to teaching the skills needed now, not 30 years ago A best buy -- good everything!
Catholic American Maryland Syracuse DCLS Small, personalized, community spirit, ethics Communications Law
Chapman Western State Thomas Jefferson Cal Western Whittier Smaller Classes, Full Campus not visited
Chicago Columbia Stanford Berkeley Michigan Economic analysis of law Conservative. Not handicapped-accessible.
Chicago-Kent John Marshall Loyola DePaul Innovative technology in school, lots of writing busy urban campus
Cincinnati Case Western Ohio State Kentucky Louisville St. Louis W. Virginia not interviewed good campus, solid reputation
Cleveland State Akron Case Western Toledo Capital Russian Law, academic support, active student body gorgeous law school!  Livable city with population of over 2 million.  Great people work and attend there. 
Colorado Denver New Mexico Arizona Oregon not interviewed Boulder didn't live up to its reputation, IMHO.  Not nearly as eclectic as Eugene or Ann  Arbor.
Columbia NYU Chicago Stanford Harvard Yale "Applicants should discover this for themselves." Location, location, location!
Building is institutional and closed to outsiders.

Connecticut Albany Northeastern Boston U. Syracuse not interviewed Northeast Compact limits seats available for residents out of New England. Wonderful admissions staff.
Cornell Penn NYU George Washington Georgetown UCLA Small size, quality of university, Paris program liberal small town
Creighton Nebraska S. Dakota Drake Washburn Kansas Kansas City not interviewed Jesuit, urban.  A beautiful building in a reasonable city.  Like Des Moines, it had more to offer than I expected.  Superb staff and administration. 
Dayton Akron Toledo Capital Cleveland State N. Kentucky 25/75 Error In Official Guide; ABA Reports 2.98-3.47, 146-153 Catholic; more than 50% non-resident
Denver Colorado New Mexico Arizona State Supportive staff, urban environment Private; great new building!
DePaul John Marshall Chicago-Kent Loyola Valparaiso Marquette Wayne State Wash U Trial Practice, International Human Rights, Church State Studies Not a full campus; not ostentatiously Catholic.  Excellent public interest programs. 
Detroit College Detroit Wayne State Hamline William Mitchell Valparaiso not interviewed Large state university, increasing reputation. 
Detroit Mercy Detroit College Wayne State Jesuit, Canadian Law not visited
DC Law School Baltimore Catholic Howard CUNY Public Interest Law, DC Residence Frequently provisionally accredited
Drake Creighton Iowa Nebraska Washburn Kansas Smaller school, more attention

Capital city, though small, is funky and has significant cultural and ethnic touches. I liked the building, too. 

Duke Penn UNC Vanderbilt Virginia Less competitive than Ivies Less urban than you'd think.  Location is the best of the south (along with UNC, just down the road).
Duquesne Pitt Dickinson W. Virginia Temple Good practitioner reputation Catholic
Emory Vanderbilt Georgia Duke Georgetown UVA Atlanta; Theology programs, A best buy -- good everything!
Florida Florida State Emory Alabama Tulane Publishing faculty, good library 90% resident, affirmative action problems
Florida State Florida Stetson Mercer Young energetic faculty, small personable school Affirmative action problems. In the panhandle.
Fordham NYU Cardozo Boston College George Washington Conservative Jesuit institution. Perillo for Contracts Midtown Manhattan location, with dorms.
Franklin Pierce W. New England New England Suffolk Quinnipiac Computer tutorials, good environment, technology law No campus
George Mason American Catholic William & Mary not interviewed State tuition, specialty tracks.  Virginia, not DC. 
G W Georgetown American Public interest programs Elderly, prisoners, and elderly prisoners
Georgetown GW NYU Penn Columbia Northwestern Curriculum b, practitioner reputation, more liberal International diplomacy, human rights
Georgia Georgia State Emory Traditional program, college town Athens is not Atlanta; this is the old south.
Georgia State Georgia Emory Mercer Florida Older student body, diversity, part-time programs, atlanta Urban Atlanta pros and cons.
Golden Gate San Francisco Santa Clara McGeorge Pepperdine San Diego Strong clinical programs, diversity, urban setting No campus.
Gonzaga Seattle not interviewed Jesuit, urban setting, foothills of the Rockies
Hamline William Mitchell Marquette Valparaiso Very young and flexible, religion and law, dispute resolution Nice city, older facilities, friendly staff.
Harvard Yale Stanford Columbia Michigan Big city, big name, large class, sink or swim The new library isn't so hot.
Hawaii none?! 30% non-residents, Pacific/Asian legal studies not visited
Hofstra Pace Brooklyn St. John’s Accessible faculty, diversity, support for minority students little overlap with city schools; not visited
Houston S. Texas St. Mary's SMU Tulane Small population, accessible faculty Generic modern city, generic state school.
Howard Catholic, Maryland, Loyola-New Orleans, NC Central not interviewed Premier HBC, Civil Rights Law
Idaho Gonzaga Montana Utah not interviewed Shares facilities with Washington State University
Illinois Bloomington Iowa Minnesota not interviewed 2 1/2 Hours From Chicago, Top Reputation, Good Diversity
Ind-Bloomington Indianapolis Illinois Rural environment, full-time teachers Beautiful campus and law school.
Ind-Indianapolis Bloomington Urban environment, health law Visited the city very briefly; nothing negative came to my notice. 
Iowa Minnesota Illinois Bloomington Michigan UNC Drake Chicago Schools Diversity of students and faculty, large library, quality teaching Archetypal state school -- big, out-of-town, accessible. Friendly staff, modern facilities. Town is WAY too small for me.
John Marshall Chicago-Kent Loyola DePaul Cardozo Brooklyn Small classes, intellectual property Conservative; no campus.
Kansas Nebraska Washburn Mo-KC Mo.-Columbia Creighton not interviewed College town, low tuition, state school
Kentucky Louisville W. Virginia Case Western Better alumni reputation, environment law journal (mining) Mineral rights favors corporations.
Lewis & Clark Oregon Seattle Colorado Urban environment, environment law program No campus; modern city.
Louisiana State Tulane Loyola-New Orleans S. Texas not interviewed

State residents only?
2010:  May be broadening its admissions policies with new admissions officer.

Louisville N. Kentucky Kentucky Dayton not interviewed Nice campus, nice city
Loyola-Chicago Chicago-Kent DePaul American Boston College Safe city, child advocacy law Urban campus; new library is cramped.
Loyola-L.A. USC American Boston U. Hastings Tulane UCLA Santa Clara Higher diversity, internships, scholarships Entertainment law; funky urban campus.
Loyola-New Orleans Tulane Southern St. Mary's Small, cheap, more congenial

Old buildings, great location.

-- still recovering. 

Maine Vermont Franklin Pierce Massachusetts Schools Generalist approach not visited
Marquette Wisconsin DePaul Hamline Cooperative accessible faculty, good job placement, "Milwaukee is a big small town." Briefly visited -- industrial city, older facilities.
Maryland Baltimore American George Mason Boston U. Fordham Diversity of opportunity and electives, clinicals, personable Urban campus; near the Inner Harbor.
McGeorge Davis Pepperdine San Francisco Golden Gate San Diego not interviewed State capital, legislative internships, more agricultural than urban -- this ain't San Fran!
Memphis Mercer Mississippi Tennessee Urban environment; more legal opportunities. Bad modern city; sprawl without a cultural center.
Mercer Memphis S. Carolina Samford Small size Quaint old town.
Miami Nova Temple Syracuse Florida St. Stetson Scholarships, location not visited; good rep in the north.
Michigan NYU Chicago Columbia Berkeley Stanford Minnesota Georgetown Duke UVA College town, full-time faculty, inter-disciplinary programs The only cosmopolitan college town I've seen.  Fabulous faculty and administration. 
Minnesota Iowa Illinois Michigan Notre Dame Low tuition, great faculty and library not visited.  Library is reportedly beautiful
Mississippi Mississippi Coll. Loyola-N.O. Memphis Samford Low tuition, 80% state resident This is the Deep South -- get me outta here!
Miss. College Loyola-New Orleans Tulane Memphis Samford Smaller & cheaper than other private schools Nice small town, friendly staff.
Mo-Columbia Mo-KC St. Louis Washington U. Kansas College town, domestic violence clinic. Archetypal state school -- big, out-of-town, accessible. Friendly staff, modern facilities.
Mo-Kansas City Mo.-Columbia St. Louis Wash .U. Washburn not interviewed not visited. Major city, urban campus
Montana Idaho Gonzaga Tiny school, practice oriented not visited.
Nebraska Kansas Creighton Washburn Drake S. Dakota not interviewed Archetypal state school -- big, out-of-town, accessible. Friendly staff, modern facilities.
New England Suffolk part-time day program for mothers, low tuition for private school Good location on Boston Common.
New Mexico Arizona St. Denver Texas Tech. not interviewed Native American Programs
New York - CUNY DC NYLS NC Central Public interest law, diversity of student body Very liberal, practice-oriented.
New York - SUNY Syracuse Fordham American Albany Innovative curriculum, emphasis on writing Good law school and campus. Very liberal.
New York Law School Cardozo Hofstra Pace Brooklyn More local than national, liberal, good faculty

Very urban -- no campus.

2010 -- new building, not yet visited. 

New York University Penn Columbia Duke Cornell Public interest and poverty interest Urban campus, but with a park!
UNC - Chapel Hill Wake Forest Duke Emory Vanderbilt Low cost, friendly, corporate and tax programs Good law school and campus. Location is the best of the south (along with Duke, just down the road).
NC Central Campbell Southern Howard UNC High public service placement Low-budget state school.
North Dakota      not interviewed not visited.
Northeastern Suffolk Boston U. American Maryland Connecticut co-op program, less competitive-pass/fail grades Not a full campus; great Boston location
Northern Ill. S. Illinois Valparaiso Drake Chicago-Kent Small, public interest, closer to chicago not visited.
Northern Kentucky Cincinnati Kentucky Capital Louisville not interviewed Low-budget campus, but liberal.
Northwestern Chicago Michigan Boston U UCLA Non-competitive and comfortable Not a full campus; nice law library.
Lake Michigan and Michigan Ave!
Notre Dame BC Fordham Community Service Very Catholic, very isolated.
Nova St. Thomas Miami All small classes, hands on experience not visited.
Ohio Northern Capital Dayton Toledo Cleveland State Small school, we really care More non-residents
Ohio State Case Western Notre Dame Michigan Cincinnati Illinois Well rounded education-corporate, labor, tax Nice campus, urban environment, great administration; at 1.5 million, the metro is just a shade too small for my style.
Oklahoma Oklahoma City Tulsa SMU Mississippi S. Texas not interviewed not visited.
Oklahoma City Oklahoma Tulsa Less expensive, good city Teach the fundamentals
Oregon Lewis & Clark UC-Davis Tulane American Fordham not interviewed Friendly town, friendly school
Pace Hofstra NYLS Brooklyn Cardozo St. John's not interviewed Out of the city--slower pace
Penn NYU Duke Cornell Columbia UCLA Georgetown Less competitive grading Best urban campus!
Beautiful law school. My first love, so I am shamelessly biased. 
Penn State Villanova Pitt West Va Duquesne Maryland Temple American Catholic Open door policy, not cut-throat, practical training Carlisle looks just like Mayberry!
Now two campuses -- College Park and Dickinson -- haven't seen either one.
Pepperdine San Diego San Fran Santa Clara Golden Gate McGeorge Whittier not interviewed Conservative Christian school with a great view!
Pittsburgh Duquesne Dickinson Temple Villanova Case W. Virginia Quiet city, strong clinical programs, commitment of faculty & staff Good urban campus, good city.
Quinnipiac Franklin Pierce Nova Mercer New England Whittier Valparaiso not interviewed Quintessential suburban campus, nice touches that only money can buy. 
Regent Campbell Stetson Pepperdine Richmond not interviewed not visited.
Religious mission
Richmond Emory Wake Forest Cumberland Maryland Washington & Lee William & Mary Friendly, personalized education Suburban campus in an urban setting
Roger Williams      not interviewed not visited.
Rutgers-Camden Rutgers-Newark Temple Widener Seton Hall Accessible faculty South Jersey job market
Rutgers-Newark Fordham NYU Temple Villanova not interviewed New York jobs at New Jersey tuition;
awesome new millennium building.
Saint John's Hofstra Pace Cardozo NYLS Better reputation not visited. very Catholic.
Saint Louis Wash. U. Mo.-Columbia DePaul Professional skills, health and employment law not visited.
Saint Mary's Loyola-New Orleans Tulsa S. Texas SMU Texas Tech Commitment to diversity; Mexican Immigrant Law not visited.
Saint Thomas Miami Nova Loyola-New Orleans Mercer Location, small size, immigration clinic not visited.
Samford Alabama Mercer Emory Florida State Georgia State Tennessee "We're Better" Deep South, not very friendly.
San Diego San Francisco Santa Clara Golden Gate McGeorge not interviewed Good campus, imposing buildings
San Francisco Santa Clara Golden Gate John Marshall McGeorge Pepperdine Faculty commitment to student Urban campus, good location.
Santa Clara UC-Hastings UC-Davis Loyola-La Academic support program, very friendly environment, high tech law Lovely Spanish-style buildings, nice law school.
Seattle Lewis & Clark Cosmopolitan city, flexible schedules, broad based education New building, great city; heck, I chose to live here out of 100 cities I've visited!  Funky cool counterculture.
Seton Hall Rutgers-Camden Rutgers-Newark Quinnipiac Relaxed, open and supportive, gun control law, immigration Funky modern building, practically connected to NY train station.
South Carolina Mercer Campbell Emory Cumberland Mississippi Pro bono program, good law review Small town, okay campus.
South Dakota Creighton Drake Nebraska not interviewed not visited.
South Texas Texas Southern Houston St. Mary's part-time program, trial advocacy generic campus,
great admissions staff
Southern Cal. UCLA Hastings Penn Northwestern Georgetown S/f ratio 13 to 1; "We try to make students happy." Nice campus, nice law school; California cool.
Southern Illinois N. Illinois Louisville not interviewed not visited.
Southern Methodist Texas Emory Vanderbilt Houston Baylor Tulane Pepperdine Wash U Metropolitan, less competitive, public service requirement Suburban campus in an urban environment
Southern U. Central Texas Southern LSU Tulane not interviewed Best HBC campus, 80 miles from New Orleans
Southwestern Whittier San Diego Cal. Western Pepperdine Two Year Program Downtown L.A. location
Stanford Berkeley Chicago Harvard Michigan Columbia not interviewed Oxford Meets California -- magnificent building! Magnificent admissions officer -- but good luck getting in!
Stetson Miami Nova Small size Religious reputation stronger than actual effect
Suffolk New England Northeastern BU John Marshall Cardozo not interviewed Focus on state legislature, conservative commuter schools
Syracuse SUNY Temple Albany Franklin Pierce Summer Program in Zimbabwe Strong alumni reputation
Temple Suffolk Miami Pitt Dickinson Villanova Rutgers-Camden Diversity, semester in Japan Trial Advocacy.  Good administration.
Good urban campus
Tennessee Vanderbilt Memphis St. Location and atmosphere new building; generic modern city.
Texas Vanderbilt Virginia Duke State School, 80% Resident not visited.
Texas Southern Southern Central S. Texas St. Mary's not interviewed Takes more risks in admissions, higher attrition rate
Texas Tech. SMU Tulsa Oklahoma Houston not interviewed not visited.
Texas Wesleyan South Texas, Texas Tech, Tulsa, St. Mary's not interviewed Cute school, cute city, great administration
Thomas Jefferson Whittier, Chapman, Western State not interviewed Commuter school with an ocean view
Thomas M. Cooley Widener Two year program, flexible schedules not visited.
Toledo Dayton Akron Faculty accessibility and support not visited.
Touro Cardozo Hofstra Pace Brooklyn not interviewed Jewish calendar, has moved to a more central Long Island location
Tulane SMU Emory Texas Vanderbilt Diversity Beautiful campus, beautiful city -- still recovering. 
Tulsa Oklahoma Oklahoma City Arkansas Houston Kansas Modern facilities, low crime city, not too competitive Helpful faculty and admin.not visited.
Utah Brigham Young Idaho Colorado Arizona not interviewed not visited.
Valparaiso Capital Bloomington Chicago-Kent N. Ill. S/f ratio, size, public interest law Not visited.
Vanderbilt Virginia Duke Student life Country music capital of the U.S.
Vermont Lewis & Clark Colorado Franklin Pierce Boston U Pace Syracuse Clinical programs, good community Idyllic rural beauty and isolation
Villanova Temple Rutgers BC Pitt Duquesne Solid regional reputation Philly's Main Line, is the ultimate college town/city blend.
Virginia Vanderbilt Duke Reputation new building, old Virginia.
Wake Forest Duke UNC Washington Lee William-Mary Non-competitive, good location Suburban Christian environment
Washburn Kansas Creighton Drake Mo-KC Nebraska not interviewed not visited.
Washington UCLA Colorado USC not interviewed Institutional architecture, commuter-school mentality. 
Washington U. St. Louis BC BU Emory Tulane Faculty commitment to teaching and students Beautiful city, beautiful facilities, French and Southern influences, but primarily midwestern.  I gave it an A. 
Washington & Lee Wake William & Mary Virginia Duke S/f ratio 11 to 1, racially mixed, strong honor code Nice campus, but isolated.
Wayne State Detroit Detroit College Better study environment, high bar passage rate not visited.
West Virginia Pitt Duquesne Dickinson Case not interviewed Rural Mountain Location
Western N. Eng. Franklin Pierce Vermont Suffolk New England Connecticut not interviewed Typical middle American town and institution
Western State Whittier, Cal Western, Chapman, Thomas Jefferson Golden Gate not interviewed Occasionally accredited, trying hard.
Whittier Pepperdine McGeorge San Diego Cal. Western Good faculty credentials, open door policy, safe location Orange County safety and conservativeness.
Widener Temple Rutgers-Camden Baltimore Penn State not interviewed Large classes, two campuses
Willamette Oregon Lewis & Clark Seattle Small city, small classes Legislative programs, cute campus
William & Mary Wake Washington And Lee Virginia (Most) Legal Skills Curriculum high-tech Moot Court room.
William Mitchell Hamline Drake Creighton Many clinicals, 90% employed by graduation Modern facilities, friendly city -- A+!
Wisconsin Minnesota Iowa Public Interest Law, Clinicals Smaller town than I would wish for.
Wyoming Colorado Denver not interviewed not visited.
Yale Stanford Harvard Chicago Small size, cosmopolitan student body The student always comes first


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