University of Arizona Law School

Downtown Tucson
Don't blink, you'll miss it. Downtown Tucson consists of just three tall buildings all of which were specifically on our little driving map. I actually missed downtown the first time we drove through it. I made hubby turn around and prove that I had actually driven through it. Not impressed. Tucson may have all of the components of a 900,000+ person city, but they are really spread out. It doesn't feel like a downtown with a vibrant character to it. There is no walking downtown for a show, catching a nice diner, and then driving home. We want a different feel to a city. Also, unlike Phoenix, I didn't really feel that safe in Tucson. I actually locked the car doors when we started driving through. Peeling paint, not so nice businesses, and rock yards in front of the houses were not selling points.
The campus itself is much better. Some of their buildings are quite modern and the medical school is especially nice. After driving through the rest of Tucson, the area seemed quite nice actually. The law school itself will only exist as is for another few months. This fall's 1L class will move with the rest of the law school to an apartment complex for their 1L year while the building is being renovated. While an upgrade will be nice, it's still Tucson. As is the facility lacks power supplies for laptops in classrooms and also has a really weird classroom design where all of the classrooms are located outside of the main law building in little columns which resemble the legs of a spider. The lawbrary was unimpressive and dated, lacking natural sunlight and comfy workstations. Admittedly the admissions people were much better than ASU and answered all of my questions. They realize their facility's weaknesses and realize that the current setup doesn't match the way students study today. The new facility should be much better. Hmm...maybe if I was going to be part of the 2013 class and would matriculate post renovation. In the mean time, Tucson is now at the bottom of the wish list.

UofA Law School Courtyard
Pluses UofA:
  • Slightly better ranking than ASU (doesn't make up for the facilities difference at this point)
  • Slightly better weather (10 degrees cooler than Phoenix)
  • Good clinical program
  • Innovative 1L internship program was impressive. Most schools don't have something like this.
  • Friendly and informative admissions staff who are really proud of their school and seem willing to go the extra miles for their students.
  • Soon to be new building.
  • Not a "regional" school despite it's reputation.

Minuses of UofA:

  • 4k higher tuition than ASU
  • It's in Tucson
  • Typical student housing was not impressive
  • Public transportation not the best
  • Apartments for classrooms?
  • Not near family