At the School of Law
What is it like to study law at UDC David A. Clarke School of Law? Exciting. Demanding. Rife with opportunities to make a difference. Here, you become part of a learning community whose members work hard together, share their lives with each other, and build upon each other’s special expertise, consciousness, and spirit.
Located in a beautiful, tree-lined neighborhood on the Van Ness Campus of the University of the District of Columbia, the School of Law is served by a modern subway system, as well as by several city bus lines. UDC Law thus is easily accessible to downtown, Capitol Hill, to local and federal courts, and to many public and private agencies.
The School of Law’s program attracts a student body that is diverse, accomplished, and committed to the public interest. Students, faculty, and staff believe that the combination of theoretical discourse in the classroom and extensive required experiential training in the clinics is the most effective way to approach learning the law.
Diversity of Ethnicity, Age, Background, and Experience
UDC Law’s student body is a culturally and ethnically diverse group that reflects the school’s commitment to expand legal educational opportunity to people from groups which traditionally have been under-represented in the legal profession. The average age of UDC Law students is 30. Women comprise 60% of the student body. The minority student population is over 50%. UDC Law students come from all over the United States and from several foreign countries. A number of students hold Master’s degrees and some have earned doctorates in disciplines including political science, philosophy and medicine.
Many UDC Law students have been tested by the demands of the working world and come from all walks of life — education, science, business, the ministry, medicine, law enforcement, government, the arts, social work, and the military.
What is the ideal pre-law career? If you ask a UDC Law student, you might be surprised by the response. One student owned and operated an art museum; another was an aeronautical engineer. Yet another student was a Ph.D. pathologist for the National Institutes of Health. Students have other backgrounds — Army officers, college professors, registered nurses, police officers, an author, a psychologist, and public school teachers. A number have worked as paralegals and come with extensive practical legal experience. There are a number of students, as well, who come to UDC Law directly from college.
Pioneering a New Tradition
UDC Law attracts people who are not afraid to work hard and take up new challenges. Students are encouraged to engage in constructive dialogue with the faculty and staff, not only regarding student organizations, but with regard to current and future programs, including courses and clinical offerings. Students serve with faculty on committees such as Curriculum and Clinical Affairs, Academic Standards, and Admission. Students choose student leaders and help to chart the directions that student life will take at UDC Law, setting the standards for future students.
Dedication to Public Service
A portrait of a typical UDC Law student would be incomplete without recognition of the characteristic strength of dedication to public service and causes that affect the quality of life in this country and throughout the world. One student, for example, worked with a Network of Women in Government and Politics organization, arranging public panel discussions on women’s issues ranging from education and health care to reproductive rights and politics. Another student did volunteer work at the NAACP, while another worked as a volunteer teaching the homeless how to locate affordable housing. Yet another student works at a rape crisis hotline. UDC Law was recognized as #1 among U.S. law schools for Most Community Service Hours Per Student by The National Jurist (2017).
An Ideal Place to Live and Study
Washington, D.C., is an ideal place to live and to study law. More than in any other city, it affords law students the opportunity to serve as volunteers, as externs, or to work as employees in thousands of local, national, and international government, public interest, legal, judicial, legislative, and regulatory organizations and offices.
The university’s location in the nation’s capital offers students access to cultural, intellectual, and political activities unequaled anywhere in the United States. The federal government, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the numerous galleries, museums, halls for the performing arts, and other facilities of the capital provide a rich setting for educational endeavors. The Washington metropolitan area features numerous parks and woodlands, and beaches and mountains are within easy commuting distance of the District.
Washington, D.C. offers students a rich social and cultural setting reflecting the ethnic makeup of the city. Museums, radio stations, entertainment events, and community activities oriented to the multicultural community abound. Opportunities for students to participate in the life of the community are enhanced by the school’s commitment to involvement in the life and needs of the city. Despite its bustling international metropolitan nature, Washington has a small-town ambiance that offers unlimited opportunities for personal, educational, and professional growth.