The Capital University Law School (Capital Law) traces its history to the independent Columbus Law School founded in 1903 as part of the Y.M.C.A.’s movement to create part-time, evening law schools for working-class students. In 1950, the law school was accredited by the American Bar Association. Less than two decades late, it began its affiliation with the Capital University, the oldest University in Columbus, Ohio. Since becoming part of the Unversity, the law school has blossomed, increasing its faculty to over 80 professors providing the school with an excellent student-to-faculty ratio of 8 to 1. Located in the heart of Ohio’s capital city, the school’s proximity to the state’s legal complex has also shaped its history. This is reflected in the school’s many notable alumni including former secretaries of the state, lieutenant governors, and state and federal representatives including Congressman Jim Jordan, regarded as one the most adept cross-examiners on Capital Hill.
The Juris Doctor program at Capital Law requires 89 credit hours that may be completed in either a full-time program or through a part-time day or evening program. All programs share the same academic requirements but each has its own timeline for completion. Regardless of the timeline, the “first-year” program for all J.D. candidates requires completion of five, core substantive courses–civil procedure, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts–plus a skill-based course covering legal analysis, research, and writing. All students complete a course that helps integrate the core academic subjects with the actual practice of law. In subsequent semesters, students also complete academic courses in constitutional law, civil and criminal procedure, evidence, and professional responsibility. Prior to graduation, all students complete a “perspectives” course that examines the law from other contexts (historical, political, etc), an upper-level writing assignment, and six hours of experiential learning credits.
Capital Law offers students five academic concentrations to help guide the remainder of the academic work. These concentrations aim to prepare students for their professional careers with a mixture of academic and skill-based courses. Some concentrations–litigation, regulatory law, and transactional law–offer additional options to focus on more narrow, intense practice areas such as environmental and energy law, criminal litigation, or small business law. Concentrations direct students in their selection of advanced writing assignments, perspective courses, and experiential credits as well prescribe foundational courses in the subject matter.
All Juris Doctor students also participate in the school’s Academic Success Program which begins during student orientation and flows into the first-year course on integrated core competencies. This program also builds the foundation that students bring to Capital Law’s “Bar Success Program” that works to ensure that all students are prepared to pass the state bar exam.
Capital Law offers several additional programs for graduates. For students who have earned their law degree, Capital Law offers a Master of Laws (LL.M) program that is earned through evening courses which makes the program accessible to working professionals. The LL.M program is concentrated either in business law or taxation. The program prepares lawyers to specialize in these complex areas of law through additional focused, academic work. Similarly, for non-attorneys, Capital Law offers a Master of Taxation (M.T.) degree that provides students a fundamental understanding of tax law for their professional careers. Unlike the LL.M, the M.T. requires only an undergraduate degree.
J.D. candidates at Capital Law may also work towards earning a second professional degree through a joint or combined degree program. Students have the option of earning both their J.D. and LL.M from Capital Law with only an additional semester of study. This combined program further demonstrates a student’s readiness to practice in the areas of business or tax law. Additionally, law students may also pursue one of three professional degrees from other colleges at Capital University. These joint degrees combine law and another academic subject to help students succeed in the increasingly interdisciplinary field of law. Joint degree options including pairing the J.D. with an M.B.A., a Master of Science in Nursing, or a Master of Theological Studies.
Capital Law also has a highly regarded paralegal program that is accredited by the American Bar Association. The post-baccalaureate is flexible but thorough, providing students with a complete understanding of the skills and knowledge to succeed. Located in the heart of Ohio’s legal community, Capital Law’s program also offers paralegals tremendous opportunity to build their careers.
Capital Law also has a unique Life Care Planner Program that allow students to earn a certification to become part of a life care planning team. It is the only such program affiliated with ABA accredited law school. Similarly, Capital Law has a legal nurse consulting certification which provides a certification for nurses who want to work with litigation teams as consultants.
Career and Career Placement
Over 70% of all graduates of Capital Law are employed within 10 months of graduation with 63% finding careers that require a law license and an additional 7% finding jobs that prefer a Juris Doctor degree. In terms of job types, almost 30% of all graduates secured positions in small law firms with 2 to 10 attorneys. The second most common option for graduates was government legal offices–a reflection of the school’s proximity to the state’s legal and governmental offices. Over 20% of students secured jobs in larger law firms while smaller percentages found careers in either the business or public interest sector. For most career choices (over 95%), students found full-time, long-term careers.
Capital Law’s Office of Professional Development (OPD) works with students and the local legal community to build lasting relationships that serve both groups. The individual counseling program for students includes opportunities for self-assessment, feedback on interview skills and professional documents, and traditional career counseling. The OPD provides year-round programming that helps students learn to network, practice business etiquette, and learn from practicing attorneys about various career choices. Students also take advantage of the OPD’s many career-related resources and their extensive career outreach programs including the on-campus interview program, focused career fairs in certain practice areas, and diversity initiatives to increase minority hirings.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
At Capital Law, experiential learning is cornerstone of the education. The law school is driven to helping students apply their classroom studies to the real-world of practicing law. With its proximity to the state government complex, Capital Law offers its students a robust externship program where students earn academic credit while working a local legal office such as a government agency, non-profit legal office, or even a corparate in-house legal office. Students are supervised by practicing attorneys–often Capital Law alumni who helps students learn and prepare for the transition into the practice of law.
Capital Law also allows students to practice law after completing 59 credit hours under the supervision of a licensed attorney. This “licensed internship” program gives third and fourth year students the opportunity to take on real cases in the school’s legal clinics. Students are assigned cases in one of several practice areas including criminal defense, tenant law, and family advocacy. Under the supervision of faculty experts, students learn to advocate for their clients in a variety of legal situations.
At Capital Law, students also learn practical skills through co-curricular activities such as writing onto the law journal, competing on a moot court team, or working through the school pro bono offerings to serve the community.
At Capital Law, students enjoy a notably diverse student body that celebrates the school’s many unique perspectives and backgrounds. The student-organization system has dozens of clubs that celebrate the school’s Black, Jewish, Asian Pacific, and Hispanic students. The school also has several active community outreach programs where Capital Law students give back generously to the community surrounding the school. As students at Capital University, all students enjoy access to the school’s many health and wellness facilities including a dedicated center for wellness programming and an outstanding recreational center.
Capital University is one of the largest Lutheran Universities in the country. The community celebrates the Lutheran values of diverse religious expression and community service. The campus is also located less than a mile from Columbus’ four main entertainment areas offering students easy access to the city’s famed nightlife. The city is home to professional hockey, a stunning zoo, and many theaters that support music, ballet, and theater. Columbus is also highly regarded as having one of the lowest costs of living for any city of its size. In all, students at Capital Law enjoy one of Ohio’s best places to live at an affordable price.