The University of Cincinnati College of Law (Cincinnati Law) was founded in 1833 as simply the Cincinnati Law School. Nearly 50 years later, however, the law school dean William Howard Taft–future President of the United States and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court–would merge the school into the University of Cincinnati making it one the oldest law schools in the country. In its nearly 200 year history, the College of Law has continued to produce excellent jurists including three Chief Justices of the Ohio Supreme Court. The law school has also produced many governors including three in the state of Ohio.
Cincinnati Law’s first-year curriculum includes a mixture of core courses and practical, skill-based courses. All six core courses of the first-year legal education–civil procedure, constitutional law, contract, criminal law, property, and torts–are taught with at least two being taught in small sections of less than 20 students. Both civil procedure and constitutional law are taught in two semesters along with a two-semester course on the fundamentals of lawyering. The lawyering class introduces students to the principles of legal writing, research, and advocacy.
Upper-level students have considerable freedom to plan their own “professional pathway” through course selection. All students are required to complete a course in professional responsibility, an additional skill-based course focused on client interactions, and complete a major writing assignment. Cincinnati Law offers students nine “professional pathways” that provide selected courses that prepare students for various practice areas. Additionally, all students are encouraged to take courses that cover the subject matters contained on most state bar exams.
Cincinnati Law offers an additional graduate program–the Master of Laws (LL.M)–targeted at students who have earned their law degree at an international university. The LL.M program focuses on immersing foreign-educated lawyers in the core of the U.S. legal system. The program requires 24 hours of residential coursework that can be completed in as many as two years. LL.M students may focus on U.S. law generally or choose to follow one of the law schools predesigned pathways.
For students without a Juris Doctor (or the foreign equivalent), Cincinnati Law offers three unique certification programs that introduce non-lawyers to the principles of the legal system. These programs generally require 12 to 18 hours of coursework, which provides students with a general understanding of the law’s role in the United States.
Juris Doctor candidates also have the option of pursuing a joint degree with one of three other graduate degrees. Joint Degree options include pairing the J.D. with an M.B.A. from Cincinnati’s Business School, a Masters of Community Planning, or a Masters in gender studies. Joint Degrees allow students the ability to complete both degrees in less time than pursuing them separately as well as discover additional insights from the interdisciplinary approach to their coursework.
Career and Career Placement
The most recent employment data from graduates of Cincinnati Law demonstrate that over 87% of all graduates are employed in positions requiring a law license or preferring a law degree within 10 months of graduation. Of those employed, over 77% were employed in careers requiring a law license. Law firm work was the most popular choice among graduates with a median starting salary of $80,000. Government positions and careers in the business sector were also popular choices for graduates. Most graduates of Cincinnati Law remain in Ohio with over 90% remaining in the Cincinnati metropolitan area.
The Cincinnati Law Center for Professional Development provides a wide array of services to students (and employers) with the goal of helping all students and alumni achieve their career goals. Each student works with the staff of the center to create a Professional Development plan with charts coursework and extra-curricular activities that will help students achieve their professional goals. Students learn resume and interview skills and are guided through their bar examination preparation through a variety of programs. Students also participate in Cincinnati Law’s unique Complete Professional program, which aims to create well-rounded job candidates.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
At Cincinnati Law, experiential learning–or “real-world” education as it is called–provides students with the skills to be ready to practice law upon graduation. Real-world education begins by participating in one of the schools many legal clinics or center. The clinical experience allows students to work with real clients across a range of practice areas. For example, students can participate in the Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic where they work with domestic abuse survivors as they enter the protection of the court system.
Students may also pursue one of the law school’s many externships that allow students to spend a semester in a working law office building practical skills while also earning academic credit. Externships include work in corporate law offices, judicial offices, and even the Internal Revenue Service. Externships provide an unparalleled opportunity to gain insight into potential career paths.
Cincinnati Law also has a deep commitment to Pro Bono work which allows students to learn real-world skills while also giving back to the greater community.
As students at one of the largest public universities in the country, Cincinnati Law students enjoy a range of health and wellness services available to all university students. Aside from the university’s numerous state-of-the-art health facilities, students enjoy on-site confidential counseling services as well as numerous year-round programs to ensure students strike a balance between their academic and personal lives. On campus, students have the opportunity to participate in the law school’s many student-run organizations, write for a student-run journal, or participate one of the school’s competitive moot court teams.
The campus of Cincinnati Law is located in the southwest corner of the main campus, just north of downtown Cincinnati. A short walk from campus are McMillian and Calhoun streets, which are lined with college eateries and nightlife. Housing is available throughout the metropolitan area as are a host of recreational and entertainment options from professional sports to the city’s renowned zoo. Cincinnati offers students all the amenities of a big city at a fraction of the costs.