Well I just finished checking out Quinnipiac Law in Hamden, Connecticut. I was there for the Accepted Student Day as I narrow down my choices. It was a great event, and I was able to get a lot more additional information then I would have normally just visiting for a tour. I chatted with a 1L there for a good hour before the program started, so I may update this with some housing/living information in the future. As for the town, it’s a small place of about 50,000 people just outside of New Haven (home to Yale). For those of you who have never visited Connecticut I think the state can be summed up with the facts that there’s a Subway on every corner(it’s headquartered there) and the state may have the longest yellow lights have ever seen. The law school is relatively new, having previously been Bridgeport Law and moving to Qunnipiac in 1995. The law school resides in one building on Quinnipiac’s main campus. It’s a very scenic location, with several ponds nearby and Sleeping Giant State Park right next to the campus.
Facilities: The building consists of three floors. The main floor houses a handful of smaller classrooms, administrative offices, part of the library, and the Grand Courtroom; as well as dozens of tables and study areas for students. The Grand Courtroom is used for a few classes as well as the school’s trial team. It was also where a few of the Accepted Student Day programs were held. The basement level houses the remainder of the library (with skylights to make you not feel like you’re underground) and the clinic offices. The second floor houses several of the larger 1L classrooms, which are still not as huge as some of the others I’ve seen at other schools. A good thing, as sections are broken into groups of students between 50-60 each.
The school seems nice and open, as it’s clearly a relatively modern design. There are dozens of little nooks scattered throughout the building for students to study at between classes. I was able to check the school out the day after the Accepted Student Day to snap a few photos and was surprised to see a handful of law students studying on an early Sunday morning.
Academics: The school is one of three in Connecticut although from what I keep hearing from everyone most of the Yale law students leave the state, leaving the battle for employment between Quinnipiac and UConn. The school has a typical entering class of 120-130, so it’s certainly on the smaller side as far as law schools are concerned. The 1L courses are no different from any other law school, as the ABA mandates them, but there are 4-5 concentrations available to students who want to pursue a more specific law school path. I was fortunate enough to attend a mock class during the ASD and the class seemed very genuine. The school had assigned an abbreviated case to use prior to the visit and the class centered around that. The professor was kind enough to only take volunteers, so we were spared the dreaded Socratic Method but he was quick to jump to another student as soon as a student began to stumble on the facts, in what I assume is a good indication of what to expect.
The school guarantees every student the chance to participate in a clinic or externship if they want to during their time at QU. The clinics are broken down between Civil and Criminal cases and the externships span everything from working for federal judges in Hartford to working at law firms in Hamden. Luckily the school does not mandate a school wide grading curve, as is the norm at most law schools. There is a suggested grading curve of a B- but final grades are left to professor’s discretion and apparently a decent number of them have no problem rewarding students who seem to “get it right”, whether that’s the entire class or a handful doesn’t matter. This is also reflected in how they handle scholarships. Instead of mandating students maintain a specific GPA requirement scholarships are contingent upon remaining in a certain percentage of the class rank.
Student Life: Although Hamden is a small town it seems to cater very heavily to Quinnipiac students. There’s a good mix of shopping and places to eat throughout the town with most things located on Whitney Ave, the main thoroughfare in town and the street off of which the law school is located. Downtown New Haven, a much more sizable city is a ten minute drive from Hamden and has just about anything students could want. I also visited the closest shopping mall to the school, located in Milford Connecticut, which is just a short twenty-minute drive from campus.
Most of the law students live off of Mix Avenue, a street about five minutes from campus and home to most of the major shopping too. The whole street is nothing but one apartment complex after another and the street runs parallel to the major shopping street with two grocery stores, a Walmart, and dozens of restaurants. Parking on campus is completely free to all students (something I wish my undergrad school would implement) and there seems to be more than enough parking too.
*I’ve been typing this up at the airport here in Connecticut. I’ll try to update this review when I’m back in North Carolina and can go through my notes more thoroughly. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave em in the comments.