In March, I visited Philadelphia for the first time. As you might know from reading my review of Penn Law, I loved Philly! What a great city.
Location: Temple Law is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philly is a big city. Personally, I like cities, but if you don’t, you might want to think twice about Temple Law. Unlike Penn Law which is situated on a large, picturesque college campus, Temple University’s campus is a “true urban campus with permeable boundaries.” If you’ve ever been to NYU and seen how it mixes in with Greenwich Village, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
The law school is in two main buildings: Klein Hall (photo above) which houses the majority of the school’s classrooms and offices, as well as the law library and cafe; and Barrack Hall which houses admissions, career services and a few more offices and classrooms.
Weather: I visited during the last week of March. One day was cold and rained cats and dogs. Another day was clear, sunny and near 60 degrees. The day I visited Temple Law, it was cold, bright and sunny. There are definitely seasons here and sometimes several happen in the same week. Pack accordingly.
Environment: I got a good impression of Temple Law when I emailed the admissions office one week prior to see if I could meet with them after my tour (they have Open Tours Monday-Friday at noon) and they got back to me immediately with a “yes.”
When I arrived, the front desk staff member at the Admissions Office welcomed me and was very nice.
The student ambassador who led my tour was Sathima Jones (that’s her in the photo at left), a very knowledgeable, savvy and personable 3L. Almost every room we walked into, there was a student or two who said “hi” to Sathima. She seemed to know everyone and they all seemed to know her. It gave me a good feeling that students at Temple Law get to know one another pretty well.
Aesthetics: The classrooms, law library, lounges and offices are clean and comfortable. The school is modern but feels a little dated. There are plenty of cushy chairs and couches for studying and meeting with your classmates. In the photo above, you’ll see one of the nicer classrooms. In the photo below is one of the student lounges with great natural light.
As Sathima pointed out, a great benefit from the openness of the law library is that you can see professors’ offices from the various floors. That way, when you see that your professor’s door is open, you know it’s a good time to pop in.
Career Services: I stopped by the Office of Career Planning. The office didn’t look quite complete. They could benefit from more engaging signage and a reception desk. I did like this map that was set up in Barrack Hall with pins for where their alumni are located.
They have five career staff. For a school with 227 (Fall 2013) entering students, this seemed a little small compared to other law schools with the same number of students. However, after talking to Sathima about her experiences working with the career staff (she’s received great services from them), she pointed out that not enough people take advantage of the career services offered. I find this to be true at most law schools. NOTE: As one of my former students told me, “The more you ask for help, the more people are willing to help you.” Take advantage of career services!
According to the ABA Employment Summary, about 69% of their 2013 graduates found a job that required bar passage. Close to 70% is pretty good for this economy. What gave me pause though was that 22 positions were law school/university-funded positions. Anything over 10 positions raises a red flag for me.
Demographics: In Fall 2013, the minority entering student population at Temple Law was 27%. With the minority population in the U.S. at almost 30% (depending on which data source you use), seems like Temple Law is doing well in recruiting underrepresented students.
To sum up: For me, the location of a law school is a huge draw and Philadelphia is a great city. But what I really liked about Temple Law was the laid back, friendly atmosphere and their courses that teach you practical legal skills; for example, the Integrated Transactional Program (ITP) and Integrated Trial Advocacy Program (ITAP). Also, their in-state tuition is currently less than $20,000 and they have a generous merit scholarship program (one of my clients received a $30,000/year scholarship this year!). All and all, if you think you might like it in Philly, consider applying to Temple Law.
Here’s the food truck that I bought my lunch from: Ebi’s Lunch Cart (Halal). For $5, I received a huge portion of grilled chicken, lettuce, onions, rice, and a drink. That’s another thing I love about Philly–it’s affordable.
And if you’ve got a sweet tooth and need a boost after all your studying, I hear that Insomnia Cookies is really good!
All photos by Marcus Donner.