Choosing the Best Law School
Where will you go to law school? And whose advice will you take in getting there?
A guide for pre-law students planning to study international law
Let's be honest, and start where many prospective law students start in the search for a law school: the US News & World Report rankings. We hope you will think seriously about those rankings. Consider not just the numerical rank of a school but the point spread, for example between the 25th and 75th schools (have you really done that?). Now ask yourself: How many times in the past year have I read US News & World Report for any reason other than law school rankings? If you don't trust that magazine as a regular source of authority in your daily or weekly life, does it really make sense to trust it for something as important as your choice for your professional educational home?
If you make decisions on a more informed basis, then we invite you to consider going where some of the world's major players in transnational law go (yes, there is much more than "international" law out there for an international career — check out international, comparative, and private international law) when they want results they can trust. We'll even help you do some research beyond US News, beginning with Chairman of K&L Gates' perspective. Consider the following:
The Center for International Legal Education at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law is a source major players go to when they need international, comparative, and transnational expertise:
- when the US State Department needed one American to recommend to serve on the Austrian Holocaust Claims Commission, they came to Pitt comparative law specialist, Professor Vivian Curran;
- when the US State Department needed a commercial law expert to serve as a national correspondent to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), they came to Pitt Professor Harry Flechtner;
- when UNCITRAL itself needed one person in the world to update and improve the Digest of Cases on the UN Sales Convention, they also came to Pitt Professor Harry Flechtner;
- when the US State Department needed someone to help negotiate a treaty that became the 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, they came to Pitt Professor Ronald Brand;
- when the Center for Constitutional Rights needs someone to litigate major international relations cases, they come to Pitt Professor Jules Lobel;
- when US Steel needs training for their lawyers in Slovakia and Serbia, they come to the Center for International Legal Education at Pitt;
- when the US Commerce Department needed someone to assist the University of Bahrain in developing international commercial law programs, they came to the Center for International Legal Education at Pitt;
- when the Fulbright program needs a specialist to consult with librarians at foreign law schools, and when various international organizations need a library consultant, they come to Pitt Foreign, International and Comparative Law Librarian Linda Tashbook;
- when the Open Society Institute wanted someone to advise the Kyiv Mohyla Academy Law School on curriculum development, they came to Pitt Professor Ronald Brand; and
- when law faculties in Bahrain, Belgium, Iceland, Japan, Kosovo, Poland, Serbia, and Ukraine have wanted expert training for their students in legal English, they have come to CILE and Pitt Professors Teresa Brostoff and Ann Sinsheimer.
We invite to compare that record with the record of the faculty at any other law school you might consider. Will you be taking courses from a number spewed out by US News & World Report, or will you be taking courses from real people. Find out not only what the faculty members at a school have done, but how accessible students at that school have found them to be.
Next, we invite you to consider the record of students who have attended the schools you are considering. We suggest that, when students want real international experience during their law school education, they come to the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Our Student Voices page quotes students who have worked on particularly exciting international law projects at Pitt Law. CILE Notes has first person stories of students' foreign internship and study abroad experiences. Read about the conferences and other on campus events in which our international law students participate.