Cheeseheads haven't got many options if they want to study law at an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school. There are only two such schools in Wisconsin. Fortunately, the two options are quite distinct and provide some interesting and quirky distinctions from one another. One of the schools is a private, Catholic school, while the other is a public law school.
The following article provides a brief overview of some significant differences between the two Wisconsin law schools to help you choose the one that's right for you.
Marquette University is a private Catholic law school located in downtown Milwaukee. Although the school is more expensive, and less favorably ranked by U.S. News & World Report's annual law school rankings, there are several reasons why Marquette may be the right school for you.
Marquette offers an LLM in Sports Law and a number of joint-degree programs, including a J.D./M.A. in sports business. The school also publishes the Marquette Sports Law Review, so someone interested in pursuing a career associated with sports will find plenty of opportunities at Marquette.
The school also has a marginally higher post-graduation employment rate, which may impact its appeal. Job figures suggest that most Marquette graduates go into private practice or work for law firms.
The University of Wisconsin Law School is located in Madison, the state capital. Although the school has half as many law journals as Marquette, it far outnumbers its competition in clinical opportunities, many of which focus on various aspects of criminal defense and public interest law.
The school also enjoys a strong connection with the larger university and a number of colorful traditions. A gargoyle that once festooned the original law school building remains on display as an unofficial mascot; law students participate in a homecoming "cane parade" replete with fancy dress and superstition; and the "Dean's Cup," an annual athletic competition between students in the law and medical schools, raises funds for charity.
As a public school, the University of Wisconsin charges a tuition less than half as much as Marquette for in-state students. Even out-of-state students will pay marginally less to attend than they would at Marquette.
However, the cost of living in Madison is significantly greater than it is in Milwaukee. Housing, in particular, is much more expensive in Madison. As such, cost of living expenses should be taken into consideration when determining whether the difference in tuition is really significant.
Finally, it is important to note that the University of Wisconsin's law school is very highly regarded. It is consistently among the top tier schools in the U.S. News and World Reports' annual law school rankings.
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