University of Denver

Selecting a Law School for Its Practical Education

Elizabeth Phillips, a third year law student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, knew she wanted to go to law school, but she also knew that selecting the right school that could equip her with the tools needed to actually practice law was essential.

Before committing to a law school, Phillips polled dozens of lawyers about their current hiring preferences and whether they saw new associates excel in their jobs right away. Having done her research, "it became clear to [her] that DU's practical education was paying off" for new grads in the area and could afford her the best opportunities upon graduation.

As she entered law school, she first heard about the Sturm College of Law's Strategic Plan, which stresses experiential learning.

Throughout my three years in law school, I really saw how that Plan was integrated into the law school's curriculum. I took advantage of opportunities to get practical education, knowing that, in this legal market, I needed to be as practice-ready as possible.

In particular, Phillips highlighted her second year transactional clinic, Community and Economic Development, as being transformative, noting that her summer experiences before and after the clinic were greatly different due to the knowledge and experience she had at her disposal. In her clinic, she learned "how to approach legal issues," "what questions to ask," and "how to take the abstract legal concepts [she] learned from [her] first year of law school and apply them to clients in a real live setting."

Hear more about Phillips' experience with practical and clinical learning from her Voices from the Field interview.

Elizabeth Phillips is a third year law student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, where she is a Senior Editor on the Denver University Law Review and also participated in Denver Law's Community Economic Development Clinic. After she graduates, Phillips will begin her law practice as an associate attorney at Polsinelli Shughart PC, in Denver, Colorado.