Oregonians have long known that they live in a special state. Stunning natural beauty, no sales tax, great coffee, and more than 150 breweries all provide compelling reasons to make Oregon your home. The rest of the nation is hip to the secret, though, and the popular show 'Portlandia' has helped the state draw interest from across the nation as a destination for the trendy.
If you are interested in studying law in Oregon, there are several options. The schools' costs are quite similar, but each school is located in a different city and some schools have a strong reputation for a particular kind of legal practice.
The following article provides an overview of Oregon's three American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools and provides some basic information to help you determine which school is the right one for you.
Lewis & Clark College Northwestern Law School
Lewis & Clark is a private school located in Portland, the state's largest urban center, though the school grounds are adjacent to a forested state park. Given this setting, it's perhaps not surprising that Lewis & Clark is best known for its environmental law program.
Although Lewis & Clark places below the University of Oregon in national law school rankings, it still appears among the top 100 law schools in the country. Graduates achieve high bar passage rates, with around 80% of first-time test takers passing the bar in 2021.
The school also requires students to complete at least six credits of experiential learning, ensuring all grads leave the program with some practical experience that will make them more hireable.
Tuition at Lewis & Clark falls around mid-range for private schools, about $54,000 a year.
University of Oregon School of Law
The University of Oregon School of Law is the only state-funded law school in Oregon and the top-ranked school in the state. It is located in Eugene, the state's second-largest city.
The University of Oregon will likely be most attractive to students interested in pursuing the public interest side of environmental law. Its Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center ranks among the top ten in the nation. The school also hosts an annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference and has student groups, alumni, and other organizations that focus on environmental issues and activism.
Oregon Law's unique Appropriate Dispute Resolution program also garners respect nationwide.
Tuition at Oregon Law is on the higher end for a public school, around $44,000 a year for residents.
Willamette University College of Law
Willamette University College of Law is located in Salem, the state's capital. The school's offerings include a longstanding and well-respected alternative dispute resolution program, a community and environmental justice clinic, and a trusts and estates clinic.
Willamette boasts the oldest attorney-mentor program in the state, which matches first-year students with lawyers and judges in the community and helps them begin building their professional network.
Graduates from Willamette have historically done very well on the bar exam, with 87% of first-time test takers passing in 2021. Tuition is about $49,000 a year.
Continue Planning for Law School
Choosing a school is just the first of a number of important decisions you'll make in starting your career as a lawyer. Along the way, you'll want tips for succeeding in your courses, preparing for the bar exam, and choosing a satisfying practice area. FindLaw's Law Students section includes articles to help you find the right answers to these and other important questions.