As a person considering UA, I'd like to chime in here. I actually just came back from spending a week in Arizona, one day in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area and 6 in Tucson...In terms of what I thought, I can sum it up by saying UA is a great school, but in the wrong city....Having never been to Arizona, or having spent much time in the Southwest at all, maybe I just had high expectations....I don't know, but to me, it just seemed like something shady was going on. Petty Crime everywhere. I'm considering going to UMiami also, which is in a city with more of a violent crime problem, so in comparison Tucson doesn't seem too bad. The area around UA's campus is less than desireable...Yes, affordable housing is everywhere, but no one said it was pleasant. You definitely get what you pay for. On the positive side of things, do I think the school is good enough to warrant living in a less than desireable area for three years?
Yes. Here's why:
-the ability to establish residency, makes it hard for other top public law schools to match UA's good job prospects, high clerkship placements, and low average student debt.
-Phoenix/Scottsdale is really nice, so even if you can't make it out of AZ, you're only an hour and a half away from a bigger, more pleasant city.
-I don't have numbers, but I'm sure lots of grads are able to make it to San Diego and other parts of Cali....In fact, most of the out-of-state students are from CA. Surely, alot go back after law school. When you do see the numbers, I'd like to mention that the student body at UA is a little older than at most law schools. I think the average age is around 26 and 20% of all students are over 30. For these students, many having families, leaving Tucson or Arizona may not be an option due to reasons other than the assumption that the degree doesn't travel. So the employment statistics for out-of-state placement may be a little skewed b/c of this.
-The close knit community was wonderful. I met with the Dean of Admissions and didn't tell her I was coming before hand. I knocked on her door, said my name, and she immediately knew who I was, where I was from, and didn't break stride. It was like she was expecting me. I heard she did this for everyone at ASD. I've heard similar things about the faculty as well, so it definitely carries over. With regard to enrollment, I think the ratio of professors/students is like 13:1. The students themselves are very collegial. I met people who either went to UA law or had friends/relatives that attended and they all said that instead of competition, its more of a feeling that everyone is in it together. I read 1L summer employment statistics for the class of '08. About 100/153 or so had really good gigs lined up--clerkship, internship, or summer associateship...Some of the 1Ls even split the summer at 2 different firms. I haven't seen data like this for any other school I've visited.
I just got back today so I will write more later on...
In more detail though, VAP does provide an accurate assesment of the pros for UA...He/She has definitely done the research....