January 29, 2014

Scott Hall Puts SLU LAW in the Center of the Legal Community

Law students love the new home of the School of Law.

Scott Hall
"SLU blue" lights crown the new Scott Hall. Photo by Jim Visser

With one semester in the books, the new era at Saint Louis University School of Law's Scott Hall continues. The former office building on 100 N. Tucker Blvd. in downtown St. Louis is now a stunning piece of design and architecture -- and can't miss "SLU blue" lights — built to educate and challenge future members of the legal profession.

For the first time in its history, all aspects of the school's vibrant community, including the Saint Louis University Law Library and Legal Clinics, are all housed under one roof. Previously spread out horizontally across multiple buildings, the vertical layout of the new building, along with certain design elements, allows for improved collaboration between students, faculty and staff and provides a true communal environment -- an attribute that has long been a source of pride for the School of Law

Students Benefit from State-of-the-Art Building's Location

"The reactions of the student body have been fantastic and overwhelmingly positive," said Christine Beam, a fourth-year, dual-degree law student and president of the Student Bar Association. "The building is more than we could have expected. The location is unbeatable, and I know a lot of students appreciate being able to walk from class to their internships or to court for clinic hearings."  

Law student Christine Beam
Student Bar Association president Christine Beam. Photo by Lauren Brucker

The newly created 12th floor is a favorite spot, thanks to a high-tech courtroom and the rooftop pavilion that provides great views and ample space for learning and networking opportunities. The interior spaces throughout the building are adaptable to small-group study and meeting sessions, diverse classroom arrangements, large events and professional competitions.

"The atmosphere in the law school is completely different than in years past," Beam said. "Students dress and act more professionally. The feeling among students is that this building feels more professional, like we're in the 'real world.' Classrooms feel more like conference rooms, and students are more actively engaged in the day-to-day activities of the law."

Located in the heart of the downtown legal and business community, Scott Hall is prominently situated next to the Civil Courts Building, a block away from the criminal courts and City Hall, three blocks away from the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Attorney's Office, and within walking distance to law firms and government agencies. This proximity presents opportunities to create an extension of the classroom experience, allowing students more time to spend with the practicing bar and judges not just at the courthouse or law offices, but in the law school itself. 

"Students can get a better sense of the practice of law," said Joel Goldstein, Vincent C. Immel Professor of Law. "Many students are moving downtown, shopping downtown, eating downtown. In subtle ways, their lives are transitioning to those of young professionals rather than being graduate students as was the case when the experience was campus-centered."

Law student Joe Wilson
Third-year law student Joe Wilson. Photo by Lauren Brucker

One example of the move's impact on student learning is through collaboration with U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. In a new program, first-year legal research and writing students visit the Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse and get advice from federal judges. In recent weeks, three groups of students met with a different judge advised on everything from professionalism in the courtroom to writing for the court. Read more about their experience.

For third-year student Joe Wilson, the move downtown has created big advantages in his legal education. He is using an internship with the city's Board of Aldermen to enhance his courses on state and local government, state and local tax, land use and zoning. 

"When class is finished, I head over to City Hall, take notes on committee meetings, research legal issues to help the board and see local government happen at the ground floor," said Wilson. "It's amazing and would not have happened as easily as it did if not for the building being in the heart of the region."

Inaugural Year of Events

The School of Law's move downtown was more than just a change in physical space. It represents a new way to teach, learn and mentor in an inclusive environment. With that in mind, the Inaugural Year of Events series was created.

The series is a celebration of the new downtown location and an effort to supplement the school's normal programming with high-profile events relating to law or public issues. Throughout the first semester of this inaugural year, the School of Law welcomed distinguished speakers to Scott Hall, including Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, former Missouri Governor Bob Holden and former Senator Jack Danforth, as well as prominent judges and legal authors.

"We have concentrated on bringing in a series of opinion leaders in law and public policy to expose students to a range of problems facing our society and persons who deal with them," said Goldstein, who spearheaded the series. "The programs are typically open to the larger community, and that helps make our law school a center for discussion not only among students and faculty but judges, lawyers, public officials and alumni as well."

Read more about past and future Inaugural Events.  

For more information about Scott Hall and the School of Law, go to www.slu.edu/law.xml.

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