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Topics - AZWildcat

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Incoming 1Ls / Law Professor Writes About 1L Grading
« on: January 27, 2008, 05:27:27 PM »
I am an editor of the San Diego Law Review (before I get the "TTT" comments from the know-it-all 0Ls, we are ranked 23 [Leiter] and are the 15th most submitted to journal [Be-Press/ExpressO]) and we are publishing an article from a USD professor about 1L grades.  The paper covers many other topics including the socratic method, student anxiety and mental health, and a few of the law school misperceptions.  The paper also cites many other articles on tangental law student topics.

I have a few personal misgivings about this paper, but I don't think it's appropriate to make any pointed public criticism.  It is SDLR's policy (and most law reviews follow this policy as well) to publish all professors from our school.  That said, I think it's another valuable perspective to add to your body of knowledge before entering school. 


To me, the most encouraging part of this response is that the Dean is willing to go into an open forum and take direct fire from the students.  Have to commend him for that...

Dear Student,
            We have received a couple of inquiries about the new law school rankings from U.S. News & World Report. Our tax program is ranked 10th in the country, and the overall “peer assessment” score for the University of San Diego School of Law  the ranking of the school by faculty and deans at other law schools  is 48th, higher than that of every other private law school in California except Stanford and USC. However, our overall rating declined (from 65th to 85th), and some students have asked for our perspective.
We are undertaking a thorough analysis of all of the aspects of the U.S. News ranking formula. Our initial findings indicate that a very large percentage of the movement in our ranking is attributable to a fairly small decline in our reported employment rate at nine months after graduation--down from 89% to 86%. We have recently become aware that our approach to answering some of the U.S. News placement questions was inconsistent with that followed by many other law schools, resulting in an understatement of our placement rates in comparison with those schools.
It is also worth noting that the placement data employed by U.S. News lags behind the most recent data. This year's U.S. News rankings are based on data for the Class of 2005; the employment rate for our Class of 2006 for nine months after graduation will exceed 92% if the U.S. News formula remains the same as this year.
In light of changes in our career services office, we anticipate even greater growth in our students’ job prospects. Our new assistant dean of career services joined us just one week before the Class of 2006 graduated, and her staff and the resources available for their use have been greatly enhanced. We added 1.5 employees to the office for this academic year, and will be adding another position to the office this coming fall.
In addition, we have recently secured a $250,000 contribution, as part of our current major fundraising campaign, specifically earmarked for enhancing student services, including career services. Moreover, we are expanding and renovating our career services offices this coming summer in time for the beginning of the fall semester.
I am committed to securing the resources needed to permit this office to continue on its current, upward trajectory in providing students with the help they need in conducting their job searches. This trajectory, I am sure, will soon show this year’s U.S. News ranking to have been aberrational, but more important, will increase students’ options in their career searches.
To address any questions you might have, I will hold a meeting, open to all students, at noon on Thursday, April 12, in Grace Courtroom.  For any questions you would like to have answered before this time or to submit a question that you would like to have answered during this forum, please feel free to call my office at (619) 260-4527 or to e-mail me at
Kevin Cole
Dean and Professor of Law

Incoming 1Ls / ExamSoft Formally Allows SofTest on Intel Macs
« on: July 10, 2006, 11:38:06 AM »
Here is the email going around...

Dear Administrator,

ExamSoft has completed its evaluation of SofTest's compatibility running on Mac Book and Mac Pro where Windows XP has been installed utilizing Boot Camp. We are pleased to confirm all SofTest functionality successfully operates in this environment.

Clients have the option of allowing Exam Takers to use SofTest with Mac Book or Mac Book Pro OR ExamSoft can block SofTest from operating in this environment if your institution does not allow or provide support for Mac's.

The default setting for SofTest will be to operate in this environment so if you want to allow Exam Takers to use Mac Book or Mac Book Pro you're all set.

If you DO NOT want SofTest to operate in this environment, please contact ExamSoft Client Support PRIOR to opening fall registration and we will modify the SofTest version distributed to your Exam Takers.

Incoming 1Ls / Examsoft for Apple Update
« on: June 29, 2006, 03:14:09 PM »
Sadly, not much to report except for a definite time table.  I am a registered Examsoft (SoftTest) user, so I have access to their main tech support help desk.  Here's what they said..

We are currently in the process of beta testing our software in the new Mac/Windows environment. While we have no significant results to report now, we should have conclusive results within the next month. Please feel free to contact us then.


Examsoft Technical Support

Incoming 1Ls / 1L Advice
« on: April 20, 2006, 11:43:59 AM »
I remember being in your shoes this time last year, and I received a lot of good advice from 1Ls, so I thought I'd do a little payback.  Here are my "hints."

Summer Reading:  Do nothing!  You're more likely to learn bad habits trying to be the 0L gunner over the summer.  If you must read, take a look at how courts are structured.  Many people in my class had no idea how the trial/appellate level system worked, and it's important when you're looking for binding vs persuasive authority.  If you're unclear of how they work and/or the hierarchy, read about it because it will not be covered in class. 

Class notes/reading is NOT enough:  Most of you already know this from being on this board, but most of your classmates will not.  One of the most annoying things in law school is how professors love to hide the ball and then expect you to play.  One of the ways to "discover the ball" is through commercial outlines, hornbooks, etc.  I'm partial to Examples and Explanations.  It will take your fellow students a semester to learn this; use it to your advantage!

Study for exams like they're a math test:  Most people approach law exams as though it's their poly sci final-- it's not!  You will be given a factual scenario that you have not seen and asked to apply legal premises to the facts.  This is much like math...  you know the general principles of how to differentiate/integrate/add/etc, but on the exam you'll see the problem in a form that you haven't worked with.  I prepared for my math tests with a formula sheet (which will be your law outline) and through practicing the problems!  I know it's cliche and seems obvious, but you must work hypotheticals in all parts of your class to get a firm grasp.  Nothing will focus you like having to explain the law.  It's all so clear when the professor is working through an issue in class, but, just like math, when it's you and the blank paper, things become more challenging.  You couldn't score well on math without working the problems... same thing here.

Legal writing is not for English majors:  The people with extensive writing backgrounds were crushed in legal writing.  Legal writing looks more like math (surprising?) than English.  They will focus on sharp, condensed sentences.  For an excellent example of modern day legal writing, look up some opinions by judge Easterbrook (7th Circuit court of appeals).  Do not read the opinion for the law, but for an idea of how legal writing should look.  Once you can rid yourself of the idea that you'll be writing verbose prose, the better you'll be.

Take LEEWS:  I can't stress it enough, but that helped me to all As.  There is more than one way to skin the proverbial cat, and I'm sure there are other ways to writing exams which work, but this one is proven.  Buy it.

Half of your class is there because of their parents:  Shocking to learn, but many are there because of outside pressures.  They are not your competition and will not put up much of a fight.  This also tends to be true at the Harvards of the world as well.

Don't be a dickhead:  If someone asks you a question, answer it.  If someone asks which outline you like the best, tell them.  That doesn't mean you have to go around giving up "secrets", but if you're asked a pointed question, give a pointed answer.  It'll serve you much better in the long run.

Do not join anything your first year:  People will disagree with me on this, but you have three years to pad your resume; how about you start by padding it with As?  There's plenty of time for this stuff, but none of that time will be found in your first year.  Get the grades!!

I hope this helps, and I'll post more as it comes to me. :)

Incoming 1Ls / ExamSoft working on Apple MacBook Pro-- Pic
« on: March 20, 2006, 12:09:15 PM »
Can't give any more proof than this...

Incoming 1Ls / Windows XP now running natively on Intel Macs
« on: March 16, 2006, 10:37:16 AM »
I didn't think it'd take long... It doesn't sound like the solution is terribly easy, but part of the $13,000 award is to provide simple and detailed instructions.  Potentionally great news for Mac users who want to use them for exams!

Choosing the Right Law School / USD 1L Happy to take questions
« on: December 23, 2005, 01:22:30 PM »
Hey Everyone,

I had some great 1Ls help me out when I was in your shoes last year, so I thought I might be able to return the favor.  If anyone has general law school questions, or very specific USD questions, I'd be glad to answer.

Incoming 1Ls / Finals Truly Suck!
« on: December 04, 2005, 09:09:54 PM »
As my astute contracts professor put it, "Law school is like a besieged city.  Everyone on the outside is trying to get in, and everyone inside is trying to get out."

As someone who did every well in electrical engineering, law school exams really are awful.  The material isn't that hard, and preparing for the test also is not difficult; the forced curve throws everything into a tail spin.  In our legal writing class, we were brought up close and personal with the horrors of the forced curve.  We had a research assignment that was relatively easy.  At the end of the assignment, there were two analysis questions which were basically variations of, "in a paragraph or two, explain what you think the outcome will be." 

The instructions seem quite secondary to the assignment, and indeed they are... until everyone aces the entire research assignment.  Then the only thing separating the A sfrom the Fs is the "in a paragraph or two, explain the outcome." 

Save yourselves. :)

1L at USD

Incoming 1Ls / Alcohol at law school?
« on: September 13, 2005, 12:14:17 PM »
I'm just curious if this is standard practice...  for the first day of Orientation, the law school had a beer and wine open bar on campus.  Clubs bring kegs into the law school all of the time.  If you brought a keg onto my undergrad campus, you should back your house up because you won't be around long.  This seems odd to me, but maybe it's a law school thing I'm not familar with?

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