Law School Discussion

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Messages - Sassy

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11
San Diego / Re: Orientation Day
« on: May 25, 2004, 10:53:06 PM »
Orientation is pretty low key.  Okay - here's the evidence that I'm likely the biggest pack rat attending USD:  I actually still have the orientation schedule from when I was an incoming 1L.  You arrive at a certain time and they give you a package of information, which includes a checklist of things you need to do that day.  For example, register (they just give you your schedule -- you don't get to select your classes or professors), buy your books, get your student ID card, parking permit and e-mail account, get your assignments, etc.  You also have to attend a financial aid presentation - basically they tell you this is a lot of debt and better plan for it (like you didn't already know that, right?).  They also have presentations from current students and alumni-- what to expect in law school, e.g., the socratic method, finals, etc.  I also remember at some point there being pizza and beer.  I think last year, they even organized to go to a baseball game or something (don't quote me on that). 

It's just a good chance to get familiar with the campus and meet fellow 1Ls.  At all costs, avoid doing any posturing and don't listen to anyone engaging in posturing.

12
San Diego / Re: Law Review?
« on: May 25, 2004, 09:56:27 PM »
Oh, you're a funny one Baseballjones!  Law review is a lot of work; but that does not mean that your grades will slip.  It's all about planning out your schedule to account for the extra time you'll be spending on law review work.  During my 2 years on law review, my grades actually went UP -- yes, you read that right, UP.  That's despite the truly ridiculous amount of time I devoted to law review, especially as a board member.

Here's what I recommend:  If you make law review, make sure to take your lightest class load during the semester that you'll be doing the majority of the work on your comment.  Also there are several pass/fail classes that you can take to help cushion your GPA.  Some people's grades do slip from being on law review, but all of my friends that planned for it did not find themselves in that boat.  In fact, many that experienced a slip were in the write-on group, so they weren't in the top 10% anyway, so they really needed law review for their resume.  All that to say, yes you have to work, but if you're smart about it you can protect your grades.

13
San Diego / Re: Law Review?
« on: May 25, 2004, 03:09:08 AM »
Yep.  If you're top 5% after first semester, it's a guaranteed spot.  If you're top 10% after second semester, it's a guaranteed spot.  In fact, if you get onto law review based on first semester grades (meaning you're top 5%) and then have (God forbid) a horrible second semester that causes you to drop out of the top 10%, you still retain your law review spot.  How's that for incentive to kick some serious butt first semester?  I know a couple people who found themselves in that spot and were thanking their lucky stars they had a great first semester!   :)

With the write-on competition, there are no guarantees.  The law review board has discretion to decide how many people to invite on based on their submissions.  I think last year we had about 80-90 people submit memos for the competition and about 12-14 people were selected.  As you can see, margin is tough and it's subjective grading.  If the board doesn't think the submissions are that great, they could take say 8 instead, and vice versa if they think there are a lot of great submissions they could take say 16.  Usually, there's a natural cutoff in the quality of the submissions so it's pretty clear where to the draw the line.

14
San Diego / Re: Looking Forward to Fall
« on: May 25, 2004, 01:01:36 AM »
Hi all -

I'll just reply to all the various posts w/ this one post

Law review:  No experience required for law review.  Law review members are selected based on grades and participation in the write-on competition (see my post under the Law Review topic).  To be elected to the law review board for your third year, you just have to interview before the entire outgoing board.  Prior editing experience is helpful, but most don't have it.  You're mostly judged on how well you did your 2L law review assignments - so if you want to be a board member and get to do substantive editing, make sure to do a good job on your 2L assignments.

Scholarships:  The scholarship scale based on grades is what I posted.  However, some students start at USD with an incoming scholarship that requires the student to stay in say the top 1/4 or 1/3 of the class.  Those scholarships are for the full 3 years so as long as your standing is within the acceptable range of the scholarship terms, you're fine -- those are probably the students below top 5% that have scholarship.  If you have one of these renewable scholarships and you end up being top 5%, they'll give you the better of the two scholarships for that year.  As far as no full scholarship for 3Ls, I would imagine it's because at that point we're stuck and can't transfer so they figure 80% is good enough. 

Transfers:  A handful of students do transfer every year, but not nearly as many as I expected.  For example, in the last two years the top 5 or so students have not transferred.  I can't really speak for all of them as to why that is - maybe they have ties to SD or maybe they'd rather graduate first in their class from USD than middle of the pack somewhere else.  We do have a certain number of students transfer to Berkeley every year -- our dean is from UC Berkeley and don't quote me on this but I think he's got some arrangement for Berkeley to take some of our top students as tranfers.  Anyway, that's just what I heard through the rumormill and seems to make sense because everybody I know that has transferred, went to Berkeley.

Failing out:  USD does fail out a certain number of students after the first year.  I'm not familiar with the policy though, I just know it happens.  USD does have a good academic support program, with student group leaders for every 1L class to help you through that trying first year.  I encourage each of you to take advantage of the academic support that is offered -- too many people don't and pay for it later by learning stuff the hard way.

I won't kid you, law school is tough, but it's also an amazing experience.  It sounds like all of you are geared up and ready to go.  Keep that spirit for the fall!! :)

15
San Diego / Re: Law Review?
« on: May 25, 2004, 12:42:05 AM »
Law review is a legal journal that is published and ran solely by law students.  It's very competitive to get on law review, because as you can tell from my prior post only top students are invited on.  If you aren't in the top ten percent, then you have to compete in a write-on competition and hope your writing skills are good enough to carry the day.  I can tell you more about that if you want.

Anyway, the law review at USD publishes 4 issues a year of articles written by professors and students (very competitive to have your student work published).  Check out USD's law review website under the publications section of the USD law website.  Law review 2L members do all the citechecking of the articles, meaning they gather the sources, verify there is support for all the propositions, etc.  2L members are also required to write a student comment (at least 30 pages), which is a work of legal scholarship requiring lots of research.  If the law review board finds a 2L's comment to be exceptional, it will publish it in the law review.  Then in the spring of your second year, law review members may apply for law review board positions.  These are actual editor positions - meaning you do substantive and technical edits on the articles.  Very cool.  I was both a law review member and board member -- loved it.  Plus, you get course credit for doing law review (pass/fail so it cushions your GPA) and if you're on the board, you get a stipend (not a bad deal, but a lot of work).

Law review is very important for a couple reasons.  First, during recruiting season, top law firms (what people call Big Law) almost without exception require law review membership before they'll even interview you.  That's because, it's indicative of your class standing (for the most part). Second, law review is great from a practical stand point because it hones your writing and research skills, which will come in great handy when you work as a summer associate at a law firm after your second year and, of course, when you get into practice.  In short, law review is a high honor.

We also have an international law journal at USD -- it's much less competitive to get on to that, but it's also much less prestigous.  However, if you don't get onto law review, definitely do the international law journal because a journal is better than no journal.

Hope that helps.


16
San Diego / Re: Looking Forward to Fall
« on: May 24, 2004, 01:18:34 AM »
I can tell you exactly:

Top 15 students in the FT day division after 1st year grades come out get $29,900 scholarship for their second year

Top 5 students in the PT evening division after 1st year grades gets $21,230

Top 15 students in FT day division after 2nd year grades come out get $24,000 for third year

Top 3 students in PT evening division after 2nd year grades come out get $17,000 for third year

Top 2 students in PT evening division after 3rd year grades, gets $17,000

That should work out to full scholarship for your second year (because they don't want you to transfer out) and then roughly 80% for your second year.

For me, I got 50% coming in, 100% second year, and 80% third year (they gave me another 20% grant for helping with academic support -- assist 1Ls with study skills) so I ended up with 100%, still waiting for grades after third year, but hope for the same deal for my 4th year (I'm in the evening division).

For law review (in case you care -- and you should):  The top 5% after first semester grades come out are invited on in February; top 10% after second semester grades get invited on in June; then there is a write-on competition in August for those that did not grade on.

17
San Diego / Re: Looking Forward to Fall
« on: May 22, 2004, 11:24:05 PM »
I'm glad you all will be coming to USD in the fall.  I'm a current student so if you have any specific questions about USD, fire away . . . 

18
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Are you going to USD?
« on: August 07, 2004, 09:01:55 PM »
I detest you USDers that have these huge scholarships of $23 and $27 thousand.  I had a 3.2/167, and USD only gave me a $15,000 non-renewable scholarship.  But, let's just wait until those first-semester grades come out!  ;)  No hard feelings - see you at orientation!

Yay! Great attitude - I look forward to seeing your name on that Law Review posting after first semester!

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