« on: March 30, 2008, 02:07:41 PM »
1. How was a semester of social life? What'd everyone do? What'd you do? Was it extremely expensive to go out?
The social life was really good (for being in law school anyway). First semester, the bar reviews were really well attended with probably 70-80% of the class coming to some of them. As time went by, attendance went down both because finals got closer and because people were settling into their groups of friends.
How expensive going out is really depends on what you want to do. If you want to go to fancy clubs like ritual, expect to pay a lot. If you like to go out to more casual bars, the price is comparable to what i paid in DC.
There are a lot of social events that you can do without having to pay though. There's almost always a tailgate party before a home football game that lots of people go to with free beer (and no, you don't have to go to the game).
Then there are law school events such as law prom (which we had last night) and the PILF auction (which, in order to get you to bid a lot, provides all-you-can drink for 15 dollars).
Anyway, I met my girlfriend (who is not a law student) during first semester, so it's possible to meet and date people even while going through law school. It's especially possible to date someone who IS a law student, as many of my friends have found out.
2. Is the best living choice for 1Ls the place (i forget what its called) that has 2 bedrooms for 2 people? If not, where is a good place to live. I'd like to be as close to campus as possible
I live in Terrace now. I think it's a trade-off. At the beginning of the year, Terrace is bar-none the best place to live, I think. This is especially true if you didn't go to school/live in LA before. You meet a lot of people, and you meet a lot of people out of your section. We've thrown a few law school parties out on the large patio. It's a lot of fun. Non-terrace people get kind of jealous.
But I think the advantage of living there decreases as time goes by. By the end of first semester and especially by mid-second semester, everyone is hanging out with everyone else across the city anyway. That said, it makes it a lot easier to find out assignments, borrow materials, etc. from other people in my section.
The apartments are pretty expensive for the area (920 a month this year), they're nice enough, but not great (AC only in the living room, no dishwasher). There IS parking underneith which is nice.
Next year I'm living downtown. In fact, I'll be moving in in a little over a month.
3. Can I use a mac? (I really really want the new macbook air)
You can use a Mac, and several of my classmates do. But you can't use softtest on a mac, so you'll either have to borrow, rent, or buy a PC one to take it. You don't want to hand write your exams.
4. Do law school students hang out just with law school students?
For a large part, yes. You'll meet a lot of spouses and girlfriends/boyfriends, fiances, etc. and you'll meet people's friends who come into town or live in LA, but for the most part, yeah. People hang out with law school students.
5. How's the gym?
Pretty crowded at the wrong hours, but the machines are nice enough. There's a heated pool you can swim in, there are a number of raquetball/squash courts. It's not the best though.
6. What was your hardest class from the first semester?
This is really hard to say due to the nature of the curve. Torts is probably the "hardest" simply because it has the fewest solid rules to sort of cling to. As for grade wise, my best was Contracts and my worst was Law, Language and Ethics.
7. Should I buy commercial outlines this summer and review them?
You can, but I don't think this does a whole lot of good. I think commercial outlines can be helpful, but I'd wait until you're studying for finals and use them to help shape your own outline rather than try and prep for the course ahead of time. Classes cover a lot of different material. For example, hardly anyone else seems to do nuisance in Torts whereas we spent about 3 weeks doing it. That said, I don't think it really does harm to look at them. Just don't act like you know what you're talking about on the first day of class because you know a few more terms than the rest of people.
1. What can you tell us about the collegial atmosphere at USC? It seems to be a big selling point for the school. Myth or reality?
Definitely a reality. It's impossible for me to compare to other schools, but at least in my section, there's very little competitiveness in the meanspirited sort of way. I had access to 4 or 5 outlines for each class that people did. Some people dislike some other people, but that's going to happen when you put 60 people in the same room for so many hours a week for 9 months. On the whole, people are really very friendly and helpful and want to see everyone else succeed. Fortunately, this is largely a possibility at USC despite there being a curve.
2. What has been your experience with the professors? Are they approachable and available to the students?
Some are more approachable than others, but on the whole, they're extremely easy to talk to. The only professor who deliberately made it difficult to get answers and that sort of thing was my Torts prof. The rest go way out of their way to make themselves available. Everyone has a chance to sign up for lunch catered professor lunches where 4-8 people can eat lunch with the professor, generally up on the fourth floor terrace in the sun. I've done this with all my professors and they're all very engaging people who seem to care a great deal about what they do and about their students.
In the other thread, USC's strength was mentioned regarding entertainment boutique law firms. Do you know if those firms hire SC grads straight out of law school? My understanding was the most of the boutique firms only hired lawyers who had practiced a few years for the big firms, but maybe I'm mistaken. Could you elaborate a bit on the entertainment law connections and opportunities. Much thanks.
Questions about entertainment law are tricky because there's never a real "right" answer. Like the rest of the entertainment industry, it HEAVILY revolves around contacts, networking and luck. From what I can tell, USC is an excellent way to get those contacts. My girlfriend works in the entertainment industry and is a USC grad, and it's really opened my eyes just how dominant USC is in the LA entertainment scene. How much this translates into the law school, I can't really tell you, but it certainly can't hurt.
As for specifics, I did Street Law and one of the corporate sponsor guys was Sony-BMG. We've had a number of people who have externed for the SAG, DGA, and PGA (I think those are the right acronyms). At the mentor lunch, there was a table of entertainment lawyer alumni who the students there could make connections with.
Just like most boutiques, though, I think entertainment firms prefer to hire laterally rather than entry level.