I'm trying to decide between Lewis and Clark and USD, and I've found that epinions.com has reviews of law schools. Has anyone checked these out? What do you guys make of the horrible USD review below
USD - the "default" law school; very provincial
Oct 02 '03
Very safe campus.
Lack of diversity. Insular perspective. No recognition outside Southern California. Difficult to get a job.
The Bottom Line
Unless you want to stay local in San Diego - don't go to USD. Going to USF or Loyola Los Angeles would provide more job prospects. Location, location, location.
The best thing about USD is the weather in San Diego. Then the nice landscaping. Then the parking. Then the safety.
People who go to USD go there for 2 reasons:
1) they didn't get into a UC School
2) they have grown up in San Diego, gone to undergrad at USD/UCSD/SDSU and want to remain in San Diego.
Go to USD if you want to remain in San Diego. Even then, if you are not in the top 5-10%, you will likely not get a job. The San Diego legal community is TINY. While USD may tout that it is the "best" law school in San Diego, it quickly loses any name recognition outside of San Diego. In addition, many of the law firms in San Diego would rather have a candidates from top tier schools than USD.
In San Diego, USD has a decent reputation. (it's better than the other two local law schools, which are tier 4 schools - Cal Western and Thomas Jefferson). But the rest of California views USD as a "lazy" school. The rest of the country hasn't even heard of USD. USD only has a local footprint; hence, national firms don't look keenly towards USD students. When top law firms they hire USD students, it is only for their local San Diego office.
Very ethnically undiverse, although the school would like to believe that it's diverse. In fact, the cover of the law school's brochure/booklet features a black female student and an indian student. Funny, since I am a 2L and have never had a class with any black student, male or female. In a class of 85, there were 5 Asians, 1 latino, no blacks, and the rest white.
Very undiverse in terms of social demographics. Everyone drives a pretty nice car and comes from upper-middle class families.
Very "localized" student body. Ie, everyone seems to be from southern California, so there is not a whole lot of learning to be done from classmates because unlike a top school, you don't get people from all across the nation who have different experiences. Not a lot of people with intersting backgrounds. very hum-drum, suburban type of students. No international students. And hence, no core classes on comparative law.
Given the lack of diversity in terms of age/ethnicity/demographics/experiences, the student body is very bland. Lack of diveristy lends itself to a very "narrow" perspective in the classroom.
The school is expensive, $28K tuition per year. I think the school allocates too much money to gardening. The campus is always looking pretty. Not a day goes by where I don't see at least 3-4 Mexican gardeners tending to the flowers/grass/plants.
The career services workers are nice. However, they don't have many connections in the community. I haven't come across one USD student who spoke highly of career services. In fact, almost all students, when honest with you, will tell you that career services stinks.
This Fall 2003 recruiting, about 40 employers (both private firms and government)recruited for summer jobs. That's not a whole lot. Again, increase your job opportunities by transfering out after your first year.
ATTITUDE OF the SCHOOL:
USD's biggest weakness is that it seems to believe it is in the leagues of the Tier 1 schools. Thus, it doesn't really focus on helping its students. I know students who transfered from Cal Western to USD, who noted that Cal Western was much more attentive to its students. I guess when you acknowledge that it's a Tier 4 school like Cal Western, you do everything you can to help the students get jobs. But USD seems very blase about it all.
It believes it is more diverse than it is. (see above about the cover of the law school brochure). Or it wants to project the image that it's more diverse than it is.
In fact, the administration is thinking of eliminating the ranking system, a la Boalt and NYU. - - Please! There is a reason why Boalt and NYU can do away with individual class ranks - employers know that you have to be at the top to get into those schools. USD is mediocre at best. It needs to recognize that it is still TRYING to establish a better reputation instead of acting snobby like it already is Tier 1.
Most of my 1L professors went to top tier schools, as many law professors do. I think the problem with USD professors it that they themselves have a chip on their shoulder for not being at a "name brand" school. They recognize that the students are nowhere near the caliber of students they went to school with, yet they just live with it since hey, USD gives them a paycheck.