« on: April 24, 2005, 10:38:06 PM »
I visited UCLA on Saturday in a ridiculously short and impromptu fashion. Luckily for me the students there are almost aggressively friendly. As I was timidly gazing at the "admission with ID only" sign outside the law library, someone asked me if I needed help. She turned out to be a 2L in PILF, the public interest program I"m admitted to. Over the next 45 minutes she steadily grabbed passers-by on their way to the library and introduced them (for some reason most of them were PILFers too). About five of them held an impromptu panel for an audience of me and my bf. Then one took me on a little tour of the library, which was all I had time for.
They left me deeply impressed with the close knit fabric of the PILF program and its students. They love their school and their program, and believe it will place them well for public interest jobs. They do grant that the school is having $$ problems--the 2L who toured me said tuition was 11K in state when she applied and has doubled since. They also said the LRAP is not good right now. There were murmurs that not everyone who is eligible gets into the program, and then there's the low income cutoff threshold and the maximum awards cap of $60,000. The light in the tunnel is that NYU's old dean is their new one, and LRAP is on his table, but that's pretty nebulous hope. Overall the UCLA LRAP scene still compares and contrasts unfavorably with UVA's LRAP's prorated income eligibility between 36,000 and 60,000 and generous policy of paying all your debts when you earn under 36,000 (I could have this figure 1 or 2K off) with no maximum debt cap. That means that UVA would pay my entire 99K of school debt off in the 10 years after I graduated, if I earn as little as I'm expecting.
However, now that I"ve been to UCLA and seen their very beautiful library (solid wood bookshelves and carrels, wonderful light, full of happy laid-back PILF students) I am very drawn to it. California's where I want to practice, LA is where my bf has friends and opportunities, and I also really appreciate what the PILFers told me about grades at UCLA, that students are not ranked in their class and that grades are not publicized. They believe it gives them a very non-competitive body of students in and out of the program.
I'm going to call the PILF office and see if they can help me wring some finaid money out of UCLA. Next week, the visit to UVA!
Oh, I also visited USC, and didn't like their law building AT ALL. I guess they're going to redo it, but I got a yucky feeling. I had written them off completely when an L.A. employment lawyer I was introduced to told me that they're a really good school for public interest. He related an anecdote of how a friend of his who does land use law wanted to teach a course in it and approached UCLA, who loved the idea but couldn't pay him. The guy is teaching his course now at USC.