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!!