Law School Discussion

Good West Coast schools?

Good West Coast schools?
« on: July 17, 2010, 11:02:41 AM »
In a nutshell, I'm looking for recommendations about schools on the West Coast that fit the following criteria:
1.)  Gay-friendly, politically tolerant, and located in either a temperate climate or right on the beach (50-80 degrees is ideal if far from the water). 
2.)  Has a good reputation in the San Francisco Bay Area (where I ultimately want to end up). 

This inquiry is prompted by a few specifics.  Is Golden Gate University really that bad for a safety school?  Pepperdine seems great on paper, but I hear it is very conservative.  Would my moderate-to-liberal views be seen more as helpful discussion or problematic?  Do Pepperdine graduates get hired in San Francisco or do they stick to Los Angeles?  UC-Irvine is a new school, but it has a rock-star of a dean (Erwin Chemerinsky) and one of my personal heroes on the faculty (Elizabeth Loftus).  What is it like?

Any and all help is very much appreciated!   

Re: Good West Coast schools?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2010, 04:15:21 PM »
I'd make Stanford #1 and Berkley #2.   Both great schools, both quite liberal.  For that matter almost all law schools are dramatically more liberal than the general US population.  Berkley is of course more liberal than Stanford, but you'd be totally comfortable at either place I think.

I don't know a lot about the rest.  UCLA of course has an excellent reputation nationally and I'd assume would do just fine in the Bay area.

I've also noticed the phenomenal faculty at UC-Irvine and I love the SD area.  I'm done with law school but have aspirations as a legal academic and its really high on my list of places I'd love to teach.  Don't know how they'll do placement-wise, but its a promising institution.  I think they were or perhaps are offering free or really reduced tuition to get things rolling too. 

I've never visited Pepperdine and don't know what the student body is like.  I had lunch with their old dean and found him an extraordinary, gracious and all around nice human being (not something I particularly expected given media coverage etc).  He's also easily one of the top legal minds in the country and politically very moderate.  It is at least in theory a semi-religious school and definitely more conservative (socially) than the typical law school, I rather doubt that its to the right of the national center though.   I don't know if things have or will change since Star left, but during his time there he put great emphasis on improving the quality of the faculty, pressing them to write more and that sort of thing.  If the school continues on that trend it'll climb in the rankings, especially as their many newish hot professors start to get more stuff published and cited.  Its also on my list of places I'd like to teach.

If you have an interest in business, economics and particularly economic systems design (think hybrid of engineering and economics and OR), Chapman is worth a look.  They've got the nations leading ESD guys on faculty (I've worked with a couple of them, they are really good and doing some unique stuff that could have significant legal policy application I think).  Don't know how they place or what their law faculty is like otherwise though.

At any law school you'll have a pretty wide range of views and you needn't worry at all about your views being seen as problematic.  Again, law schools in general are super-liberal and within the legal world law professors tend to be even further to the left of center.  Historically many schools were openly hostile to conservative and sometimes libertarian students, but even that has faded quite a bit (though still exists more than you'd think).   Stay away from places like Liberty and you'll probably find yourself quite in the mainstream. Again, I don't know what the Pepperdine students are like, you wouldn't have had any problematic issues with Star though.  You could always visit and see what you think.

As a final plug, HLS is super diverse and a bunch of my friends did really well in the Bay area. 

Re: Good West Coast schools?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2010, 08:01:46 PM »
Recommendations depend on your GPA + LSAT score. If you have a 150-something, recommending Berkeley won't be that helpful. On the other hand, if you have a 170+, it's doubtful that you'd apply to schools like Santa Clara.

Otherwise, my list would be as follows:

1. Berkeley/Stanford
4. UC Hastings
5. USC
6. UC Davis
7. USF/Santa Clara

There aren't any other California schools that will get you SF absent some kind of miraculous performance and connections or something.


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Re: Good West Coast schools?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2010, 09:00:37 AM »
Pepperdine is a beautiful campus my mom used to work there, but it might not be great if you are gay. They are a fairly religious institution and lean towards the conservative side. You even have to write your Christian Mission in the application, which made me not apply to the school. I also don't think Malibu would be very gay friendly when you go North of L.A. it gets fairly Yuppie and Malibu certainly fits that criteria.

With the criteria you had listen politically open Gay Friendly I would say the Bay Area would be right up your alley. Berkley and Stanford would be obvious choices they are amazing schools, but odds are you probably are not getting into them.  UC Hastings is a good option and gay friendly politically open etc. USF and Santa Clara are Jesuit schools that have pretty conservative ideals so that is something to be wary of. Golden Gate has no religious overtones and is very politically open and gay friendly. I think  30% if not more of my 1L section was openly gay and GGU is certainly gay friendly.

UC Davis is a good school, but it is in a small little college town that I do not think is very gay friendly. I played basketball against them a lot and it was a fun town, but I really don't think it was very gay friendly. 

L.A. Schools that might be better to consider than Pepperdine would obviously be USC or UCLA.  Then Loyola Marymount, but I am pretty sure they are a religious and conservative school. I don't know that 100%, but 4 of my friends from high school that were ultra religious ended up going there for undergrad.  Southwestern would probably be more gay friendly since the school has no religious foundation and when I walked through I was fairly impressed with it. UC Irvine is also a good option. 

There are the San Diego Schools as well and apparently California Western is going to be taken over by the UC system so it will probably rise significantly in the rankings and now would a good time to go.  Thomas Jefferson and USD are also there, but I know nothing about San Diego in general.

I am from L.A, I went to undergrad in Northern California, and now I am student at  GGU living in San Francisco so I can give you actual advice about California and GGU specifically, but I won't talk out of my ass about stuff I know nothing about like the poster above who says other than those 7 schools you can't get anything. She is an idiot. If you really want to know the pros and cons of GGU and no other school because I have never gone to law school anywhere else except GGU. As a result of that I won't talk out of my ass about other schools in any more detail than I did above. I do know which schools are religious and which ones are not, but I know nothing else about them and I won't pretend that I do. Good Luck to you.

Re: Good West Coast schools?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2010, 04:49:07 AM »
Just to put in two cents about UC Irvine's new school -- it's pretty stellar, from what I've been reading/hearing. I did my undergrad work here and worked with Dr. Loftus (a hero of mine, I must say-- totally changed my life with regard to my perspective on eyewitness testimonies) and I've talked with the dean, who is also amazing. Well, I mean, he's quirky and socially awkward but still a wealth of knowledge, and really interesting to listen to.

I appreciate the fact that UCI is trying to give law students some realtime experience right off the bat. They work with real cases under the supervision of professors and these professors are seriously amazing. The dean once said something along the lines of, "Law school teaches you the law. Firms teach you how to be a lawyer. I want my school to do both."

As far as the campus, it's newbie friendly and completely LGBTQIAA friendly. Ten minutes from the beach, walking distance from just about all necessary services you'd need around a campus...

Totally worth the time to look into. Not that I'm bias or anything ;)