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Author Topic: USD Review  (Read 825 times)

Manwithaplan

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USD Review
« on: March 07, 2006, 12:10:18 AM »
Well today was the first USD admitted students day and I am here to lay down the verdict on the school.

USD has a very nice campus indeed, very socal with a spanish colonial revival theme and palm trees lining many of the wide walkways. The school is very long, and narrow. By that I mean the school is basically built along a very long road with buildings lining either side of the road. It is not a spread out campus. The law school itself is built in the colonial style of he other buildings. Its not that terribly impressive. The tour guide was very nice and forthcoming throughout the whole tour. The whole law building anf library (I'll get to it later) has wireless internet access. The inside of the building is best described as brown. The walls, columns and stairs are the strongest hue of poo brown you ever did see. The building is 3 stories. The bottom basement has a student lounge and suprisingly I saw many students hanging out there. The 2nd floor is the ground floor entrance and is mostly lined with offices and 2 classrooms. The 3rd floor is where the majority of classes and professor offices are. It is all a very utilitarian setup, not ugly by any means, but not spectaculor. The whole building is very clean and well maintained i might add, I saw no 'out of order' signs that plague my school. The classrooms all have that ampitheater semi circle thing with a lecturn where the professor stands at the bottom. All the classroom equipment look very 70s, but well maintained. Very worn, but still in good working order.Overall my impression was that the school is there to teach and not the architecture destination in its own right like some other schools.

The library was rather large. It seemed to be the same size as the law building. There was nothing spectacular about it.The atrium in the library was nice though, it was a nice open space in an otherwise average library. It really did remind me of my local community library and not a spectacular work of art like Southwestern's library.

Most importantly though, my tour guide seemed to know everyone who walked by him and said hi to all of them. It seems like a very collegial school and friendly atmosphere. I asked about how competitive students are, he said that everyone is rather competitive, but at the same time people are very civil and friendly.He also said the avg daily study time for 1L's was about 3-4 hours.

The mock courtroom was very nice. It was like any other ampitheater classroom, but at the bottom there was a courtroom and not a lecturn. It had 2 very nice stain glass ceilings. This was probably the nicest room that i saw.

Lastly, i recomend people show up in business casual. I was the only one in jeans in my tour group and felt a bit out of place and underdressed.

USD Law grad

pinkybella

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Re: USD Review
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2006, 08:43:54 PM »
Thanks for posting this review.

To me, it doesn't seem like you fell in love with USD. You liked it alright, but it was nothing to get excited about. Is that the case or am I overanalysing your post? Also, were the classrooms technologically advanced or were they rather old? When you say they look 1970ish that worries me a little.

Manwithaplan

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Re: USD Review
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2006, 12:06:25 AM »
Thanks for posting this review.

To me, it doesn't seem like you fell in love with USD. You liked it alright, but it was nothing to get excited about. Is that the case or am I overanalysing your post? Also, were the classrooms technologically advanced or were they rather old? When you say they look 1970ish that worries me a little.


I would say thats accurate. I'm sure if i go there i would be more worried about studying to be able to appreciate the buildings though.
USD Law grad

JParker

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Re: USD Review
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2006, 12:06:53 AM »
Thanks for the reviews guys.  USD is one of my top choices.

AZWildcat

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Re: USD Review
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2006, 02:36:58 AM »
I just finished my appellate brief (YAY!), so I am boycotting reading tonight. :)  Let me see if I can add to the confusion. :)

What does USD spend their money on?  Professors.  In my Criminal Law class, I'm taught by Dripps-- his last school was Michigan.  Before that it was USC.  He teaches from a book that he co-authored with Boyce and Perkins.  Boyce and Perkins are two of the very top in the field, and their treatise is often cited in opinions. 

My Property professor is one of the lead editors of Collier on Bankruptcy, the leading treatise on bankruptcy.  She was nominated by Rehnquist to the judicial board on bankruptcy. 

There's a reason USD is ranked 21st in faculty.  The LSAT scores are basically on par with Hastings.  So why are they ranked 63?

The sad truth is the alumni network is non existant.  Now, there is a LOT of push in the school to get that established, but as you know, it's far from an overnight task.  USD does not have a good old boy network...

The other reason is class surveys.  I think you'll find the 3Ls more disenchanted than the 2Ls, and the 1Ls tend to be cheerleaders...  The 3Ls have a near draconian curve that no one can understand.  Their career services were brutal, and the school was not much help.  The 2Ls are on a normal C curve.  The career services have been completely overhauled and look to be on the right track, so they'll get some fruit from that labor.  The 1Ls, and everyone behind us, are on a B curve.  Truth be told, the curves are a little misleading...  A B curve simply means you need to get A+s and As, C curve means A- or B+.  That said, I went through my first semester of law school with all As and that feels good. 

If anyone has any more direct questions, I can try to help.
USD 2L

AZWildcat

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Re: USD Review
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2006, 02:37:58 AM »
oh, one more thing to add...i asked my tour guide and was informed that ANYONE can get on law review...it's a write on only so grades dont matter (tho they help)

It is... Top 1/3 gets 10 points added on to the "contest", top 10% 15 points.
USD 2L

Quintana

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Re: USD Review
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2006, 11:28:15 AM »
  Thanks AZ, appreciate the info.  I know that the profs are brilliant, but how accessible are they?  Any idea how grads do in LA?  Sounds like a great place to study law, definitely one of my top choices.
Attending Brooklyn Law School

pinkybella

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Re: USD Review
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2006, 11:41:53 AM »
AZ, can you talk about whether the PT and FT students interact much? Or are they fairly isolated from eachother? Also, are most of the PT students much older?

Thanks :)

AZWildcat

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Re: USD Review
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2006, 04:15:26 PM »
  Thanks AZ, appreciate the info.  I know that the profs are brilliant, but how accessible are they?  Any idea how grads do in LA?  Sounds like a great place to study law, definitely one of my top choices.

You'll find that really varies professor to professor.  In general, I would call them an accessible bunch.  I've emailed them with questions, and every one has been very prompt and through in their answer.  They never blow me off.  They're not looking to be your best friends (like at some other schools), but there's a good professional relationship.  I've enjoyed all of them so far!

As for LA, it's been said before that you're entering a flooded market.  However, it is VERY possible, *especially* in Orange County.  Orange County only has Chapman (and Whitter, I don't remember).  USD is closer to many points in Orange County than Loyola.  If you perform well at USD (top 1/3 to 20%), there's no reason why you can't get a very nice LA job.  If you're lower than that, you can still get that job, it'll just take more effort on your part.
USD 2L

AZWildcat

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Re: USD Review
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2006, 04:22:06 PM »
AZ, can you talk about whether the PT and FT students interact much? Or are they fairly isolated from eachother? Also, are most of the PT students much older?

Thanks :)

PT is kind of interesting...  They're known as the best looking bunch :) but the section, as you've hinted at, is quite eclectic.  You'll find the 22 year old sorority girl next to the 35 year old with the full time job and a parent of two.  As far as "much older", I would say not.  I would bet the average age is only 2-3 years over FT. 

For interaction, yeah I would say the two are somewhat isolated.  By the time the night classes start, most FTs have gone home.  Likewise, most PT students work, so they're not on campus before 5.  There are social events that bring everyone together, but first year sections at USD are 80-90 people, so you "struggle" just to meet all of your section mates, much less everyone else from the other sections. 

I've noticed that the younger PT students tend to be the biggest contributors to bar review... take that for whatever it means. :)  It's also said that while PT takes fewer classes, their output may be higher.  (More time to look at/go over cases)  So while it is less work per day, it's not substantially less. 
USD 2L