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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: USC 1L Answers Questions
« on: March 30, 2008, 01:21:36 PM »
For the record, I used to live in the neighborhood around USC - it is awful.  I literally witnessed a shooting at a Wendy's a block north of campus.  If you are a girl - go somewhere else.  USC's neighborhood is terrible.  The alumni network at USC is great.  But having lived in the area, I thought I should throw in a little criticism because if you go to law school there, you will have to be in the area frequently and it sucks.

Also, the Pac-10 is overrated and so are the trojans.  Geaux Tigers.

The area isn't that nice, it's true. It's no surprise that virtually no one lives near campus after 1L. I think the danger is exagerated though or is from people who are used to living in suburbia in middle america. I find that it's more run down than it is dangerous. Of course, I'm a male.

Those going to the law school and living elsewhere probably won't ever notice any problems.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: USC 1L Answers Questions
« on: March 30, 2008, 01:07:41 PM »


1.  How was a semester of social life?  What'd everyone do?  What'd you do?  Was it extremely expensive to go out?

The social life was really good (for being in law school anyway). First semester, the bar reviews were really well attended with probably 70-80% of the class coming to some of them. As time went by, attendance went down both because finals got closer and because people were settling into their groups of friends.

How expensive going out is really depends on what you want to do. If you want to go to fancy clubs like ritual, expect to pay a lot. If you like to go out to more casual bars, the price is comparable to what i paid in DC.

There are a lot of social events that you can do without having to pay though. There's almost always a tailgate party before a home football game that lots of people go to with free beer (and no, you don't have to go to the game).

Then there are law school events such as law prom (which we had last night) and the PILF auction (which, in order to get you to bid a lot, provides all-you-can drink for 15 dollars).

Anyway, I met my girlfriend (who is not a law student) during first semester, so it's possible to meet and date people even while going through law school. It's especially possible to date someone who IS a law student, as many of my friends have found out.

2.  Is the best living choice for 1Ls the place (i forget what its called) that has 2 bedrooms for 2 people?  If not, where is a good place to live.  I'd like to be as close to campus as possible

I live in Terrace now. I think it's a trade-off. At the beginning of the year, Terrace is bar-none the best place to live, I think. This is especially true if you didn't go to school/live in LA before. You meet a lot of people, and you meet a lot of people out of your section. We've thrown a few law school parties out on the large patio. It's a lot of fun. Non-terrace people get kind of jealous.

But I think the advantage of living there decreases as time goes by. By the end of first semester and especially by mid-second semester, everyone is hanging out with everyone else across the city anyway. That said, it makes it a lot easier to find out assignments, borrow materials, etc. from other people in my section.

The apartments are pretty expensive for the area (920 a month this year), they're nice enough, but not great (AC only in the living room, no dishwasher). There IS parking underneith which is nice.

Next year I'm living downtown. In fact, I'll be moving in in a little over a month.

3.  Can I use a mac?  (I really really want the new macbook air)

You can use a Mac, and several of my classmates do. But you can't use softtest on a mac, so you'll either have to borrow, rent, or buy a PC one to take it. You don't want to hand write your exams.

4.  Do law school students hang out just with law school students?

For a large part, yes. You'll meet a lot of spouses and girlfriends/boyfriends, fiances, etc. and you'll meet people's friends who come into town or live in LA, but for the most part, yeah. People hang out with law school students.

5.  How's the gym?

Pretty crowded at the wrong hours, but the machines are nice enough. There's a heated pool you can swim in, there are a number of raquetball/squash courts. It's not the best though.

6.  What was your hardest class from the first semester?
This is really hard to say due to the nature of the curve. Torts is probably the "hardest" simply because it has the fewest solid rules to sort of cling to. As for grade wise, my best was Contracts and my worst was Law, Language and Ethics.

7.  Should I buy commercial outlines this summer and review them?

You can, but I don't think this does a whole lot of good. I think commercial outlines can be helpful, but I'd wait until you're studying for finals and use them to help shape your own outline rather than try and prep for the course ahead of time. Classes cover a lot of different material. For example, hardly anyone else seems to do nuisance in Torts whereas we spent about 3 weeks doing it. That said, I don't think it really does harm to look at them. Just don't act like you know what you're talking about on the first day of class because you know a few more terms than the rest of people.

1. What can you tell us about the collegial atmosphere at USC? It seems to be a big selling point for the school. Myth or reality?

Definitely a reality. It's impossible for me to compare to other schools, but at least in my section, there's very little competitiveness in the meanspirited sort of way. I had access to 4 or 5 outlines for each class that people did. Some people dislike some other people, but that's going to happen when you put 60 people in the same room for so many hours a week for 9 months. On the whole, people are really very friendly and helpful and want to see everyone else succeed. Fortunately, this is largely a possibility at USC despite there being a curve.

2. What has been your experience with the professors? Are they approachable and available to the students?

Some are more approachable than others, but on the whole, they're extremely easy to talk to. The only professor who deliberately made it difficult to get answers and that sort of thing was my Torts prof. The rest go way out of their way to make themselves available. Everyone has a chance to sign up for lunch catered professor lunches where 4-8 people can eat lunch with the professor, generally up on the fourth floor terrace in the sun. I've done this with all my professors and they're all very engaging people who seem to care a great deal about what they do and about their students.

In the other thread, USC's strength was mentioned regarding entertainment boutique law firms. Do you know if those firms hire SC grads straight out of law school?  My understanding was the most of the boutique firms only hired lawyers who had practiced a few years for the big firms, but maybe I'm mistaken. Could you elaborate a bit on the entertainment law connections and opportunities. Much thanks.

Questions about entertainment law are tricky because there's never a real "right" answer. Like the rest of the entertainment industry, it HEAVILY revolves around contacts, networking and luck. From what I can tell, USC is an excellent way to get those contacts. My girlfriend works in the entertainment industry and is a USC grad, and it's really opened my eyes just how dominant USC is in the LA entertainment scene. How much this translates into the law school, I can't really tell you, but it certainly can't hurt.

As for specifics, I did Street Law and one of the corporate sponsor guys was Sony-BMG. We've had a number of people who have externed for the SAG, DGA, and PGA (I think those are the right acronyms). At the mentor lunch, there was a table of entertainment lawyer alumni who the students there could make connections with.

Just like most boutiques, though, I think entertainment firms prefer to hire laterally rather than entry level.

Choosing the Right Law School / USC 1L Answers Questions
« on: March 30, 2008, 10:02:12 AM »
There was a thread a while back, but I thought maybe it's wise to start anew now that people actually have acceptances in hand.

I'd be happy to answer your questions. I should say that my knowledge of "real" career placement (versus 1L) is anecdotal, so I wouldn't press too hard on this. That said, I'll try to do my best to answer any good faith questions.

I'd also be curious to hear what people thought of their visits. My property class on Fridays seems to get a lot of prospective students.

it only applies to a very select few, but it matters somewhat in transfers, so i've heard.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Can I get a second opinion?
« on: January 02, 2008, 09:08:32 PM »
if you want that masters anyway and don't mind spending extra money on it, sure. it's easier to get your masters before rather than after. but it's unlikely to give you much of a boost at all in admission if that's what you're looking for

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Slightly Disappointed.
« on: December 27, 2007, 09:49:12 AM »
I have to wonder how necessary or desirable public funding is for Boalt and UCLA.

I think both Boalt and UCLA have a pretty good LRAP program. The emphasis, and I don't think it's misplaced, is to have those people who are doing public service or government service pay much less than regular students. They do this through loan repayment schemes that basically get rid of the debt in about the same time as those who go into private practice.

That money has to come from somewhere, and I don't think asking those people who are going to make 160k a year to pay more is unreasonable. Obviously the state could help fund that, but I don't think that not doing so is really a failure of the state. Personally, I'd rather see that money go to the undergraduate colleges where the students coming out won't be making six figures upon graduation.

I guess this is my point: 41k seems like a lot, and it is. But the increased profit potential you're getting from it is such that there's little question that it's worth it. Of course, this is all coming from someone who already pays that much, so maybe I'm a bit biased.

Yale places the best in Dallas. Yale places the best everywhere.

If by "best" you mean "most," then it's SMU, followed by UT, followed by Tech believe it or not, then Baylor, then Houston.

i'm not sure that's actually true. admittedly my knowledge is limited, but Harvard tends to place better in firm jobs. Whether it has any basis in reality, Harvard is seen as a school that produces more practical lawyers than Yale.

That's not to say anyone from Yale will have any problem finding good work in Dallas.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Average Work week at Big Law?
« on: December 17, 2007, 01:31:28 PM »
use the nalp directory ( to see number of billable hours required at various firms. Some firms don't even have any. From my understatnding, at some firms, there's a minimum billable hour requirement and then there's the unwritten minimum billable hour requirement. From what I've seen, the minimums stated in the nalp directory are usually around 1900-2000, so if you're working 50 weeks out of the year, that's about 40 billed hours required. As lawyers will tell you, though, it's rare that you're able to bill all your hours.

I would imagine that the hours required for Dallas are similar to other places simply because they pay the same (160k is the market rate just like in New York, LA and elsewhere). The benefit is that you probably won't end up spending an hour or two a day commuting.

well, i don't argue with anyone who wants better weather at USC than at Fordham in NYC, but my question is this: If you're willing to choose a school based on weather, don't you think you should investigate the idea that maybe, possibly you'll want better weather the rest of your life?

I also completely understand the idea that soemone might want to live somewhere else for three years before they return to where they'll spend the rest of their lives. But that wasn't stated as a reason before, so I don't know if that's applicable.

You don't need to be "at the top of your class" at USC/UCLA to return to New York, but I don't know why you wouldn't choose to go to Fordham if you absolutely knew 100% that you wanted to practice in New York after.

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