USD 1L taking questions

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upintheair
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USD 1L taking questions

Postby upintheair » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:01 am

I am a 1L who found TLS very helpful last year through the application process. Thought I'd post to help anyone who had any questions regarding USD and beautiful (and always sunny) San Diego.

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sirchristaylor
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby sirchristaylor » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:15 am

upintheair wrote:I am a 1L who found TLS very helpful last year through the application process. Thought I'd post to help anyone who had any questions regarding USD and beautiful (and always sunny) San Diego.


Thanks!

1. How are the school's facilities?
2. How competitive are the classes, students, etc.?
3. To what extent do professors really involve themselves with the students?
4. What are summer job prospects like?
5. What are post-grad job prospects like as of now?
6. How is the neighborhood around the campus?
7. Where are the 5 best places to live in SD?
8. Are students more: fratty, mature, etc.?
9. How is USD with financial aid?
10. What are the usual reqs for keeping scholarships?
11. In your experience, how portable is a USD law degree? (SoCal only, Cal-State only, West only, etc.)
12. Do you think USD's rankings will increase in the next 3 years?
13. Why did you choose USD?

Lots of questions, so thanks for any answers!

upintheair
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby upintheair » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:45 am

1. The law building is a little older in comparison to many of the other schools I visited (1960's or 70's I think) although I do not think this affects them at all. They still are very functional, the seating is comfortable, and they are constantly updating things to make them better (wifi everywhere, plugs for laptops everywhere, etc.)

2. So far, competitiveness is not an issue. Everyone is very helpful, in fact, getting through one semester the problem was too many people wanting to be in study groups and too many outlines to sift through from others as everyone is trying to help each other out.

3. Professors in general are very helpful and open. They all maintain their office hours and stay after class for discussion as well. I think there is a rare professor that is not but I have been very impressed so far. In addition the quality of professor is very high, in fact, one of my professors had to cancel class for next week since he will be somewhere more important (arguing in front of the Supreme Court).

4&5. We are just getting into the meat of the summer job hunt so I'm not certain yet on that, I will try to get back to you on that and same thing with job prospects (I am a 1L so don't know how they look in comparison to recent years, I assume worse because of the economy but I don't have any hard facts).

6. The neighborhood around campus isn't the greatest, but there are a number of places very close that are very nice. Also, I know a number of people who live within walking distance and have no problems.

7. Five best places is tougher, because there are so many options, but I'll just list the main areas people do live. Dowtown, Mission Valley, Hillcrest/Northpark, Beach areas (Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach) and Clairement/Bay Park. All of these areas have different vibes and work for different types of people.

8. Students I have found are very friendly and mature. Nobody seems to be stuck in any undergrad mode (not to say there isn't plenty of socializing and good times).

9. USD is pretty good with financial aid, and since it is a private school I feel like they tend to be much better than many other places.

10. The requirements are generally that you annually maintain a GPA in the top third of your class, but I have heard that it is case to case. That is the one I have heard most regularly though.

11. USD is a regional school. Therefore it looks really good in San Diego, does well in Southern California and Arizona but realistically doesn't do amazing things beyond that. But that is the situation for nearly any school outside of the top schools.

12. I have no idea. I know it had a big jump last year but that was more a return to the norm. Historically USD has been ranked right about where it is now. But who is to say that it can't rise higher, I would definitely be a fan of that happening.

13. I chose USD because I wanted to work in San Diego. You can't beat this place. Yeah, its a little expensive, but nothing like it. I got into much higher ranked schools in other parts of the country (some of which I received more $ as well) but in the end if you are not going to a national school I think the key is going where you want to practice.

Hope this helps!

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como
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby como » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:03 pm

I should add that even with a national school, without family/school ties to the region, it will be incredibly difficult to be hired in a non-local market. At least, that's what I was told since I wanted to work socal from Cornell with no ties to SD.

More incentive to choose a regional school...

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sirchristaylor
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby sirchristaylor » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:07 pm

upintheair wrote:1. The law building is a little older in comparison to many of the other schools I visited (1960's or 70's I think) although I do not think this affects them at all. They still are very functional, the seating is comfortable, and they are constantly updating things to make them better (wifi everywhere, plugs for laptops everywhere, etc.)

2. So far, competitiveness is not an issue. Everyone is very helpful, in fact, getting through one semester the problem was too many people wanting to be in study groups and too many outlines to sift through from others as everyone is trying to help each other out.

3. Professors in general are very helpful and open. They all maintain their office hours and stay after class for discussion as well. I think there is a rare professor that is not but I have been very impressed so far. In addition the quality of professor is very high, in fact, one of my professors had to cancel class for next week since he will be somewhere more important (arguing in front of the Supreme Court).

4&5. We are just getting into the meat of the summer job hunt so I'm not certain yet on that, I will try to get back to you on that and same thing with job prospects (I am a 1L so don't know how they look in comparison to recent years, I assume worse because of the economy but I don't have any hard facts).

6. The neighborhood around campus isn't the greatest, but there are a number of places very close that are very nice. Also, I know a number of people who live within walking distance and have no problems.

7. Five best places is tougher, because there are so many options, but I'll just list the main areas people do live. Dowtown, Mission Valley, Hillcrest/Northpark, Beach areas (Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach) and Clairement/Bay Park. All of these areas have different vibes and work for different types of people.

8. Students I have found are very friendly and mature. Nobody seems to be stuck in any undergrad mode (not to say there isn't plenty of socializing and good times).

9. USD is pretty good with financial aid, and since it is a private school I feel like they tend to be much better than many other places.

10. The requirements are generally that you annually maintain a GPA in the top third of your class, but I have heard that it is case to case. That is the one I have heard most regularly though.

11. USD is a regional school. Therefore it looks really good in San Diego, does well in Southern California and Arizona but realistically doesn't do amazing things beyond that. But that is the situation for nearly any school outside of the top schools.

12. I have no idea. I know it had a big jump last year but that was more a return to the norm. Historically USD has been ranked right about where it is now. But who is to say that it can't rise higher, I would definitely be a fan of that happening.

13. I chose USD because I wanted to work in San Diego. You can't beat this place. Yeah, its a little expensive, but nothing like it. I got into much higher ranked schools in other parts of the country (some of which I received more $ as well) but in the end if you are not going to a national school I think the key is going where you want to practice.

Hope this helps!


Helps tremendously, thank you!

OrcinusOrcas
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby OrcinusOrcas » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:27 pm

Hi there!

Thanks for posting. I had a few questions:

1. What kind of law seems to be the most popular choice at USD? I've heard that there are a lot of people taking advantage of the Tax Law classes.

2. Based on the campus and housing close to it, would you say you need a vehicle or could do public transit/commute via bike?

3. Do you find the student body or the professors to be politically Conservative?

upintheair
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby upintheair » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:39 pm

1. Tax law definitely has its draw, as USD has a great program for it. In general though students head in all types of directions. There are classes and organizations for every possible type of law you could imagine. As a 1L we don't set our schedules so my classmates and I haven't had those decisions yet but I know their are tons of options.

2. I would say that most (80-90%) have a vehicle. It is probably necessary unless you are one of the few that choose to live on campus or right next to campus. It is in a very hilly area as well so bikes do not work as well.

3. There is a conservative vibe to USD but it is extremely muted. I would say that the liberal vibe at most universities is more noticeable.

muffinberry
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby muffinberry » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:05 am

As a prospective 1L I've got a few questions:

1) How do you think USD's placement is for the Orange County and/or Los Angeles areas? It might be dumb to ask about LA since there are, what, 5? schools "up there" in LA with graduates also contending for jobs.

2) Is it expensive to live in SD? I'm from Orange County (Irvine) where it is pretty pricey, and I'm not sure how San Diego compares.

3) Is there on-campus housing for law students? I'm not planning on it but just wondering if that is an option. And I saw that there are a few primary communities/cities that students choose to live. What is the commute like to school from any of these areas? Is traffic bad at all?

Thanks!

upintheair
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby upintheair » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:41 am

1. Los Angeles is tough. Like you said, there are lots of schools in that area so USD does not place as well, but then again LA is also a huge legal market, so there are a good number of USD people there and many end up there. Orange county is similar and are obviously affected by the LA schools as well. Realistically, USD owns San Diego, and from there they do have an influence in Orange County and LA but none compare to its placement in SD.

2. Yes, its expensive to live in SD. I would say comparable to Irvine, but once again it depends on where you live. If you end up in Clairemont or Linda Vista, it will be cheaper. If you end up downtown or by the beaches, itll cost you a little more. All depends on your specific situation (of course saving by having roommates, etc.)

3. The commutes are non existant really. I live by the beach, and it takes me maybe 10-15 minutes. I get on the freeway for 2 exits and haven't been stuck in traffic once (an advantage to LA). Other people have a similar commute or some are even shorter.

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Great Satchmo
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby Great Satchmo » Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:46 pm

I know you said you didn't have the greatest idea of summer placements, but I wanted to see if maybe that became a bit more clear since. Does USD have a "special" position in San Diego, as compared to similarly ranked schools, in that it's really the dominant school in the region? Or, is USD in a similar position in competition in the marketplace?

You mentioned you got into other schools, with better rankings, but you decided on USD - what were some of the reasons you attended USD?

upintheair
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby upintheair » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:47 pm

At this point I still do not know about summer placements. Interviewing is really starting to pick up this week and will continue strong through March, so it should become much clearer through the coming weeks and month or so.

In regards to USD's place in San Diego it really does dominate. 1 in 3 practicing attorneys in San Diego is a USD grad. Therefore, it places better here than any school outside of the top 14, regardless of rank. Now USD is a small legal market, therefore there are very few, if any, big law opportunities, and those jobs USD students have to compete with T14 students. Outside of San Diego USD students would probably not stand a chance, but here they do because of its place in the community.

The main reason I chose USD was San Diego. It truly is an amazing place to be. The people, the weather, the community. Its tough to beat. On top of that the USD community itself really is a community. Everyone (with very few exceptions, but those exist everywhere) wants you to do well and is in it to help each other. I don't regret my decision for half a second.

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Great Satchmo
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby Great Satchmo » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:58 pm

Really appreciate the input.

That brings me to another question: what is the San Diego law market comprised of? I know it's not big, and the fact that USD reigns supreme is a comforting thing. However, are there enough jobs to support USD grads and what are the nature of the areas of law/compensation.

I have family members in private practice in criminal defense type work, as well my father retired from private practice in family law. I really have no idea what, outside of private practice, is big in San Diego.

I'm interested in business/corporate/tax or something of that ilk.

muffinberry
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby muffinberry » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:08 pm

What is your impression (if any) of on-campus housing? A little research on the USD site shows the Presidio Terrace & Manchester Village apts--are these good places to live? Would you recommend on-campus living? I take it you live off-campus.

upintheair
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby upintheair » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:48 pm

Satchmo- While San Diego is a smaller legal market, it still is very diverse. There are practices of all types in basically every field. So far we have had our career services put on presentations featuring local firms and government work in health law, tax, employment, family, criminal law, litigation, corporate law, international law, and many others that I know I am missing. And yes, I would say that there are enough jobs for USD grads in San Diego (remember, although the legal market is smaller than LA or the other big cities, San Diego still has a population of about 3 million so there is always a need). Compensation I do not know about. And once again that is an unknown with the economy the way it is right now.

Muffinberry- There is some on campus housing for graduate students. I know one student who is living in Manchester Village. It is basically a dorm room and is on campus but it is all graduate students and he seems to like it. Another friend of mine lives in the Presidio Terrace which is more of a 1 bedroom apartment. Very nice and is on campus but is on the very edge and so basically is off campus. All on campus housing is very expensive but depending on the situation can be a very good fit.

BruinsFan
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby BruinsFan » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:59 pm

HI! and thanks!

I'm trying to decide between Cal Western with a big scholly or USD.

Growing up in San Diego I've always glamorized going to USD's Law School. I always figured if I got in, that I would go- no questions asked. It looks beautiful up there on it's little hill and is by far the best ranked law school in town. Now, for me, the burden of proof stands with USD.

Do you think USD would be worth an extra 90k over Cal Western? It doesn't sound like you even considered Cal Western, but have you heard anything?

OrcinusOrcas
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby OrcinusOrcas » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:27 pm

Hey there,

Here's a few more:
1. Looks like most of the 1L F/T classes are between 8am and 2pm based on past schedules; what did your schedule look like?
2. How casual do USD law students dress? I ask mostly b/c I'm coming from NorCal and will need to buy a whole lot of summer clothes = )
3. Where do people like to study on/off campus other than the library? Assuming they're not always in the library or an apartment/dorm.

Thanks again!!

muffinberry
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby muffinberry » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:01 pm

A little less serious compared to the other questions, but how is the school gym? Do you use it?

upintheair
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby upintheair » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:28 pm

Bruinsfan- You are right, I did not apply to Cal Western. And that decision is a very tough one. One of my friends had a full ride to Cal Western and chose no money to go to USD. But I think it is a personal decision that you have to make. USD definitely places significantly better for jobs, but not having debt may give you the ability to take a job that pays less and you dont have to worry about paying it down. Its all a matter of personal choice. I think in general USD offers more especially since it is on campus with an entire university, but that is just my opinion.

Orcas- 1) My schedule first semester typically ran 2 classes a day from about 9-2 (with a big break in the middle) and one class on Friday mornings. This semester we have one more class added but we generally dont start until 10 or 11 and get out some days at 3 and others at 430. I still only have one class a week on Friday. In addition they offer what they call the "flex program", which I am not in. This section only has class Mon-Thurs and classes run from noon to 7, so later in the day. Something to consider that other places didnt offer.

2) In general it is very casual. Being in sunny San Diego tends to lead to that. Nobody feels the pressure to impress anyone with professional clothing (other than when they have interviews and special events of course). I wear a t shirt and shorts/jeans and rainbow sandals nearly everyday and I am not underdressed in any way shape or form.

3) For studying I think a lot of people use the library and their apartments (since they are usually the most convenient, especially on breaks between classes) but I know a lot of people who also will go to the beach, or coffee shops, or those kinds of places. There are all kinds of options all over the place, and it depends on the person.

upintheair
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby upintheair » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:33 pm

I do not use the school gym, mainly because I live off campus. I have heard good things about it though. But I do participate in intramural sports, which is run through the recreation department, and all the facilities are top notch.

jms1987
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby jms1987 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:56 pm

San Diego is one of one first choices of places to work, but COL combined with low-ish shots at BigLaw worry a bit. Is it possible to live comfortably w/o a 6 figure salary in San Diego? (because I've been told its rough w/o one)

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Great Satchmo
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby Great Satchmo » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:21 pm

jms1987 wrote:San Diego is one of one first choices of places to work, but COL combined with low-ish shots at BigLaw worry a bit. Is it possible to live comfortably w/o a 6 figure salary in San Diego? (because I've been told its rough w/o one)


I grew up there, so I may as well toss my hat in the ring:

Yes - kinda.

You won't be living in a huge house in La Jolla, a penthouse in downtown, or a mansion in Torrey Pines. You can live other areas for what is "affordable" for a desirable place in CA. I use quotes since I realize that it's not the norm to have a median home price around $500k everywhere in the country (I dunno what San Diego's median is).

However, as long as you are willing to accept that you aren't going to be living like a millionaire on 70k, you'll be fine.

Edit: Of note, and I don't know if this is still the trend/case (I think it is) - people have been buying houses further and further north along the 15 freeway to commute to San Diego for work. This is because the $350-$500k the houses cost there actually gets you a newer home with more land/sq footage than almost anywhere in San Diego.

upintheair
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby upintheair » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:57 pm

I agree with Satchmo...there is a high cost of living in San Diego, no doubt about it. There are also smaller chances at big law. But it all depends on what you are looking for. You can live comfortably in a nice area for less than six figures. It won't be Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar or La Jolla, but there are a lot of other very nice places where you can settle.

One other thing I'd like to mention, since I know on these boards people get a little crazy about big law and huge salaries coming out of school. Starting at $70-80k coming out of school isn't the worst thing in the world, and assuming you work hard and go from there, your salary will only increase. So you may not be able to buy the mansion right out of school, but it is very possible to achieve in a reasonably short period of time.

Plus, isn't summer nearly year round a priceless benefit that possibly makes up for it? :D

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Great Satchmo
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby Great Satchmo » Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:30 pm

upintheair wrote:I agree with Satchmo...there is a high cost of living in San Diego, no doubt about it. There are also smaller chances at big law. But it all depends on what you are looking for. You can live comfortably in a nice area for less than six figures. It won't be Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar or La Jolla, but there are a lot of other very nice places where you can settle.

One other thing I'd like to mention, since I know on these boards people get a little crazy about big law and huge salaries coming out of school. Starting at $70-80k coming out of school isn't the worst thing in the world, and assuming you work hard and go from there, your salary will only increase. So you may not be able to buy the mansion right out of school, but it is very possible to achieve in a reasonably short period of time.

Plus, isn't summer nearly year round a priceless benefit that possibly makes up for it? :D



I think the inflated expectations floated (har har) around on this board are ridiculous.

I'll be happy if I make $70k-$80k coming out of school, as long as there is upward mobility in what I'm doing and I enjoy it.

Summer year round is one reason I don't like San Diego. Although, I do realize that I yearn for the "summer" of San Francisco right now, although it was all of about 2 weeks.

sundaynightdelite
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby sundaynightdelite » Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:02 am

upintheair wrote:I do not use the school gym, mainly because I live off campus. I have heard good things about it though. But I do participate in intramural sports, which is run through the recreation department, and all the facilities are top notch.


Intramural sports are pure win at USD.

The gym is excellent, but it may be a little smaller than you'd like if you came from a larger state university.

Inygma
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Re: USD 1L taking questions

Postby Inygma » Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:00 am

Thanks for taking questions! I'll be visiting on March 1st, along with other TLS'rs for the first admitted students day!




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