University of San Diego School of Law

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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Ken
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University of San Diego Law School Profile

Postby Ken » Thu Oct 19, 2006 3:21 pm

University of San Diego Law School

Sunny San Diego. This is what most people picture when they think of the growing Southern California metropolis and they could not be more correct. San Diego is one of the most ideal places in the United States to live, with great weather year-round, the beach to the west, Baja California to the south and a very strong regional law school. One of the best private law schools in the region and affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, the University of San Diego Law School has several attributes that make it an attractive choice for law school applicants looking towards law schools in Southern California.

USD Law School - Admissions and Tuition

Ranked among the top 65 law schools in the nation by US News Law School Rankings and 22nd by the Educational Quality Rankings, the University of San Diego Law School is, as a result, growing in both size and stature. Receiving approximately 5,100 applications for the most recent entering class and only accepting around 1,270, USD Law has been getting stricter with the percentages it can admit each year, admitting roughly 25% of applicants for last year’s class. The number of applications it receives each year continues to grow and consequently, USD Law School is continually becoming more selective with admitting applicants.

The application process for students vying for admission to USD Law School consists simply of an application, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. No interviews are required for admission. Admitted students usually have LSAT scores ranging from a 160 for the 25th percentile to a 164 for the 75th percentile, with an average score of 162. Additionally, the average undergraduate GPA for accepted students is 3.3. The admissions process is similar to other law schools in that it is very numbers oriented and focuses on these two scores to determine whether or not a student will automatically be admitted or denied. These categories are referred to as a presumptive admit or a presumptive deny, respectively. These two categories are based completely on undergraduate GPA and LSAT scores. For the most part, USD Law concentrates on LSAT scores as the means of determining the status of an applicant. Good LSAT scores can in some cases override a lower undergraduate GPA as a mitigating factor. In most cases, excellent LSAT scores can garner considerable scholarships for admitted students. However, having a good undergraduate GPA but a lower LSAT score does not necessarily save a student from a presumptive deny as an excellent LSAT score paired with a poorer undergraduate GPA would.

Middle applicants, meaning those whose fate cannot be predetermined by simply numbers, have committee reviews for secondary evaluation. These committees, comprised of two faculty members and three students, review the applications of potential students, taking everything into consideration, including the applicant’s letters of recommendation, personal statement and major in college. Therefore, all components of the application process are equally important in case is not assessed with an automatic admit or an automatic deny.
Accordingly, students applying to USD Law School should make sure that their letters of recommendation and personal statement are up to par. The personal statement should focus on the individual, their life and their interests. It is always a good idea to discuss reasons for wanting to go to USD Law in the personal statement, as it lends a more personable approach to the statement.

In addition to their full-time day program, USD Law offers a great evening program, which is easier to get into as it allows for applicants with lower LSAT scores and undergraduate GPA. In fact, the evening program gives students the opportunity to transfer from its program to the full-time program after their 1st year, contingent on a multitude of factors. This gives students, who otherwise would not have gotten into the law school’s day program through normal admission standards, the chance to prove themselves as deserving of a spot after a year of hard work and effort. USD Law also offers a program for part-time students as well as several joint-degree programs.

For the most part, students at USD Law School feel as though they have a great admissions office with top-notch personal service. The admissions office communicates well with their applicants during the application and admission process and walk people through it to make it as easy as possible. The school has rolling admissions, so it is necessary for applicants to get their applications in as soon as possible so that they have the best possible chance of being accepted. This makes the process not only easier on the admissions office but easier on the applicants as well.

Because USD Law School is a private law school, tuition can get expensive, easily as expensive as many other private law schools throughout the nation. The annual tuition for all students is over $30,000 with room and board adding on an extra $15,000. Many students at USD Law apply and receive financial aid or scholarships.

USD Law School - Curriculum and Academics

The academics and curriculum at the University of San Diego Law School are demanding. The workload can be heavy, for students often study for several hours a day in addition to their classes. This schedule gets even tougher during finals when more cramming must ensues.

The classes offered at USD Law School are adequate. Most classes are available and are of a good array and range. At times the extremely popular classes provide some difficulty to gain attendance. As with the majority of law schools, the first year classes are assigned to students as well as the times in which they will take them. The required courses are customary and most of them are subjects that will be covered by the California Bar Exam. The second and third year of law school at USD Law School becomes more demanding as a result of it students attempting to participate in a law school activities or law reviews while also focusing on securing a job upon graduation. It is these activities which can take up the most time of one’s schedule and therefore make the workload on 2Ls and 3Ls rougher.

The reputation of the University of San Diego Law School is growing, which is primarily a factor of the renowned visiting and adjunct professors the law school recruits each year. Both excellent faculty and students are attracted to San Diego’s amazing weather and quality of life. The style in which these professors teach is very legal-theory based; however, their teaching styles are praised as inciting a sense of enthusiasm in their students. They attempt to get to know their students on both a professional and personal level and make themselves available to students outside of the classroom.

The one aspect that students (and faculty) do not necessarily like at USD Law School is the grading system. All grading is done on an asymmetrical bell curve, basically a 74 – 93 scale, which is not normal for ABA approved schools. The curve is adjusted for 1Ls, accounting for the fact that they are new to the law school system. However, even this system of adjusting does not always work and around 10% of entering 1st years are failed out of the school. This only makes competition more fierce and forced among students. Another source of competition comes from the fact that many of its students want to do law review, being that USD Law School has one of the higher ranked law reviews in the nation.

USD Law School - Legal Specialties

Academically, USD Law specializes in many fields. Its strongest academic specialty is taxation. Other great concentrations include public interest law, civil procedure, administrative law, criminal law, intellectual property law, commercial law, human rights law, constitutional law and international law.

USD Law School - Quality of Life

There is a great quality of life at USD Law as a result of numerous factors. Its students greatly enjoy living and studying in San Diego, which helps the environment be more laid-back and relaxed. It also lends to the students being happier, friendlier, and willing and ready to help fellow classmates. It is a “fun in the sun” type of environment and this allows for students to have positive and upbeat outlooks even though the law school environment itself may be more grueling.

The law school is consists of two separate buildings, one where all classes are held and one where the Legal Research Center (LRC) is stationed. The law library at USD Law School is excellent and provides resources many beyond USD students. The law school provides good workout amenities and food directly across the street from its buildings. It is located in a safe, well-lit neighborhood.

Unfortunately, parking on campus can be quite a hassle. In addition, housing is both limited and expensive, due to the campus’s location in San Diego.


USD’s campus is located high on a hill, providing for many amazing views of the valley below and the Pacific Ocean. The landscaping of the school is lavish, providing students who attend with one of the most beautiful campuses in that region.

USD Law School - Social Life

As with most law schools, the social life, while present, is not necessarily the greatest. Much of the social life stems from the city of San Diego. Thankfully, San Diego offers most students an exciting social alternative to escape the tedium and stress of law school. In addition to the city, the campus itself has some functions. The Student Bar Association hosts two big parties a year, usually Spring and Halloween, as well as “bar reviews” every Thursday night at various bars throughout San Diego.

USD’s campus is central to two beaches that provide numerous bars, as well as downtown, which provides a great nightlife full of bars and clubs. Both of these outlets provide excellent places to hang out for many students of USD Law School.

All in all, San Diego is an incredible city. It offers great weather, averaging around 70 degrees all year, some of the best beaches and surf opportunities available, weekend escapes to Mexico and the shopping and nightlife of nearby LA. In addition, the city provides students with many outdoor activities to enjoy, such as golf, mountain biking, sailing, and surfing.

USD Law School - Employment Prospects

Employment prospects for USD Law students are relatively good with a 91% job placement rate and an average starting salary of just above $75,000. In addition, the bar passage rate for USD students is approximately 83%. USD Law School graduated benefit from coming from the best law school in a major metropolitan area. For the most part, the bigger firms in L.A. and outside of San Diego require that students who graduate from USD must rank in the top 5 or 10 percent of their class just to get an interview. This is primarily because students of the law school are largely recruited by southern California firms and students must compete with law students of other schools in San Francisco and L.A. for jobs. While a great school in California, USD Law is not well known outside of the state and thus job opportunities are mostly in California.

For the most part, the career services department at the University of San Diego Law School is extremely helpful to those students that seek their help. It has been said that they concentrate primarily on those students that are in the top 10 percent of the class so students that fall under that percentage must make themselves known. However, if students make the effort the department will work closely with them. It is one of the best career placement departments in the southern California region, resulting from its great approachability and professionalism.


In addition, the job and internship prospects are abundant for those who take the time to pursue them. Externship opportunities are also readily available during school for credit.

USD Law School is a great prospect for applicants looking to go to school in Southern California and intending to base themselves there. When applying, make sure that all parts of the application process are given the utmost care and consideration, especially the personal statement and letters of recommendation. These two components of the process are the only controlled aspects and can make or break an applicant who falls in the middle category.

Contact Information

University of San Diego School of Law
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260 – 2218
jdinfo@sandiego.edu

Application Deadline: Rolling
Application Fee: $50

Financial Aid Application Deadline: March 1

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kevsocko
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby kevsocko » Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:08 am

Bump this! Anybody have any info?

00TREX00
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby 00TREX00 » Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:31 am

...
Last edited by 00TREX00 on Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gatosenlapiscina
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby gatosenlapiscina » Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:38 am

i went to school up the freeway from usd. anyone can tell you that the people are much more attractive, if unfortunately more shallow.

The architecture is nice if you like Spanish/Catholic Mission period with a spanish-islamic influence.

There was a rumor that the son of the owner of the denver broncos went here. i also knew a guy who broke up with his girlfriend over HIS buying a cat.

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nipplehead
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby nipplehead » Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:27 am

my best friend's dad teaches at USD law. if you guys have any questions, let me know.

im about to shoot him an email about what law school to go to (he went to yale, of course) but i'll ask about USD if you guys want.

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mplsdbc
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby mplsdbc » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:50 pm

I'd be interested to know what your friend's dad says, thanks!

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iwasgoingtobeasenator
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby iwasgoingtobeasenator » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:59 pm

I visited USD recently. Pretty campus, overlooks the ocean. The inside of the law building is rather unimpressive while the outside is gorgeous. It seems like they have great instructors and a horrible administration. (Which explains their 20+ point drop in the USNWR) The tuition is also extremely high, but if you have an LSAT that give you scholarship, and you want to live in San Diego, I could see this as a very viable option.

I get the feeling they have a conservative slant because I believe that there's a Justice Scalia Center on Constitutional Originalism? He lectured there a few years back. Also, San Diego has a very low violent crime rate, but they have one of the nation's highest property crime rates. Keep that in mind. Oh that and the California wildfires have negatively impacted the San Diego area's aesthetic appeal, it is not as pretty as it was 10-15 years ago.

tamtam
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby tamtam » Fri Feb 08, 2008 6:12 pm

I graduated from Marian Catholic High School (their sister school), many of our teachers were from USD. My HS graduation was held at USD.. Most people who go there are Catholic.. Pretty campus, and I will say people there are generally very religious and spiritual. A peaceful place. SD is a beautilful city, great weather (better than LA, not as dry, and better than the bay area, warmer). La Jolla is a nice beach, with a lot of hot dude and chic.. A very relaxing city.

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casper13
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby casper13 » Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:37 pm

tamtam wrote:I graduated from Mater Dei formerly known as Marian Catholic High School (their sister school), many of our teachers were from USD. My HS graduation was held at USD.. Most people who go there are Catholic.. Pretty campus, and I will say people there are generally very religious and spiritual. A peaceful place. SD is a beautilful city, great weather (better than LA, not as dry, and better than the bay area, warmer). La Jolla is a nice beach, with a lot of hot dude and chic.. A very relaxing city.



Corrected lol My gf is an alum of Marian

agent433
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby agent433 » Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:54 pm

tamtam wrote:I graduated from Marian Catholic High School (their sister school), many of our teachers were from USD. My HS graduation was held at USD.. Most people who go there are Catholic.. Pretty campus, and I will say people there are generally very religious and spiritual. A peaceful place. SD is a beautilful city, great weather (better than LA, not as dry, and better than the bay area, warmer). La Jolla is a nice beach, with a lot of hot dude and chic.. A very relaxing city.

can somebody explain this? i knew usd was religiously affiliated, but didnt realize that it was overly conservative or religious like pepperdine for example

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casper13
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby casper13 » Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:27 pm

agent433 wrote:
tamtam wrote:I graduated from Marian Catholic High School (their sister school), many of our teachers were from USD. My HS graduation was held at USD.. Most people who go there are Catholic.. Pretty campus, and I will say people there are generally very religious and spiritual. A peaceful place. SD is a beautilful city, great weather (better than LA, not as dry, and better than the bay area, warmer). La Jolla is a nice beach, with a lot of hot dude and chic.. A very relaxing city.

can somebody explain this? i knew usd was religiously affiliated, but didnt realize that it was overly conservative or religious like pepperdine for example



I dont think it is that bad. There is an air of religion about the school but I think they are more business than anything. They dont push you to be catholic.

andel11
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby andel11 » Fri Feb 15, 2008 12:42 am

Hey Nipplehead

Would like to hear more about USD if you can get the info, how does it stand up with Tier 1 schools

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JiminyCricket
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby JiminyCricket » Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:35 pm

Hi everyone...new here....

Just got accepted to USD...I'm an LA girl so just wondering if anyone had a chance to check out the campus housing...

Whats it like?

Thanks! :mrgreen:

craigsol
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby craigsol » Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:40 pm

Cricket when did you apply?

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JiminyCricket
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby JiminyCricket » Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:41 pm

I applied on January 26...I know really late but I was laggin with writing a personal statement til the last minute

craigsol
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby craigsol » Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:59 pm

You applied then and have already heard? I applied back in December and havent heard boo.

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brizz9
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby brizz9 » Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:01 pm

I applied the first week in January and was accepted on the 26th of January.

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JiminyCricket
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby JiminyCricket » Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:04 pm

I wasn't expecting it so soon...they never sent me one of those emails telling me my file was complete and I thought my numbers were kinda borderline for them. I'm just waiting on any scholarship info...keeping my fingers crossed!

craigsol
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby craigsol » Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:12 pm

what were your numbers cricket?

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JiminyCricket
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby JiminyCricket » Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:16 pm

I had 3.49 UGRAD GPA and 160 LSAT. I had lots of soft factors and I'm also a masters student (which I will be done with 11/08).
Last edited by JiminyCricket on Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

craigsol
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby craigsol » Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:16 pm

I dont think those are super boarder line numbers for San Deigo, but congrats!!

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JiminyCricket
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby JiminyCricket » Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:19 pm

really? I heard there average lsats like a 164? Do you think my numbers have scholarship potential? The tuition there would be kinda unaffordable for me otherwise...my masters wasn't cheap :(

hurley325
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby hurley325 » Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:25 pm

The numbers on USD's website are for admitted students, not matriculating students like you see on the LSAC website. Looking at LSN, it looks like they accept just about anybody with a 3.0/160+

craigsol
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby craigsol » Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:29 pm

You coudl most defiently get some cash out of it!

json
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Re: University of San Diego School of Law

Postby json » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:34 pm

I am seriously considering USD....can someone explain how this:

"The one aspect that students (and faculty) do not necessarily like at USD Law School is the grading system. All grading is done on an asymmetrical bell curve, basically a 74 – 93 scale, which is not normal for ABA approved schools. The curve is adjusted for 1Ls, accounting for the fact that they are new to the law school system. However, even this system of adjusting does not always work and around 10% of entering 1st years are failed out of the school. This only makes competition more fierce and forced among students. Another source of competition comes from the fact that many of its students want to do law review, being that USD Law School has one of the higher ranked law reviews in the nation. "

is different from a traditional grading scale?




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