USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

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whodis
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USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby whodis » Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:48 am

Hi everyone,

I just finished exams and I thought I would answer any questions you have about USC Law. These threads were very helpful when I was choosing a law school so I thought it would be nice to return the favor.

Ask away!

CanadianWolf
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:46 am

Why did you select USC law & what were your other choices ?

whodis
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby whodis » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:34 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Why did you select USC law & what were your other choices ?


My other main choices were UMN, GWU, and Vanderbilt. After visiting the schools, I had narrowed it down to Vanderbilt and USC. I really wanted the small class sizes that Vandy and SC offer. The scholarship money from the two schools was about equal when I factored in cost of living. Growing up in So. Cal., I knew how powerful the Trojan network was there and after deciding that I didn't have any interest in living elsewhere in the country, I chose SC.

TheVassarBro
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby TheVassarBro » Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:49 pm

Have you had experienced the power of the Trojan network already? Like general responses in conversation about attending SC law?
How are the law students relative to the ug population?
Where do you live relative to campus?
What is your average day like?

pdeturk
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby pdeturk » Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:52 pm

Were you invited to apply for the Rothman? ANd if so (and you didn't get it), what kind of a scholarship deal did you end up with? Guaranteed SA?

whodis
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby whodis » Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:24 pm

TheVassarBro wrote:Have you had experienced the power of the Trojan network already? Like general responses in conversation about attending SC law?
How are the law students relative to the ug population?
Where do you live relative to campus?
What is your average day like?


Yes, I have had some experience with the network but not a huge amount. Throughout LA and Orange County, if you're wearing any SC attire, you will always get "fight on." While I was in a Starbucks, an old guy wearing a lot of SC stuff came up to me and was very interested in what I was studying, etc. In that sense, you feel a lot of pride for your University and a sense of community. In terms of employment, 85% of USC Law grads stay in the LA area. In talking to 2L's, they say it is very helpful for getting job interviews and once they have the interview, Partners are very interested in reminiscing and finding out what's changed, etc. so the interviews are generally more comfortable and smooth. I suppose one other nice thing is that SC seems to be quite prestigious in the LA area. Although I doubt most people will have heard of SC outside of the west coast (except football fans), when you tell people you are at SC Law around here, they seem impressed. Based on what I've seen and heard, if you want to live and work in southern California, you should give SC a serious look. If you want to be somewhere else (including northern Cal, where you have to compete with Berkeley and Stanford), then you might want to look elsewhere (unless you get big $$$).

The law student population seems to be much more diverse than the undergrad population. USC is generally known as the University of Spoiled Children around here. Although, there are a lot of law students that went there for undergrad and they found the experience as very positive with a significant amount of diversity. In terms of tier one schools, I believe USC Law has one of the highest diversity rates, so that's really nice. Although the law school is on campus, I really haven't had much interaction with the undergrads, so I'm not sure I can give anymore information on that topic.

I live about 6 miles northwest of campus in Miracle Mile. I was really not looking forward to moving to LA, but I have to say that I have been pleasantly surprised. Everything is within a mile of my apartment. The Farmers Market, The Grove, Trader Joes, NBC Studios, The La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles County Museum of the Arts, etc. I have a studio apartment for $950 a month. Driving in LA is HORRIBLE. I hate it, period. USC started offering semester metro passes for about $30 so I have been taking the bus to school which works pretty well. I also get rides from friends who live in the area. The bus takes about 45 minutes (with walking time). Driving takes about 25 minutes. There is law student housing about a 10 minute walk from campus. Younger students generally live there and I have generally heard good things. If you are from out of town, it is a great way to make friends right away. On the other hand, the area is pretty bad and the stress gets pretty crazy over there during finals. One thing to consider is that being closer to the school makes it much easier to stay in the library and study. I hated spending all day at the law school and then taking the bus home really late so I would generally go home after class and then I would have a hard time being productive.

A typical day from last semester would go as follows:
Wake up at 7:30am and get ready.
Classes would vary: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday class would start at 9:20am and end at either 2:40pm or 3:40pm. Thursday and Friday would start at 10am and go until 2:40pm.
After that, I would go home and read for the next day. My section had a really bad schedule though. The other section's had Fridays off and generally a much better schedule. This semester, we will have Fridays off (which our student reps had to fight for).
The work load did not seem bad for the first month of the semester. In fact, I remember telling myself that I expected more work. As the semester progressed however and the writing assignments became due, the work load became pretty crazy. Of course as finals approached, everything became very stressful and you just want it to end.

One thing I have to say though is that my classmates and professors were unbelievably supportive, friendly, and just wonderful. You hear about all of the horror stories of competitive law students and gunners and I really found most of that to be nonexistent at USC. Of course there is competition but it is not at the expense of throwing your fellow students under the bus. Classmates were more than willing to share notes, outlines, take time to talk about personal problems, and on and on. Furthermore, there is a great support system in the form of Assist tutors who are top 10% students that you can set up appointments with throughout the semester to discuss case briefing, outlining, exams, etc. Your small section (about 12 students) is also assigned two peer mentors (2Ls) who are always there to talk to about employment and the law school experience in general. Professors are also always willing to meet and talk and they have lunches with small groups of students throughout the semester. We also went to a professor's house for a picnic one weekend. Another professor also invited those students who couldn't be with their families for Thanksgiving to his home for the holiday. A couple of our professors even shed a tear when giving their last day of class speeches. It was really amazing to see how much the professors and school in general care about the wellbeing and success of their students.

whodis
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby whodis » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:57 pm

pdeturk wrote:Were you invited to apply for the Rothman? ANd if so (and you didn't get it), what kind of a scholarship deal did you end up with? Guaranteed SA?


Yes, I was invited to apply for the Rothman, but I didn't apply for it (i'm not exactly sure why). I ended up with $60k no stipulations (which SC never has). I really should have negotiated for more. Based on the 2013 statistics, I was happy to get that (I was median LSAT/75% gpa) but as it turns out the 2014 stats fell quite a bit and my lsat ended up in the 75% because of the drop off in applications and I think I could have got $90k out of them. One thing about SC is that they don't give out scholarship awards until late in the season and by the time I had gotten mine (despite applying in Nov. and being accepted in Dec.) most of my competing awards had expired. This is something to look out for. I was not aware of the guaranteed SA positions, but a friend of mine did get one and they are offered outside of the Rothman, so that is something to look into as well.

TheVassarBro
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby TheVassarBro » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:48 am

Thanks for the time and effort, especially the info about late scholly offerings.

whodis
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby whodis » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:31 pm

TheVassarBro wrote:Thanks for the time and effort, especially the info about late scholly offerings.


No problem. If anyone else has any questions, feel free to ask.

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bigeast03
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby bigeast03 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:39 pm

Not sure if you can answer this question, but do you know how insular the LA market is? If I'm coming from New York, would it be difficult to convince firms that I want to stay? Thanks again for taking the time to answer these questions!

JJDancer
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby JJDancer » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:38 pm

Also a USC 1L willing to answer questions. TLS was amazing during the applications process though I haven't been on it much during 1L.

I can't comment on trying to break into the LA market (convincing them you'll stay) because I haven't applied for jobs yet.

I was invited to apply for the Rothman but did not, instead I negotiated my scholly up because I really wanted to be in LA and was able to leverage others. Did not hear about USC $ until April I think though.

USC Law is well-respected in the community and I think for the LA market UCLA/USC kind of 'rule.' I've had the chance to meet up and chat with alumni from the school working at top vault firms just because I'm a USC student - and the alumni are very nice and approachable!

I honestly almost never interact with the UG population except in line for food at the Tutor center occasionally. You generally hang out with your 60-70 person section unless you live in Terrace (1L housing) or are exceptionally social lol.
I know a lot of people who biked/walked to campus from the surrounding area but I personally did not feel incredibly comfortable in the surrounding area. Everyone is different though and the area is what you expect for an urban one.

My average day was like OP's. The first month I spent a lot of time reading - things took twice/3 times as long as they do now. But have fun during the first month before writing assignments pile on. Other sections had a more typical experience with almost no "homework" but my section had a lot of mini assignments that were good in that you got feedback about what the prof is looking for/am I getting this without it being graded (completion only).
In November I did not have time to go out to watch movies on the weekend etc. It was pretty intense. I spent a lot of days in the library whereas I had not spent any time in the library during aug/sept...

I live about 3-4 miles from campus in downtown (financial district). I like my building but downtown can be expensive. Nothing beats getting to school in 5 minutes especially when your section has early classes all week. But it does take me 15-20 minutes to drive back home unless I go home really late (which only happened in November but I am not a big library person).

I second what OP said about the people/profs in our section.

I got into a few places but my real choice was UCLA v. USC since I knew I wanted to be in LA. I chose USC because I liked the smaller school and just "felt" more at home when I visited. I also liked all the resources available through the alumni network and help during school (peer mentors/tutors/academic advisors) etc. And scholarship $ was more at USC.

Wyld Stallyns
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby Wyld Stallyns » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:38 pm

bigeast03 wrote:Not sure if you can answer this question, but do you know how insular the LA market is? If I'm coming from New York, would it be difficult to convince firms that I want to stay? Thanks again for taking the time to answer these questions!

USC 3L here- I'm from New York originally, too, and had little trouble convincing firms I wanted to stay in LA. It doesn't seem to be much of a problem because many people in LA came from somewhere else first. I also know a bunch of other 3L's from the east coast who had no problem with this issue, either, so I wouldn't worry about it. Good luck!

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topper10s
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby topper10s » Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:09 am

OP said that the school gives out scholarships late, like around April, but on the admitted students website I see you apply for scholarships. Did you still have to apply for scholarships but just waited a while to hear back, or is applying for merit scholarships a new thing?

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topper10s
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby topper10s » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:19 pm

Alright did some research and found out for myself that you need to fill out the forms so disregard my last post. I am curious about how viable commuting from Culver City would be without a car though.

protip
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby protip » Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:32 pm

topper10s wrote:Alright did some research and found out for myself that you need to fill out the forms so disregard my last post. I am curious about how viable commuting from Culver City would be without a car though.



Don't do this.

JJDancer
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby JJDancer » Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:22 pm

topper10s wrote:Alright did some research and found out for myself that you need to fill out the forms so disregard my last post. I am curious about how viable commuting from Culver City would be without a car though.


http://www.buildexpo.org/

But I would not hold my breath for this line to start because the opening has been delayed a year or two already...
But once it's up it seems like a good way to commute!

071816
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby 071816 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:27 pm

I'm a 1L. I'm down to answer questions about the law school if anyone has any. But I'd like to caution you that I'm a fairly useless human being.

protip
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby protip » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:37 pm

Culver expo is supposed to be open by the time 1l year starts next year i think. Risky move though. If it is open, culver city is pretty sweet.

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coldpixies
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby coldpixies » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:16 pm

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Last edited by coldpixies on Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

071816
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby 071816 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:57 am

coldpixies wrote:Would the commute from Culver City to campus be a hassle with a car? I HATE LA traffic so I'm a little weary living away from campus, but living near campus doesn't seem too appealing either.


Should be doable. It's only about 9 miles and if you want to avoid the freeway you can always just take side streets all the way to campus. I live about 10 miles from the law school and my commute isn't terrible. I try to avoid rush hour though.

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innernetp
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby innernetp » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:17 pm

Thanks for taking the time!

Any thoughts on living in mid-city? How about Los Feliz?

Has it been easy to make friends? I'm coming from afar...

Did finals go how you expected?

Any advice on problems/situations that you would not have anticipated?

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Stupendous_Man
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby Stupendous_Man » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:43 pm

I'm a 2L and I live in mid-city. It's great. It's not always the best area but it's far from the worst, and it's a short walk across Wilshire into Miracle Mile which is way nice. There's The Grove, bars, LACMA, etc. so a lot to do. It's also about half-way between the beach and school, so you have options. Expect about a 20 minute or so commute to school using surface roads door to door, so not bad, but if you go during traffic it could take 40.

I have friends in Los Feliz who I know are on here so maybe they'll chime in. I think it's a similar commute from the opposite direction (maybe a little farther). It's a nicer neighborhood and from what I've seen, a lot quieter. One thing you may want to think about though is that if you're looking to have a law-school-oriented social life, bar reviews alternate between being out west and downtown (which is also where most people live) so you'll have to really rally if you want to get to people from out east.

And it's very easy to make friends, you'll meet people you'll be friends with the rest of your life.

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innernetp
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby innernetp » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:56 pm

Thanks! Your posts last year helped me greatly in deciding on USC. Around when is traffic time? I could definitely do 20 door to door and mid-city sound pretty ideal, but would want to make sure I have gym time in the mornings.

Did you find your place in mid-city by word of mouth, craigslist, or some other agency? I'll be visiting the first week of April and am actually considering working with a realtor just because housing is really important to me.

Thanks again for the time.

Arelikefoxes
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby Arelikefoxes » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:04 am

Checking in. Glad to see that this is starting up again this year!

071816
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Re: USC 1L Taking Questions -- December 2011

Postby 071816 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:20 am

innernetp wrote:Any thoughts on living in mid-city? How about Los Feliz?

Not really. I live about 10 miles north of campus in the Glendale/Burbank area (which is slightly north of Los Feliz) and I never really considered the mid-city area when I was looking for housing, but I know people that live all over the place from Redondo Beach and Orange County to a few blocks from the law school. Whatever you choose, just know that traffic in L.A. can be pretty crazy between the hours of about 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m to around 7 p.m as well as other random times for no good reason. I haven't had any problems with my commute so far this year, but I'm pretty much used to the southern California traffic patterns because I've lived here all my life. Just something to be on the lookout for in your housing search.

innernetp wrote:Has it been easy to make friends? I'm coming from afar...

It's definitely been easy to make friends. You'll probably end up making friends with some section mates at first and then others later on down the line. There are a good amount of people who come here from out of state and they seem to be doing just fine on that front. After all, nobody really knows anybody at the beginning of 1L so we're all basically in the same boat. Essentially, if you put in some effort to be social with people you will end up making plenty of friends (just like in any other realm of life).

innernetp wrote:Did finals go how you expected?

Pretty much. I did my research before law school, so nothing really surprised me. I'm not going to speak about grades, but overall everything was fine. If you have any specific questions I'd be happy to answer them.

innernetp wrote:Any advice on problems/situations that you would not have anticipated?

Could you elaborate on this? Not really sure what you mean. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any major law school-related mishaps thus far.




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