Southwestern Law

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
vvoc
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby vvoc » Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:27 pm

so I gather you're a big fan of Southwestern. I'm glad to hear positive things about it, but which would you recommend to a current applicant: Part-time student at Loyola or Full-time student at Southwestern?

which do you think would have better job prospects eventually? do the part-time programs even affect your future job prospects? thanks!

articulably suspect
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby articulably suspect » Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:13 pm

vvoc wrote:so I gather you're a big fan of Southwestern. I'm glad to hear positive things about it, but which would you recommend to a current applicant: Part-time student at Loyola or Full-time student at Southwestern?

which do you think would have better job prospects eventually? do the part-time programs even affect your future job prospects? thanks!


pt vs ft, doesnt really matter much in terms of job prospects, you have access to the same opportunities as the ft students. I would probably go loyola over sw, unless money is an issue and you got a lot of it from sw and not loyola.

Danteshek
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby Danteshek » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:02 pm

vvoc wrote:so I gather you're a big fan of Southwestern. I'm glad to hear positive things about it, but which would you recommend to a current applicant: Part-time student at Loyola or Full-time student at Southwestern?

which do you think would have better job prospects eventually? do the part-time programs even affect your future job prospects? thanks!


You'll get a lot more out of a full time program. Unless you have a great, high paying job relevant to your future law career, I'd recommend you go full time rather than part time. For one, you can do an externship 1 year sooner. There are more opportunities to become involved in the school as a full time student. Don't rely on rankings when making this decision. Go where you think you'll be more successful as a student.

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DannyJames
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby DannyJames » Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:02 pm

i just applied to Southwestern last week, and i have to say this thread actually has given me some solid insight to consider. Thanks to everyone and their opinions, one way or another :mrgreen:

Danteshek
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby Danteshek » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:29 pm

I'm glad I could help. Let me know if you have any further questions about Southwestern.

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Duralex
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby Duralex » Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:19 am

Just wanted to put this out there, as I've recently taken the time to ask around about this personally:

SW and LLS are both very strong choices if you want to practice in the LA area. I've been told quite explicitly by hiring partners at LA law firms that in today's market you're probably better off in terms of personal networking and post-graduate employment (outside of Biglaw) at either SW or LLS than you would be at UCLA or USC. Their grads make more in terms of raw averages, but that can be misleading. People tend to think that SW means the least money, but of all the attorneys in my parents milieu I'm pretty sure that the one (or one of the ones) currently making the most money (near or over 1M a year, I'm fairly confident) attended SW. The group includes multiple UCLA grads, and LLS grads.

You will also graduate from either LLS or SW with more readiness to actually practice law than UCLA or USC. Both LLS and SW have very strong skills programs with approachable professors.

That said, if I got into UCLA I'd probably go. But if you are outside of the window for UCLA/USC and a 'strong consider' for LLS/SW I would suggest you consider feeling good about it!

imtanesn
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby imtanesn » Sat Dec 19, 2009 4:20 am

Hi,

I'm new to this forum and I was wondering if anyone can help me with some questions regarding the SCALE program at southwestern. I have an interview for SCALE on January 11th. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on the types of questions to ask. Also does anyone know what kinds of questions they ask in the interview? I'm a little hesitant about the SCALE program because I am a younger student going straight from college, however I'm very mature and dedicated, so I don't know what type of crowd would be better for me. And if I change my mind about SCALE, how do I know if I got into the day program? Is the invitation for an interview enough of an indicator? I'm scared to tell them if I changed my mind because I'm afraid they will think I'm indecisive and not accept me into either program. Also, if I get in how do I ask for a scholarship without being rude? can I ask during the interview? I got a scholarship letter from Whittier that I could show them but I don't know if that's a good enough school to compare. I'm sorry for all the questions I'm just really nervous/excited about all this. Any help would be greatly appreciated :)

Thanks

Danteshek
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby Danteshek » Sat Dec 19, 2009 7:10 am

imtanesn wrote:Hi,

I'm new to this forum and I was wondering if anyone can help me with some questions regarding the SCALE program at southwestern. I have an interview for SCALE on January 11th. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on the types of questions to ask. Also does anyone know what kinds of questions they ask in the interview? I'm a little hesitant about the SCALE program because I am a younger student going straight from college, however I'm very mature and dedicated, so I don't know what type of crowd would be better for me. And if I change my mind about SCALE, how do I know if I got into the day program? Is the invitation for an interview enough of an indicator? I'm scared to tell them if I changed my mind because I'm afraid they will think I'm indecisive and not accept me into either program. Also, if I get in how do I ask for a scholarship without being rude? can I ask during the interview? I got a scholarship letter from Whittier that I could show them but I don't know if that's a good enough school to compare. I'm sorry for all the questions I'm just really nervous/excited about all this. Any help would be greatly appreciated :)

Thanks



I changed my mind about SCALE at the last minute and decided to do the day program instead. I decided that I wanted more flexibility in course selection and more time to be involved in school activities and externships.

SCALE is really intense. It's not for everyone. It's only 2 years and involves a very different kind of pedagogy. You are in class from 9 AM to 5 PM four days a week. You have a lot less time to master material. Exams will come up on you very quickly. If you screw up in the first two months, there's no time to recover.

The interview will just be a "fit" interview for Prof. Rolnick to determine if you are right for the program. How do you handle stress? Do you really want to do SCALE? You also want to make the right decision about which program to join. It would be a shame for you to start SCALE and get totally overwhelmed and as a result get poor grades.

About a scholarship: if you are black or latino, and have good numbers, or in the alternative have really good numbers (well above the 75% for both GPA and LSAT), you will probably be offered a scholarship. However, most of the money is doled out after the first year to students who have distinguished themselves academically. This is how it should be. Finish in the top 10% in the first year and the rest of law school is free.

imtanesn
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby imtanesn » Sun Dec 20, 2009 4:09 am

Thank you for your help. After reading your response and talking it over with family I decided it is probably best for me to do the three year program. I emailed them to cancel my interview and application and explained why, but told them I'm still interested in the day program. Do you think this could affect my admission into the day program?

Thanks Again! :)

Danteshek
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby Danteshek » Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:17 am

imtanesn wrote:Thank you for your help. After reading your response and talking it over with family I decided it is probably best for me to do the three year program. I emailed them to cancel my interview and application and explained why, but told them I'm still interested in the day program. Do you think this could affect my admission into the day program?

Thanks Again! :)


I'm glad I could help. I don't think it will affect your chances. Good luck.

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monkeyboy
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby monkeyboy » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:13 am

Would Southwestern be a good choice for those interested in pursuing a career in entertainment law?

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chango
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby chango » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:41 am

Southwestern's bar passage rate worries me.

Danteshek
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby Danteshek » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:20 pm

chango wrote:Southwestern's bar passage rate worries me.


This is the memo the vice dean sent out regarding bar passage.

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/21089514/Me ... -2009-Exam

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chango
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby chango » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:05 pm

Thanks for your prompt reply Danteshek,

Okay, so SWL students are more likely to pass the bar if they take a SWL sponsored prep class.

But almost ALL law schools offer bar prep courses, so presumably their bar passage rates reflect this?

Doesn't explain why SWL bar passage rate compares unfavorably to other law schools, unless we're to understand that SWL students are less likely to take a bar prep course than students at other law schools? But then, that raises the question why SWL students are so comparatively unmotivated.

I guess what I'm after is YOUR explanation on why SWL bar passage rate is somewhat troubling.

Oh, and for the record, I am a prospective SWL student.

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ruleser
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby ruleser » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:12 pm

I would agree that Southwestern doesn't quite fit the T4 mold, and is a pretty nice feeling campus. It is not a T2 as it has minimal placement at top firms, but there is some as OP said. But there are tons of Southwestern alum working around LA, and the ones I talk to are pretty happy with their careers (small to midsize firms/private practice). I wouldn't cross the country to come do SW, but if I were out here or certain I wanted LA, and couldn't get T18 or Loyola, I'd take SW - I'd take it over Pepperdine personally.

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chango
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby chango » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:33 pm

I'm not applying to Pepperdine. Even if it were ranked better than Loyola.

No way do I want to be stuck in Malibu, and stuck I'd be, given the traffic on PCH.


But that's just me: I have a house in Pasadena, and don't want to move. For someone moving regardless, Pepperdine would be an option.

Danteshek
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby Danteshek » Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:12 pm

chango wrote:Thanks for your prompt reply Danteshek,

Okay, so SWL students are more likely to pass the bar if they take a SWL sponsored prep class.

But almost ALL law schools offer bar prep courses, so presumably their bar passage rates reflect this?

Doesn't explain why SWL bar passage rate compares unfavorably to other law schools, unless we're to understand that SWL students are less likely to take a bar prep course than students at other law schools? But then, that raises the question why SWL students are so comparatively unmotivated.

I guess what I'm after is YOUR explanation on why SWL bar passage rate is somewhat troubling.

Oh, and for the record, I am a prospective SWL student.


I think you are confusing commercial bar courses that all 3Ls all over the country take (Bar Bri etc) with Southwestern Bar Exam Resources (Bar Advantage and Selected Topics in American Law). The later did not exist at Southwestern until very recently. This is an effort to help low ranking Southwestern students pass the bar. As you saw in the memo statistics, Southwestern students in the top half of the class don't have much trouble passing the bar. I don't think many schools have similar resources specifically aimed at struggling students. Southwestern is very focused on raising the bar passage rate. I do not think enough time has passed to really see the results reflected meaningfully in the overall bar passage rate.

Now, this brings me to why I think the bar passage rate has been low historically. The following is just an educated guess.

First, SW made a strategic decision about 15 years ago to reduce the size of the student body and fail fewer people out. In the old days SW had over 1,500 students (50% bigger than now) and would let about 30% of 1Ls go after the 3rd year (a la Whittier). Southwestern was the "opportunity" school and admissions were lax. The theory behind the decision to fail fewer people out (and adjust the 1L curve from 2.3 to 2.9) was that SW administrators thought SW was getting stronger students (perhaps due to smaller student body and more selectivity in admissions) than before and hence there was not the need to fail as many people out. I don't know whether the quality of the students actually improved overall. In any case, this idea may have led to some complacency in the administration regarding bar passage rates (which probably existed earlier than 15 years ago). As I said earlier, the programs that now exist at Southwestern to help students in the lower 50% of the class pass the bar were recently established (last year or two years ago I think) and did not exist then. The new Dean (Garth) is a recognized expert in the field of legal education and is a bit of a statistics nerd. He is doing everything he can to improve the pass rate.

Second, Southwestern was founded to cater to women and minorities. Southwestern remains extremely diverse and tends to admit minorities in large numbers (who presumably don't have stellar numbers - I don't know though). Southwestern also admits a good number of people for whom English isn't their first language or who speak other languages at home. This tradition may have had an impact on bar pass rates. I have nothing to back this assertion - it's just a hunch I have (and perhaps a racist hunch). I suppose this can also cut both ways. Southwestern also has many more non traditional students (older people etc) who are presumably more mature, better students than the typical 22 year old, and thus more likely to pass the bar.

Third, at Southwestern, just like any similarly rated school, there is a large gap between the "smartest" and the "dumbest" students. The smart students are smart, believe me. They can compete with anybody, USC and UCLA included. The "dumb" kids really bring down the passage rate. Again, take a look at the bar passage rates broken down by class rank. It is very revealing. I think the top 20% passed at a 99% or 98% and the 20-40% cohort also did very well. I can also personally attest to the difference between the best and the worst at Southwestern. I have friends who are flat out brilliant. I have other friends I wouldn't recommend for positions.

Fourth, the previous Dean of Southwestern, Leigh Taylor, who was dean for 25 year before Dean Garth came aboard in 2005, was by most accounts terrible. I think Southwestern was mismanaged for a long time and this affected bar passage rates. Southwestern's reputation was severely hampered for a long time because the faculty was mainly a teaching faculty, and not a scholarly faculty. Dean Garth has instituted changes to make the faculty more respected in academia. Southwestern has hired a number of great young faculty members in the last 2-3 years, and more are coming on board each year.

I hope this helps.
Last edited by Danteshek on Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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chango
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby chango » Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:33 pm

Wow. Nicely argued.


Given my low LSAT score, my choice will probably be between Southwestern or nowhere. So your reply has definitely put my mind at ease.

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GATORTIM
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby GATORTIM » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:24 pm

chango wrote:Wow. Nicely argued.


Given my low LSAT score, my choice will probably be between Southwestern or nowhere. So your reply has definitely put my mind at ease.


I think you have a good shot at Loyola

Danteshek
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby Danteshek » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:30 pm

GATORTIM wrote:
chango wrote:Wow. Nicely argued.


Given my low LSAT score, my choice will probably be between Southwestern or nowhere. So your reply has definitely put my mind at ease.


I think you have a good shot at Loyola


Agreed. Maybe even Hastings/Davis with that stellar GPA.

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chango
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby chango » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:17 am

I want to stay in SoCal, so that really limits my options. Pepperdine, perhaps, but the thought of living on the Westside and dealing with PCH gives me the howling fantods. Ditto Orange County and Chapman. Moreover, being gay, I'm pretty sure Pepperdine isn't the best match

I figure I have about a 2 in 3 chance of getting into Loyola, but unless this year's 20% (or so) increase in applications dickies with the stats, Southwestern should be a shoe in.

usrname4
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby usrname4 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:34 am

WOW, you did a wonderful thing here "Danteshek," great job on informing people about the school. My question is, how liberal (or conservative) is Southwestern with scholarships for entering students? And typically when are admitted students notified of any offer?

Danteshek
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby Danteshek » Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:55 am

usrname4 wrote:WOW, you did a wonderful thing here "Danteshek," great job on informing people about the school. My question is, how liberal (or conservative) is Southwestern with scholarships for entering students? And typically when are admitted students notified of any offer?


Southwestern does give out some major scholarships at entry - about 40 to 50 out of approximately 300 entering students every year. They are the Schumacher and Wildman scholarships.

The Wildman award is based on a combination of academic factors. GPA has to be in the B+/A- range and the LSAT probably has to be 160 or higher.

The Schumacher is a little different with the academic requirements relaxed slightly (GPA needs to be above 3.0) but with other considerations such as leadership and (perhaps) minority status. LSAT for Schumacher probably also has to be 160 or higher. The name of the scholarship after all is the Schumacher Minority Leadership Scholarship Program. However, I know two latino students who got half scholarships with 155 LSAT scores.

Nevertheless Southwestern says on its website that they consider all accepted scholarship students for both these programs. I do not know whether being Asian counts for anything, but it probably doesn't. Southwestern has a large number of minorities of all stripes so I don't think minorities necessarily get the same boost as they would get at a school with requirements so high they have trouble attracting minorities.

usrname4
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby usrname4 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:58 am

Thanks for the info. I recently was admitted, and was just wondering what are my chances for getting some scholarship? I have a 3.5 GPA and my LSAT was 155. Do you think they'll send a few bucks towards my way? or is it one of those things where they either they give you a large amount or none? I also consider myself a minority, however, schools probably see me as "Caucasian."

Thanks again! :D

Danteshek
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Re: Southwestern Law

Postby Danteshek » Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:24 am

usrname4 wrote:Thanks for the info. I recently was admitted, and was just wondering what are my chances for getting some scholarship? I have a 3.5 GPA and my LSAT was 155. Do you think they'll send a few bucks towards my way? or is it one of those things where they either they give you a large amount or none? I also consider myself a minority, however, schools probably see me as "Caucasian."

Thanks again! :D


Unlikely. Congratulations on getting in. Sometimes they give half scholarships to URMs when the numbers aren't quite where they need to be to qualify for the full ride.




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