Gould School of Law
Graduate School
University of Southern California

4.2 of 5 stars Average Student Rating (of 68 Student Reviews)

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5.0 of 5 stars

2011 | VERIFIED STUDENT


Academics

Some classes employ the Socratic method, others are problem method. Some teachers emphasize theory/policy, some emphasize practicality. There is a lot of academic support. Classes are small. The students are collaborative and not overly competitive. Grading is on a curve. Many professors have been teaching the classes for many years and are prominent in the field.


Quality of Life

There is a large range of housing options.Many first year students elect to live close to campus. The library has great hours and resources. There is a courtroom and three computer labs. I feel very safe on campus because there is a lot of security. Students are generally very happy.


Admissions

LSAT score, essays, application fee


Level

1L


Graduation Year

2013


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5.0 of 5 stars

2011 | VERIFIED STUDENT


Academics

USC offers the whole package. Incredible faculty, small class sizes, a well-balanced curriculum, a broad array of extracurricular and research opportunities, constant mentorship and academic advising, and a highly inquisitive and diverse student body that further enrich the academic experience.


Quality of Life

The facilities at USC are definitely well-loved. From the outside, the law school building is a Brutalist structure that doesn't do much on the eyes, but all of the classrooms are outfitted with the newest technology--I have been in in-class video conferences with speakers from abroad and can request class recordings whenever I'm out. Technology support at the law school is unlike anything I've experienced--the school employs several full-time tech support staff, and I actually had my laptop repaired for no charge. The library was recently renovated and has comfortable chairs for the many hours of studying you will be doing in law school. The community around SC, which is lower income, allows for many service opportunities. You can find any kind of entertainment or dining at or around USC--the wider campus community offers an array of opportunities, and downtown LA is a short trip up Figueroa.


Admissions

USC's admissions process is very smooth. While they do want a personal statement and an additional essay, both are very short and reasonable as compared to other schools that want a novel. In general, the application itself is very concise. I was notified of my acceptance almost immediately--within 2 weeks of applying--which I really appreciated considering the admissions process can be very stressful. The support from the admissions staff is great as well.


Level

2L


Graduation Year

2012


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5.0 of 5 stars

2011 | VERIFIED STUDENT


Academics

All of the students are very bright and engaged. Everyone is motivated to learn. That said, the environment is collegial, not competitive. People are friends and everyone is open. The faculty is extremely accessible - your teachers will know you by name, most will have you to their homes or do lunches with you, etc. Most 1L classes use Socratic method, but to varying degrees (tends to be more popular among older professors) and it definitely gets more relaxed 2nd semester of the 1L year. Strong emphasis on both theory and cases. Writing program is absolutely amazing - arguably the best at a top 20 school.


Quality of Life

Cost of living is typical for a large city, but better than NY. The campus is gorgeous. Libraries on campus are good, but not great. COmputer lab is great. Courtroom is great. Dining at the law school is okay, but lots of other options since the law school is actually on the main campus unlike some schools. Law school has its own security guards so it's safe and you park in a locked structure so your vehicle is safe as well. Everyone seems really happy - hard not to be happy in beautiful Southern California!


Admissions

Strong LSAT and GPA will get you in; if you are just okay on numbers, a great personal statement that is detailed and really gets at who you are will give you a good shot. if you have good numbers and a great persoanl statement, you'll probably get a good scholarship.


Level

1L


Graduation Year

2013


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4.8 of 5 stars

2011 | VERIFIED STUDENT


Quality of Life

LA is expensive, but you can't beat the culture, weather and nightlife, so it's worth it. I moved to LA from Michigan for law school not knowing what expect and now I'm here permanently, so I think that says a lot about the big picture. The campus is great, though the law school itself leaves something to be desired. Supposedly the school is working on a plan to build a new joint business/law school in the near future. The library, moot court room and cafe are brand new though.


Level

3L


Graduation Year

2011


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4.7 of 5 stars

2011 | VERIFIED STUDENT


Academics

Classes tend to be small, and most faculty are very good (if a little bit quirky). I did not do very well in my first year, so I have been working with the Academic Support people who are terrific. Already my performance has improved dramatically. I give a 10/A+ to the people working in Academic Support.


Admissions

People in the admissions office were very friendly and quite responsive. It was a pleasant surprise. Very welcoming.


Level

2L


Graduation Year

2012


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4.7 of 5 stars

2011 | VERIFIED STUDENT


Academics

Whether the class is theory based or practical, as well as the teaching method depends largely on the professor. When registering for classes students choose those professors who teach the courses in a way that works best for them. Classes are competitive because of the tough curve, but the competitiveness is largely restricted to academics and socially everyone is friendly and agreeable.
The grading system isn't great because of the curve, and unfortunately some of the 1L professors are the worst at the school. Some of the other 1L professors are the best, though, so it is largely luck as to which incoming professor you get. The entire grade for most classes is the final, and some of the worse professors are very arbitrary in their grading, which puts a lot of better students at a disadvantage for summer recruiting which is based almost entirely off of 1L grades.
Professors for the most part are accessible and friendly, and will generally go out of their way to help students. The more academic professors have offices on the 3rd and 4th floors of the building and are usually there for students to stop by.
USC also brings in a lot of partners from large law firms downtown to teach specialized classes, such as insurance, IBT, and others. They also bring in federal judges to teach some topics such as remedies.
The school is expanding their study abroad program, now law students are able to study in Britain, France, Italy, Australia, and Hong Kong, whereas previously it was only Britain and Hong Kong. The school has stated that they are trying to add more programs next year as well.


Quality of Life

The computer labs have been improved this past year and aren't bad, although it would be nice if they could throw in free printing given how much the school charges in tuition.
The law building itself is a little old, you can tell from the courtrooms, library, and other parts of the facility. That being said, it works and although old, it isn't bad.
USC is in the bad part of town. The area isn't great, but it has gotten better and USC is undertaking many projects to improve the area. They just built a huge apartment complex just north of campus with a bunch of restaurants and cafe type places that USC students like. Several new restaurants were also recently added right across the street from the law school.
Most students are fairly happy. School is of course stressful, but between bar review, hanging out with friends, and other law events we manage to have a life too.


Admissions

The application form and process is fairly standard among law schools. USC asks typical questions to be submitted along with your personal statement. They have a lot of online resources and information for incoming students, and are very friendly and helpful if you call their office with questions about your application.


Level

2L


Graduation Year

2012


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4.5 of 5 stars

2011 | VERIFIED STUDENT


Academics

The academics at our school are great. The professors are extremely accessible and helpful in working through the material. Class sizes are also smaller which is helpful for understanding and for participating. There is no cut-throat competitiveness. Most people are understanding and supportive of differing ideas and theories. Our faculty has great and differing experiences that are relevant to our classes. The workload is manageable. There are a lot of study abroad opportunities and they are growing.


Quality of Life

I think that USC has the best quality of life for a law school. The campus is lively and there is always an activity going on. The law school itself holds numerous social, charitable, and academic activities that are attending by most of the student body. The administration does not stand for the cut-throat competitive atmosphere that is found at many other law schools. In fact, members of the faculty actively work to keep the community that has developed at the law school. Everyone helps each other out and is genuinely nice and welcoming.


Admissions

The application process was pretty similar to other schools. There was not an extra essay. The school gives out a good amount of financial aid and there are some scholarship opportunities, but the financial aid office is extremely helpful in answering any questions or solving any problems.


Level

2L


Graduation Year

2012


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4.5 of 5 stars

2011 | VERIFIED STUDENT


Academics

Class sizes are great. Lots of opportunity for hands-on learning.


Quality of Life

People are all friendly and helpful. There are lots of fun areas to live around the school.


Admissions

Great scholarship opportunities.


Level

2L


Graduation Year

2012


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4.7 of 5 stars

2011 | VERIFIED STUDENT


Academics

First-year classes employ the Socratic method. There are lots of adjunct faculty members because the school is located in Los Angeles. This allows students to learn from successful practicing attorneys and judges, which is invaluable. The school also recently expanded its study abroad program.


Quality of Life

USC Law students live all over Los Angeles. I live in Downtown LA; it's an area that has lots of restaurants, bars, and a movie theater, plus it's close to school. Lots of students live on the Westside, closer to the water. Hardly anyone lives on campus. Even though people live all over LA, the student body is very close. We have Bar Reviews every week--all over LA--that are well attended.


Admissions

USC has a typical application. It has a special fellowship program which is unique among top law schools. A few incoming students receive an opportunity to work at a top law firm and business during the summer following their first year. This is what attracted me to the school.


Level

3L


Graduation Year

2011


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4.3 of 5 stars

2011 | VERIFIED STUDENT


Academics

My school offered a mix of practical and theoretical classes. With a definite social sense of a bias toward corporate law.


Quality of Life

N/A


Admissions

Standard Law school application. Financial Aid opportunities definitely existed.


Level

3L


Graduation Year

2011


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