Self-Guided Walking Tour

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Welcome to USC Gould School of Law! We are excited that you have decided to stop by for a glimpse of what makes us such a dynamic place to study law. Choosing a law school can be a daunting project, and one of the most important decisions you will make. Finding the right fit should be your goal. Sitting in on a class, taking a tour with one of our Admissions Ambassadors, attending an information session, and speaking with current students and staff, are invaluable ways to better equip yourself in making that decision.

As you exit the Office of Admissions and turn right, you will find the Office of Student Affairs, located in Room 104. Within the Office of Student Affairs, you will find:

  • Financial Aid
  • Registrar
  • Academic Support Program
  • Dean of Students
  • Peer Mentorship Program
  • Office of Public Service

The Academic Support Program is designed to help students succeed in law school. They provide a variety of resources to assist all students as they learn how to study law, and support students seeking to improve their academic performance. Workshops such as Case Reading and Note-taking, Outlining and Synthesis, and Exam-taking strategies are offered during the fall and spring semester. They also offer online and written resources, as well as individual counseling.

The Peer Mentor Program facilitates the transition of incoming law students through trusting and guided interactions with second year students at the onset of the first-year experience. Mentors assist with this transition by making new students feel welcomed, connecting them with their new environment, and guiding them to social and developmental resources so that all entering students can become an integral part of the law school community. Students will meet with their Peer Mentor on an on-going basis during the first year.

USC Law's Office of Public Service (OPS) supports all student-driven service projects. The OPS also coordinates public-service externships. Approximately 100 students annually earn academic credit and develop their advocacy skills while working for public interest organizations, government agencies, and judges. There are many ways to get involved in public interest projects while studying at USC Law. For example, Legal Aid Alternative Breaks (LAAB) sponsors spring break trips to hurricane-ravaged areas of the Gulf Coast, where students provide crucial legal services to residents working to rebuild their lives. Over the 2013 Winter Break, LAAB took several students to work at the Watsonville, CA Law Center, where they volunteered their time working with low-income members of a migrant farming community. Other student-led service projects include La Raza's Teen Court, a diversion program for first-time juvenile offenders in lieu of formal juvenile court proceedings, and Street Law a nationally recognized educational outreach program that teaches legal literacy to local high school students.

As you continue down the hall, you will arrive at the Graduate and International Program Office in Room 105. Within this office you will find five study abroad programs:

  • The University of Hong Kong
  • Bocconi University in Milan, Italy
  • The University of Jean Moulin Lyon in Lyon, France
  • Bond University in Queensland, Australia
  • Fundacao Gentulio Vargas University in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Students have the opportunity to spend one semester abroad in the fall or spring of their 2nd year, or the fall of their 3rd year. The process tends to be quite competitive. Between 15-30 students apply each year, with approximately 2-3 spaces in each university. Information sessions are held each fall for current J.D. students on the study abroad opportunities available through USC.

The Graduate and International Program also offers various law programs for international students who are pursuing a further degree in the United States. The programs offered include the Masters of Law (L.L.M.), Master of Comparative Law (M.C.L), Summer Law and English, the Visiting International Program for Lawyers, and a specialized online LL.M. program. Those pursuing the LL.M. degree may also complete the Business Law Certificate should they choose to do so. All students who are accepted into the program have received their law degree outside the U.S.

J.D. students and international LL.M. students gather each semester as a part of our J.D. & LL.M. Partnership Program. Our International Law and Relations Student organization organized the program which highlights the intersection of culture and law at USC Gould. The goal of the partnership program is to promote a sense of community among our diverse student body at the law school. J.D. and LL.M. students are divided into partnerships based on common interests, and the groups become a support network throughout the school year.

USC GLOBAL INITIATIVES

  • USC is a global university, and America's leader in international education.
  • USC has the largest number of international students of any U.S. university, and a worldwide alumni network.
  • USC has offices in Brazil, China - Beijing and Shanghai, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Mexico, and Taiwan.
  • USC hosts Global conferences worldwide with our next conference in Shanghai in Fall 2015.
  • USC prepares students to thrive in the global marketplace.

As you head north, you will pass the Ackerman Courtroom on your right. The courtroom, a state-of-the-art classroom/courtroom, hosts Moot Court Competitions, USC Law School lectures, lunch-seminars with legal, government and business industry experts, and other special events for web casting, recording or video teleconferencing. In addition, the California Court of Appeals listens to oral arguments here each spring.

After passing the Ackerman Courtroom, you will turn right at the hallway. Continue straight ahead, and at the end of the hall, you will find the Career Services Office in Room 110. Starting November 1st of your first year, the Career Services Office will offer the following resources:

  • Counseling
  • Alumni Mock Interview Program
  • Career skills workshops
  • Panel discussions and guest speakers
  • Fall and Spring On Campus Interview Programs as well as NY and DC Off Campus Interview Programs
  • Online Job Postings
  • Networking receptions - Small Law Firms
  • Judicial Clerkship support

During the month of November, the CSO staff meets with every first year student to learn about their career interests. From there, they start to strategize employment opportunities.

As you return to the east lobby, continue straight ahead (west) down the hall. When you arrive at the west lobby, you will see a set of stairs leading down on the right; this will lead to the Lower Level which includes the following:

  • Classrooms
  • The Law School Cafe
  • Some student organization offices such as the Student Bar Association and the Public Interest Law Foundation

When you reach the bottom of the stairs, if you turn left, you will pass some student organization offices and smaller classrooms. As you round the corner to your right, you will see the Law School Cafe on your left, and Room 7 on your right. There are three large classrooms on the lower level where most 1L's have their classes: Room 1, Room 3, and Room 7. If you continue past Room 7, you will reach the elevator; take it to the 2nd floor. When you step off of the elevator, you will be in the Gabriel and Matilda Barnett Information Technology Center and The Asa V. Call Law Library. The Law Library has over 380,000 volumes and is open to all USC students, faculty and staff.

As you walk down the hall, you will pass the Lincoln Room on your left. The collection, which houses a trove of rare books, family portraits, campaign memorabilia and other artifacts honoring one of the nation's most revered presidents, was a gift from the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Foundation. As the nation celebrated the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth in February 2009, the law school offered the public a chance to examine its impressive collection of artifacts by offering tours of the reading room. For the region, law library officials believe the Lincoln artifacts to be second only to those of the Huntington library in San Marino.

Continue down the hallway to the entrance of the law library. As you pass the Service Counter, you will see research work stations on your left, and one of the reading rooms straight ahead. The path will lead you to the right where you will pass the Lexis Westlaw lab on the right, and the Journal sections on the left. Continuing down the hall, you will pass the Computer Lab on your right, followed by one of the computer classrooms. At this point, you can either continue straight ahead into another reading room, or turn right and follow the hall to the end where you will turn right again. You will pass three study rooms, which can be reserved at the Service Counter during the school year. As you pass by the Study Rooms, you will see the Campbell Lounge on your right. At the juncture of the hallway, turn right. This will bring you back to the main walkway in the Journal section where you will turn left and exit the library the same way you came in. To take a Virtual Tour of the Law Library, please visit our website at: http://weblaw.usc.edu/library/map/virtualtour.cfm.

During the summer, the law library has made the following facility improvements:

3rd Floor:

  • A new, small soft seating area has been added in the study table area. An additional phone charging station has also been added (there is another station on the 2nd floor, Campbell Lounge, as well as the Law Cafe).

Study Rooms:

  • New tables in all the 3rd Floor rooms & added a new table to Room 205D.
  • Technology: Added and enhanced technology in all study rooms.

2nd Floor Rooms:

  • Added touch screen computer monitor, 60" large screen monitor, microphone, speakers, camera, blue-ray drive (for playback of DVDs, CD, and blue-ray discs), wireless keyboard & mouse.
  • Computer applications: Windows 8.1, Google Apps real-time collaboration, Google Hangouts
  • Functions: video conferencing (using applications such as Skype); can project laptop to large monitor.

3rd Floor Rooms:

  • Added touch screen computer monitor, microphone, speakers, camera, blue-ray drive (for playback of DVDs, CD, and blue-ray discs), wireless keyboard & mouse.
  • Computer applications: Windows 8.1, Google Apps real-time collaboration, Google Hangouts.

Continuing out of the Law Library, you may either take the stairs to the 1st floor or return to the elevator and take it to the 1st floor. The Law School has two addition levels.

Third Level:

  • The Dean's Suite
  • The Legal Clinic Offices
  • The Law Review Office

CLINICAL PROGRAMS

We currently have 7 clinics which are open to students in their 2nd year. Each clinic takes in approximately 8-16 students per year, depending on the clinic. Students have the chance to work with actual clients that have been referred by various agencies. The clinical programs are as follows:

  • Small Business Clinic - The USC Law Small Business Clinic (SBC) provides basic corporate legal assistance to small businesses, entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations that cannot afford to pay market rates for legal services. The purpose of the SBC is to give students hands-on experience handling transactional legal problems while providing assistance to small business owners in the greater Los Angeles area. The SBC provides an opportunity for these businesses to implement legal protections and business structures available within our legal system and to obtain guidance in complying with a variety of legal requirements, even though many of these businesses are not able to afford the high costs of business legal services.
  • Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic - The Intellectual Property & Technology Law Clinic provides law students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in cutting-edge issues in the intellectual property and technology field, from patent and copyright to privacy and free speech on the internet. In the IP & Tech Clinic, clinic interns directly represent clients, practice professional responsibility, develop advocacy skills, and counsel on substantive and procedural matters relating to their projects. As the fields in intellectual property and technology are wide-ranging, so are the multitude of projects the clinic takes on. Current projects include: fair use analysis for documentary filmmakers, analysis of intellectual property law for individuals and institutions in the developing world, an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court regarding patentable subject matter for a collection of mobile app developers, and research regarding reporter's privilege for lawyers and judicial entities. Recent past projects have included: a seminar on fair use documentary filmmakers, an amicus brief on educational fair use for professors, and comments with various regulatory agencies regarding patent law, orphan works and mass digitization, and implementation of new patent laws. The IP & Tech Clinic presents a unique combination of real world experience and exposure to the most pressing, dynamic, and challenging issues we face in the digital age. As such, students routinely report that the Clinic was their best experience in law school.
  • Mediation Clinic - The Mediation Clinic was created by Professor Lisa Klerman to give students hands on experience with what many view as the essential task of lawyering - helping people solve problems creatively, effectively, and efficiently. In the Mediation Clinic, students learn the dispute resolution skills required to become professional mediators. By the end of the semester, they will have applied and developed these skills by mediating six or more Los Angeles County Superior Court cases. Unlike traditional litigation clinics where students learn to use the law to advocate for one side in a dispute, as mediators, the students do not represent one side or the other. Instead, they are third party neutrals who act as facilitators to help the parties craft a resolution to their lawsuit. USC Gould School of Law was recently selected by the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council's Alternative Dispute Resolution committee as the winner of the 2011 ADR Award. The award recognizes institutions that have advanced alternative dispute resolution scholarship and teaching.
  • Immigration Clinic - Students in the Immigration clinic provide pro bono representation to clients in a variety of immigration cases including asylum, applications for relief under the Violence Against Women Act, and other applications for relief from removal. Many of the clients who are seeking asylum are victims of torture, including rape and other forms of severe violence. In some cases, the client's life or freedom is at stake. Asylum cases comprise the majority of the Immigration Clinic's docket of 80-90 open cases. Currently the clinic is representing clients from over 25 different countries. Most come from Africa; others are from Mexico, the Middle East, Europe and South and Central America.
  • International Human Rights Law Clinic - The International Human Rights Clinic gives students the opportunity to work on projects and cases, both local and international, which confront the most pressing human rights concerns of our day. Under the supervision of Clinic Director Professor Hannah Garry, students seek justice on behalf of victims, hold perpetrators of serious human rights abuses accountable and work towards progressive development of the law. Through this experience, students acquire knowledge and skills for effective international lawyering and human rights advocacy while supporting the critical work of human rights advocates and organizations worldwide. The clinic has added a variety of domestic work to its legal docket, including representing human trafficking survivors, working with the U.S. Department of Justice and providing legal analysis for a Supreme Court case. It is also expanding its global reach through a new partnership with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon--the first to try terrorism as an international crime and the first with respect to the Middle East. Clinic students work on cases involving some of history's worst international crimes: the Cambodian Killing Fields of the 1970s; the Rwandan genocide of 1994; and atrocities committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
  • Post-Conviction Justice Project - Students in the Post-Conviction Justice Project represent two classes of clients: 1) Inmates at the California Institution for Women (CIW) who are serving indeterminate life terms for first or second-degree murder and are eligible for parole, and 2) juvenile offenders sentenced to life-without-possibility-of-parole. For the inmates at CIW, the students handle parole hearings - they visit the client in prison to prepare her to testify at the hearing, they collect information favoring a grant of parole and file a written submission, and they conduct the hearing - including questioning, objections, and a closing argument. Students also litigate habeas petitions challenging denials of parole by the parole board and reversals of parole grants by the Governor where the denial/reversal is arbitrary and capricious in violation of due process. The Project has been on the forefront of the representation of survivors of domestic abuse whose crimes stemmed from the abuse prior to the time when expert testimony on intimate partner battering (formerly Battered Women's Syndrome) was admissible in court. For the Project's juvenile life-without-parole clients, students litigate petitions for writ of habeas corpus in state and federal courts seeking resentencing. These cases involve extensive case investigation, developing expert witnesses, and legal research and writing. The constitutionality of juvenile life without parole is a quickly evolving area of the law, and students have the unique opportunity to create law by working on these cases. The Project is also involved in juvenile justice advocacy at the state legislative level. This advocacy work paid off in 2012 when Governor Brown signed into law the clinic-driven SB9, codified at Penal Code Section 1170(d)(2) that allows most inmates serving juvenile life without parole to petition the court for a resentencing hearing. Clinical students perform extensive investigations into the backgrounds of these clients (interviewing clients, interviewing family and friends, collecting relevant documents) to present at resentencing hearings. To see the most recent PCJP win, please click here.
  • USC Housing Clinic - The USC Housing Clinic provides professional training in housing discrimination law, local affordable housing issues, and landlord/tenant dispute resolution. Students enrolled in the clinic provide legal representation to affordable housing tenants under the direction of a supervising attorney. The clinic's client services may include housing information services, legal services and social services referrals, free tenant representation in administrative hearings, and landlord-tenant litigation services. Clinic caseload is limited to matters selected by supervising attorneys as appropriate for law student training, consistent with available clinic capacity, meeting the purposes of the housing clinic. Clients are seen by appointment only.
  • The Law Review is open to students starting in their 2nd year. Approximately 35 positions are available, and staff members are selected on the basis of academic achievement during their first year, as well as their performance in the Write-On, a writing competition that takes place after the end of the first year. Their grades are weighted against their Write-On scores to form a composite score, and the students with the highest composite scores are invited to join the staff. The write-on competition is generally held the first two weeks following the end of each academic year.

    The law school hosts 3 journals:

    The Southern California Law Review strives to publish articles on a wide range of topics and to serve all segments of the legal community. They publish one volume produced as six separate issues between November and September. Each issue contains several articles written by outside contributors, in addition to notes written by Southern California Law Review staff members.

    The Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal has a commitment to an interdisciplinary approach to legal scholarship. The issues reflect the relationship between law and various other disciplines, including the social and physical sciences, philosophy, economics, business, and the arts. They publish 3 issues each academic year with articles and student notes.

    The Southern California Review of Law & Social Justice promotes the discussion and examination of issues lying at the intersection of social justice and the law. It publishes legal narratives and analyses of case law and legislation that address the law's instrument of positive social change.

    Fourth Level:

    • Faculty Offices

    At USC Law, we have a dedicated group of distinguished faculty ready to support, challenge, and guide you. We have 42 full-time faculty and more than 75 adjuncts and lectures with legal expertise in a variety of areas, including politics, intellectual property, entertainment, international, business, and ethics and tort reform. The interdisciplinary focus is strengthened by these faculty members, many of whom hold doctorates in other fields. Current faculty who have received grants, appointments, and have been recently published include:

    Professor Daria Roithmayr
    "Reproducing Racism: How Everyday Choices Lock In White Advantage" (January 2014) by NYU Press.

    Professor Edward Kleinbard
    "We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money" (October 2014) by Oxford University Press.

    Professor Dan Simon
    "In Doubt: The Psychology of the Criminal Justice Process" (June 2012) by Harvard University Press.

    We are glad you decided to take the self-guided tour, and look forward to seeing you soon! Whether you are local or just visiting, we encourage you to schedule a class visit, or Information Session (offered in the fall). If we can answer any questions, please stop by the office before leaving, or contact us at (213) 740-2523, or via email at: admissions@law.usc.edu.

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