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University of California, Irvine School of Law

Podcast Highlight:

Today’s featured law school is the University of California – Irvine. During the program you will hear from Erwin Chermerinsky, Dean of the law school, and Jenny Tryck, a second year student who has been with the school since the doors opened in 2009.

The University of California – Irvine’s inaugural class finished their first year at the school in May 2010. Since their start only a year ago, UCI Law has done everything they can to keep the prestige that other University of California campuses possess. Due to their youth, they are not yet able to receive ABA accreditation (a program must be in place for at least three years before it can be accredited), and thus aren’t ranked in the US News and World Report law school rankings. However, due to the large financial package given to UCI Law students, the program has become one of the most popular, and selective, law schools in the country. The inaugural class received full scholarships for their entire law school career while the students starting in 2010 are promised as least half of their tuition covered, and the financial aid promises for the 2011 class are not far behind.

Dean Chermerinsky says the benefit of going to UCI is being able to start on a blank slate, due to the brand-new nature of the school. In addition, the school approaches legal education a little differently than other schools: First year students must do intake interviews with current lawyers, and take part in legal clinics in order to graduate. He also says that each student is partnered with a local lawyer to shadow and get to know the business through the eyes of someone already taking part in it.

When it comes to getting accepted to the University of California – Irvine, Dean Chermerinsky says they obviously take the LSAT, GPA and letters of recommendation into consideration, but are also looking for someone who is interested in creating and becoming a part of something new. He also says students with an entrepreneurial spirit will do very well at his school. Finally, he says the quality of the education is great for UCI Law students: UCI Law’s professors excel at teaching, and over 75 law firms from across the country have promised to come and do on-campus interviews for UCI’s students.

Jenny Tryck, our student voice from the University of California – Irvine, says the best part of UCI is the community focus, and the campus’ collaborative environment. She also says students organizations are quickly building on campus, and discusses a large event students organized during the previous school year to raise money for students who were working in public service jobs over the summer. She says the support between the students and faculty is outstanding. Although she does warn that breaking ground on a new law school can be a risk, she emphasizes that UCI is a great environment to go to school and encourages potential law school applicants to come visit the campus and see if they feel the same way.

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