Yesterday, I was sitting out in the law school courtyard, as it was 75 degrees out. Yes, 75, in February. Someone interrupts me, and introduces himself saying that he was a new admit and wanted to talk about how I like law school. A minute in, a group of undergrad females in appropriate warm weather clothing walked by, and the admit was stunned, and I said that life could be worse. Seriously, though, I tried to give him a true picture of law school here, as it was only a year ago I was applying and deciding on where to go.
As a public service, I'm repeating here what I told him, to give any potential 0Ls an accurate picture of UCLAW.
In general, UCLA (and U$C) is a lot more laid back due to its location in Southern California than probably every other law school in the country. It's definitely a quality of life choice for many, having turned down higher ranked schools for UCLA due to the quality of life and the desire to practice on the West Coast. Because it is a public school and most of the students came from undergrad either here or at Cal, there's also a slight underdog mentality, which I tend to appreciate. And a lot of the horror stories that I hear about other law schools doesn't really happen here either. Most 1Ls I've talked to genuinely enjoy being here (as much as someone can enjoy 1L I guess).
But that being said, the Dean and the new admissions director are both East Coast folk, with desires to turn UCLA into a powerhouse of the East Coast variety. The new admissions guy was the former head of admissions at numbers-heavy Cardozo, the "up and coming" NY school (or so they claim). As a result, I predict that UCLA will move to a harder "GPA+LSAT" model from its current reputation about caring for soft factors and also move to admit more Ivy League undergrads.
-Teaching quality: With few exceptions, I've genuinely been impressed by the quality of the faculty. A lot of them like to teach and like being at UCLA, and it shows. People like Yeazell and Volokh could probably get a gig at any school in the country, but choose to remain here because they like it.
-Location: Westwood, and not Watts, Hyde Park, Morningside Heights, or West Philly. Enough said.
-Weather: 75 in January and not -20 windchills.
-Best law school in Southern California: you're set if California is where you want to practice.
-Campus is beautiful
-Cheap: It is a state school, and unlike other state schools, even out of staters can become residents after 1L, so it's the equivalent to an automatic 30K scholarship for in staters/20K scholarship for non-residents over three years.
-State school: Being comparatively less well-endowed than other peer law schools, there is definitely less money to go around. I won't say that academically the school suffers, but facilities wise, the school is not as shiny and fancy as other law schools.
-Little public transport and needing to drive and be stuck in traffic everywhere.
-Probably not the place if you're looking to be a law professor, a SCOTUS or COA judge, or if your definition of success is measured by an offer from a V5 firm.
-Lack of diversity because of Prop 209.
There you have it. Email me if you have more preguntas.