Valerie Phan '15 (JD)

Valerie Phan on campus

More than just legal education

Legal interests: Civil litigation, international law, criminal law
Bachelor's degree: BA in Political Science, Chapman University, 2008
Hometown: Glendale, Calif.
Dream job: In-house counsel for an entertainment company or a company that does business internationally
Quote: USD will provide you with more than just a legal education; the administration, faculty, alumni, and students will also support and guide your ambitions, whatever they may be.

  1. Q: What made you decide to come to USD School of Law?
    A: USD was one of my top choices for law schools. I ultimately chose USD School of Law after attending an admitted student and alumni mixer. It stood out to me that all of the alumni consistently endorsed USD as a competitive but not cutthroat school. Additionally, the alumni came from various legal practice areas and mentioned the extensive alumni network that was willing to mentor and support USD law students.
  2. Q: During your first week here, what was one of the first things that impressed you?
    A: During my first week, I was impressed with the support offered by both current students and the administration. The Center for Academic Success and the JD Office of Student Affairs were excellent resources.
  3. Q: What activities have you been involved in at USD School of Law?
    A: I am a member of the International Law Society, Business Law Society, Diversity Committee, and the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association. I have been a bailiff for the Paul A. McLennon, Sr., Honors Moot Court Competition, and I was elected to the Honor Court. I also play right field for "Torts Illustrated," one of the intramural softball teams.
  4. Q: How hard is law school? Is it more or less work than you thought?
    A: Law school is as difficult as you make it. It is a little more work than I initially thought, but that is partly because I took about four years off after I graduated from college.
  5. Q: What is the best thing that has happened to you at USD?
    A: As a certified legal intern for the Small Claims Clinic, I argued and won my first case in the San Diego Superior Court.
  6. Q: What is some of your previous professional experience? How did that experience help you decide to go to law school?
    A: I have had a lot of work experience; I have worked in hospitality, retail sales, and financial banking and lending. My favorite job (thus far) was working for a bungee jumping company in New Zealand. I knew I wanted to be an attorney at a young age, and these work experiences helped develop my interpersonal and persuasive skills, which are very important in law school.
  7. Q: What advice would you give to a prospective student? What things might you have done differently?
    A: I would advise a prospective student to take the time to research the specialties and other academic programs at their potential schools—especially if they have an idea of what practice area they want to pursue. Physically visit the campus, sit in on a class, and talk to the students and faculty. The best way to get a sense of whether a learning environment will be compatible with your learning style is to experience it in person. One thing I would have done differently is I would have taken the February LSAT. I took the June LSAT and because I decided to retake the test, I had to take the October LSAT and had to delay my applications.