Message from the Dean

These are challenging times for students considering law school. Many are questioning the value of a law degree, especially given the high costs of tuition and the uncertain employment prospects facing law school graduates. Despite these challenges and questions, I firmly believe that a legal education is a valuable investment that will serve you well throughout your life. At the University of San Diego School of Law, we will provide you with an excellent legal education, one that combines academic rigor with hands-on, practical experience, and that will prepare you for success.

USD School of Law's faculty, who rank among the nation's top law school faculties in their scholarly achievements, are also committed teachers and mentors. Our newest faculty appointments include:

  • Noted tax specialists Professor Miranda Fleischer and Professor Victor Fleischer, who will be joining our faculty in August 2013.
  • Professor Howard Abrams, another tax specialist, who will join our faculty as Warren Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of Tax Programs in August 2014, after spending a year as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School.
  • Horacio Spector, formerly provost and dean of the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella law school in Buenos Aires, who will be joining our faculty in spring 2014 to teach courses in the areas of Latin American and international law and jurisprudence, legal theory and law and economics.
  • Professor Sharmila (Mila) Sohoni, joining our full-time faculty this year, who will be teaching civil procedure and a seminar on the legislative process.
  • Professor Dov Fox, joining our full-time faculty this fall, who will be offering seminars on bioethics and health law issues.

Visiting faculty for 2013-14 include Jody Freeman, Archibald Cox Professor of Law at Harvard University who will return to USD in spring 2013 as the Stanley Legro Professor in Environmental Law. Among our new course offerings next year will be an advanced constitutional law course, Sexual Orientation and the Law, taught by Professor Miranda McGowan, an advanced torts class on Product Liability taught by Adjunct Professor Vickie Turner, and an Estate Planning Seminar, taught by Visiting Professor Adam Hirsch. Our students can also take cross-listed courses, including new courses in International Human Rights, taught by Professor Dustin Sharp of the School of Peace Studies, and Sexual Equality, co-taught by Professor Lori Watson of the Philosophy Department and Professor Catharine A. MacKinnon, Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan.

Complementing the law school's rich academic curriculum is a range of programs, centers, clinics and institutes that are unequaled in providing our students with opportunities to gain hands-on, practical legal experience. You will be able to learn written and oral advocacy skills through our Appellate Moot Court program or our National Mock Trial Team, which has been selected as one of the top in the Ninth Federal Judicial Circuit for the past 20 years. If your interest is in business law, you can compete in the National Transactional Law Meet, if it is in commercial arbitration, join the Vis Moot Arbitration Team (VICAM) and participate in their international competitions in Hong Kong or Vienna. At our nationally recognized Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL), you can focus on the study of administrative law and state regulatory agencies. Our 12 client-focused legal clinics will enable you to provide legal assistance to low-income individuals and families or to veterans in disputes over their GI bill and other benefits. Business-oriented students can gain direct hands-on experience through participating in our Technology Entrepreneurship Clinic, the Intellectual Property Law Clinic or the Corporate Counsel Internship Program. Other specialized programs include the Children's Advocacy Institute (CAI), the Energy Policy Initiatives Center (EPIC), the Center for Intellectual Property Law & Markets and the Center for Corporate and Securities Law, all of which provide research or advocacy opportunities for our students.

At a time when many law schools are being forced by budgetary constraints to trim their programs, we are committed to expanding programs to provide educational benefits for our students and job prospects for our graduates. In spring 2013, we launched our Washington DC Externship Program, which enables students to spend a full semester working in a government or public interest agency in our nation's capital, where job opportunities remain plentiful. We have also expanded our international student-faculty exchange programs and now have exchange programs with eight leading law schools in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. These, in addition to our four summer study abroad programs, give our students unparalleled opportunities to qualify for positions in the expanding global legal marketplace.

During the years I served as a hiring and managing partner in the San Diego office of national law firms, I developed a high regard for USD School of Law and its graduates. I found that USD-educated attorneys often stood out among their peers for their eagerness to learn, drive to succeed and willingness to work hard. In a recent study, USD achieved an impressive ranking in the number of partners in major law firms, especially (but not only) in San Diego. Among our distinguished alumni, there are also nearly 100 sitting judges and numerous government officials. These include our 2012 Commencement speaker, Representative David E. Camp '78 (R-Michigan), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, our 2013 Commencement speaker, former Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court Michael Streit "75, winner of the 2012 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, and the 2013 recipient of the Author E. Hughes Career Achievement Award, San Diego City Attorney, Jan Goldsmith '76. USD School of Law's growing reputation will open doors for you throughout the United States and our active and enthusiastic alumni network will actively assist and support you as you pursue your legal careers.

Whenever I meet prospective or new law students, I am energized by their enthusiasm and the dreams and ambitions that make them want to come to law school. I also am unhesitant in encouraging them to come to USD. I invite you to learn more about USD School of Law, first by using this website and then by coming to visit. When you do, you will find out more about why I am so enthusiastic about being dean and why I believe this is such a great place to be a law student and to prepare for a successful career as a lawyer.

Thank you for your interest in USD School of Law,

Stephen C. Ferruolo
Dean and Professor of Law


Office of the Dean
Warren Hall, Room 201
Phone: (619) 260-4527

Dean Ferroulo in Grace Courtroom