Looking Beyond the Rankings

Charles (Chris) Hayes, ’15 (JD), graduated from USD School of Law in May 2015 and passed the July 2015 California Bar Exam. Before law school, Hayes studied English at Stanford University and spent one year with the Stanford in Oxford Program at the University of Oxford. He graduated in the top 5% of his class and is now a law clerk for the Honorable Thomas J. Whelan, ’65 (JD), of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Though Hayes was accepted to higher-ranked law schools, he turned them down to go to USD. “It was the best decision I could have made for my career,” says Hayes. When acknowledging that prospective students often make decisions determined solely on rankings, he adds, “I think that’s a mistake.”

Hayes credits the accomplished faculty at USD for supporting him and helping him improve. He also notes that the sunny, warm weather allowed him to swim every morning, which helped with exams and bar prep. Mostly though, Hayes knew he wanted to build a career in San Diego. “San Diego isn’t just the perfect climate to study law, it’s the perfect climate to practice law.” USD School of Law’s world-class professors, regional dominance, and strong alumni network made the school an obvious choice.

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Chris Hayes