Why UCI Law?

Students reflect on their choice to attend UCI Law.

Jonathan Markovitz
J.D. Candidate 2014, UCI Law

I was initially drawn to UCI Law because of its emphasis on public interest law, the seriousness with which it seemed to take the pro bono responsibili-ties of the profession, the strength and interests of the faculty, and the glowing reports about the school that I had seen in the mass media. But I was not sure that I was ready to move on from academia. (I taught sociology, communication, and ethnic studies as an adjunct at UCSD, CSU San Marcos, and other area colleges for over a decade before starting law school). But then I visited the campus this spring, first to sit in on Dean Chemerinky’s Constitutional Law class, and then for Admitted Students’ Day a few days later. The quality of the discussion in the Con Law class impressed me, as students and the dean addressed a variety of issues with depth and complexity, and in an atmosphere that seemed genuinely warm and supportive. I knew then that my studies at UCI Law would be intellectually stimulating and rewarding. Meeting students, staff, and faculty later that day and at Admitted Students’ Day, and learning more about the kinds of work that so many people at the school were doing, only confirmed my sense that this was a special place, and that I had an op-portunity I could not pass up.

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Anna Bennett
J.D. Candidate 2014, UCI Law

I chose UCI Law because it dares to “reinvent the wheel.” The field of law is not a static, fixed entity. I believe that legal scholars who treat the law as such are doomed to the musty, yellowed corners of scholarly tomes and are perpetually looking to the past, rather than to the future. The law is a living, breathing being, constantly challenged to evolve in our ever-changing world. While we do owe respect and acknowl-edgement to the law of the past, we must give way to the changing of times and choose to evolve with it.

UCI Law dares to be different. It has the guts to say that the status quo is not the best we can do, and in fact, the possibilities for what legal scholarship could look like are endless. Our school is a bold institution that challenges time-honored practice and dares to ask if there might be a better way to learn to practice the law.

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Leah Gasser-Ordaz
J.D. Candidate 2014, UCI Law

The biggest decisions I have made in my life have less to do with what I thought I wanted, and more to do with where my intuitions have guided me. When something feels right, I just know it in my gut and I act. That is how I felt about UCI Law. In contrast to my family’s feeling that going to UCI Law would be “going a little rogue,” I felt it was exactly in line with where I wanted to end up. There is an opportunity to build something new from the ground up, an emphasis on public service, and a strong commitment to integrity, mutual respect, and camaraderie at UCI Law that I know I would never get anywhere else. Now that I am here, I know I was right to choose UCI Law. Not that I ever doubted my intuition!

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Mimi Ahn
J.D. Candidate 2014, UCI Law

I can honestly say that I chose UCI Law for purely selfish reasons. I knew UCI Law would cater to my specific needs and wants as both a student and an individual. I knew that UCI Law would provide me an education equally matched to that of other top law schools. Last but certainly not least, I knew that UCI Law, as a new school, would listen to my ideas and allow me discretion in the course of pursuing my legal education. Once I realized all this, it was impossible not to chose UCI Law. I chose UCI Law because during orientation, I could tell the greatness the school will achieve from the faculty and existing students. I did not want to miss out on an opportuni-ty to be a part of that legacy.

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Raj Shukla
J.D. Candidate 2014, UCI Law


I chose UCI Law due to its growth potential, and for the chance to shape and be a part of a dynamic institution within the greater UC system. The class statistics as well as those of the faculty and staff, in addition to the location, were strong supporting factors. The scholarship award was the icing on the cake, but of secondary or tertiary consideration.

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Nicholas George
J.D. Candidate 2014, UCI Law


When I left UCI Law’s admitted student’s day, I thought, “Wow, this school talks a big talk, but if they can deliver on half the things advertised, I’ll be impressed.” After further researching UCI Law as well as checking out other schools, doubts were quenched, as the facts were undeniable. UCI Law possesses great professors, who not only have impact on the academic aspect of the law, but also care about their students and create an environment conducive to learning. The student body is intelligent, diverse, and most importantly, friendly. Lastly, the school’s Dean Chemerinsky is one of the most intelligent and respected legal minds in the United States. For a school that talks such a big talk, the Dean, faculty, and students, all walk the walk. Hence my choice was easy; UCI Law is the school for me.

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Shaleen Shanbhag
J.D. Candidate 2014, UCI Law


Because of the sense of community and camaraderie. I wanted to be part of the process of building a new type of law school, where students are encouraged to participate outside of the classroom and contribute to the culture and legacy of the school.

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Stephen Cho
J.D. Candidate 2013, UCI Law


I initially heard of UCI Law through rumors that circulated during my first admissions season about the unprec-edented offer of a free ride to its entire first class. UCI Law’s unique position as a new school presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to help shape the legacy of this school and the future of the legal industry in Orange County. Although I had heard so much about the outstanding faculty and high-caliber students, this opportunity offered a unique avenue for me to return home and help shape a brand new school. The single most important factor, besides this ability, was the interactions that I experienced with the people I met. Ever since my initial tour with the administration, and my initial meeting with students from the DFEH Clinic, the incredible energy and spirit of the institution were visible everywhere. Coupled together, the choice to come to Irvine became a simple one and after my first three weeks of school, I am more convinced that I made the right decision. I am so thrilled at this opportunity and look forward to making new memories and lasting relationships with my new classmates.

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Renee Amador
J.D. Candidate 2014, UCI Law

Why UCI Law? Because even when I am totally exhausted and do not want to read anymore and feel like I do not understand 85% of what I am learn-ing yet, my motivation to keep working does not just come from the incentive of a J.D. in three years. My motivation comes from my classmates and my pro-fessors and my knowledge of what UCI Law can really offer me. Even within three weeks, I already have such respect for my classmates. They are intelligent, insightful, supportive, and keep me entertained after long library hours. The faculty are conscientious, challenging, passionate, and kind. I have a duty not only to myself, but to the people around me to do the best job that I can and soak up everything about this experience. UCI Law holds me accountable to a higher standard of success as a law student and as a person.

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Hagop Boyaci
J.D. Candidate 2014, UCI Law

Its innovative curriculum: Law schools across the country have emphasized theory and doctrine for decades but have failed in adequately evolving their curriculum to prepare their graduates for the legal profession. UCI Law is only among a handful of schools that emphasizes experiential learning. If medical schools require their students to see patients, why should law schools not hold their students to the same standard?

The atmosphere: Whenever I am asked how my first year is going, my response is, “Being a 1L is dreadful, but if I had to be it anywhere, I am so glad it’s at UCI Law.” Everyone—the staff, faculty, and student body—have made a tremendous effort to create such a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. Small class size: The student body at UCI Law has been presented with opportunities students at other law schools could only dream about. Each student is going to play an integral role in the shaping and future of the law school —our success depends on it. Most importantly, the attention and care we receive from the faculty and staff is unparalleled to any other law school in the country.
So the question does not remain “Why UCI Law?” but rather “Why not UCI Law?”