The American Bar Association Law Student Division (ABA/LSD) is an organization that exists to serve you. Your student membership in the American Bar Association will keep you up-to-date on information that affects you and the ever-changing legal field. Most importantly, being a part of the world's largest professional organization offers you access to an important network of professional contacts and resources that will prove invaluable to you throughout law school and your career. Early membership in the ABA exponentially increases your opportunity to create a foundation on which to build your career. With 40 sections, divisions, and forums concentrating on distinct areas of the law, a wealth of specialized information and contacts is at your fingertips.
Applications for membership in the American Bar Association/Law Student Division (ABA/LSD) will be available to first-year students during the summer. The annual membership fee is only $25. Among the benefits immediately available to you as a member of the ABA/LSD are a free subscriptions to the ABA Journal and Student Lawyer; discounted section memberships, including pertinent publications; networking opportunities with prominent members of the legal profession; bar review course discounts; optional medical insurance and ABA-logo no fee Visa and MasterCard; and hotel and car rental discounts. Student members also receive their first year of ABA membership following graduation FREE! For more information, contact the ABA/LSD Representative in the Student Bar Association (SBA) Office.
ACADEMIC SUCCESS AND WRITING CENTER
Southwestern is committed to providing all students with a quality legal education, as well as ensuring that all students are given every opportunity to succeed. There are a myriad of programs and resources to help students successfully navigate the maze of law school.
Students can obtain help through the Academic Success Program and the Writing Center on anything from exam preparation strategies to effective cover letters. The Academic Success Program includes individual and small group academic assistance. The Writing Center is available to all Southwestern law students who want to strengthen their legal writing skills.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, BULLETIN BOARDS AND VIDEO DISPLAYS
The Dean's announcements are posted in the glass-enclosed case in the first floor lobby of Westmoreland building. Career Services announcements are posted outside their office on the third floor of the Westmoreland Building; Dean of Students, Financial Aid, and Registration and Academic Records announcements are posted in the glass-enclosed cases in W102; Externship announcements are posted outside W231; and Student Affairs announcement appear outside W233. Please refer to them periodically for up-to-date information.
Students are also urged to review all bulletin boards located between elevators, in the stairwells and on the second floor outside the SBA and student honors program offices of the Westmoreland Building, and other bulletin boards throughout the law school. Video monitors displaying important notices are located in the lobbies of both building and in the Tea Room.
The books required for all first-year students will be available for purchase and rental in the Southwestern Bookstore (located on the lower level of the Westmoreland Building) prior to the beginning of the semester. Textbooks may also be purchased online. During the academic year, the hours are:
Regular Bookstore hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., and Fridays, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. The bookstore is open the Saturday before and after the first week of classes from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. During the summer, the Bookstore operates on limited hours - please see the website for more details. For more information, please contact the Bookstore at (213) 738-6736 or email the store manager.
COMMITTEE OF BAR EXAMINERS
Students must register as a law student with the Committee of Bar Examiners within ninety (90) days after commencing the study of law. The "Registration as a Law Student" application may be accessed at www.calbar.org and must be submitted directly to the Bar Admissions Section of the State Bar of California.
The Dean of Students and Diversity Affairs Office is responsible for coordinating accommodations for students with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state and local requirements. For further information, please refer to the Disability Policy, as printed in Southwestern's Student Handbook. Those requiring accommodations for a disability should contact the Disability Specialist at (213) 738-6888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Southwestern email account is established for each new student upon acceptance. Account information is emailed to the student at that time and questions may be directed to the Admissions Office (once school starts, questions should be directed to the Computer Lab). Note: Your Southwestern email is the official form of electronic communication on campus. Students are required to check their email accounts regularly. It is recommended that students only use their Southwestern email addresses for school-related matters in order to protect accounts from spam. Additional information on computing services is available on(log-in required) or in the Computer Lab (on the first floor of the library).
ExamSoft's SofTest Flexsite is a program that provides students with the ability to take exams on their laptop computers. It is used by many law schools across the country and several state Bars, including California and Nevada. Although ExamSoft is highly recommended, students are not required to use this option. Please note that SofTest is compatible with Windows Operating Systems and the Mac Operating Systems (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion), or 10.8 (Mountain Lion). Apple's new MAC OS X Mavericks is not compatible with ExamSoft at this time, and Southwestern does not support ExamSoft for iPads. Students can find more detailed ExamSoft information on(log-in required).
FIRST READING ASSIGNMENTS, SYLLABI AND BOOKLISTS
Information regarding first reading assignments, syllabi, and required course materials and textbooks will be available on MySouthwestern prior to the start of school. Students may purchase the printed materials for courses in the Print Shop, located in the lower level of the Bullocks Wilshire Building.
FIRST-YEAR ACADEMIC SKILLS PROGRAM
Southwestern offers as part of its first-year curriculum a 1-credit course called Academic Skills Lab. These Labs are tied to Criminal Law for all day sections and to Torts for the evening section. The primary goal of the Labs are to help students adopt learning strategies and study habits in their first year of law school that will lead to academic success, both in law school and on the bar examination. These skills include:
- The ability to manage time and stress;
- The ability to take proper notes during class;
- The ability to read and understand information (reading and briefing);
- The ability to synthesize, process and organize large volumes of information (note-taking, regular review of their materials, outlining, flow-charting); and
- The ability to demonstrate knowledge by applying this information in an organized and analytical fashion (exam-writing and exam-taking).
Food service is available in the Tea Room, on the fifth floor of the Bullocks Wilshire Building. During the academic year, food service is provided Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Hours are limited during the summer and holiday periods. Vending machines are located on the lower levels of the Westmoreland and Bullocks Wilshire buildings in the student lounges.
Southwestern is committed to providing an environment that fosters academic excellence and personal success. An important aspect of that mission is ensuring the physical and mental well-being of our students. In furtherance of this goal, Southwestern now offers a Student Health Insurance Plan, with affordable coverage that is accessible to all students regardless of a previous condition and continues through the bar exam for graduating students. Click here for more information. If you have any questions about the Student Health Insurance Plan, please contact Robert Mena, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.
HELPNET ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Southwestern provides all students with the counseling services of the private consulting firm HelpNet. Through HelpNet, students have access to professional counseling services and community resources for problems related to relationship, career, and academic stress; alcohol and drug abuse; and family, financial, and legal problems. Students are entitled to a maximum of two free counseling sessions per academic year running from July 1 through June 30. Additional information concerning HelpNet will be provided at Orientation. The toll-free hotline is 1-800-HELPNET. Brochures are also available in the Dean of Students Office.
INTRODUCTION TO LEGAL PROCESS AND LAWS WEEK
Introduction to Legal Process (ILP) begins immediately after Orientation and focuses on preparing incoming students for success in all of their courses as well as their professional development. It covers a range of topics including time management, study skills, student engagement and professors’ expectations. Faculty includes the administrators, civil procedure professors and the Co-Directors of Academic Success.
The Legal Analysis, Writing and Skills (LAWS) course is a year-long graded course designed help you develop and practice analytical thinking, research, writing, and other professional skills that are necessary to practicing attorneys. Specific topics covered in the course include career planning, analysis of court opinions and statutes, research strategies and tools, clear and concise writing, effective organization of written legal analyses, the purpose and audience of legal research memoranda, persuasive writing, and oral advocacy. The course starts in advance of your other courses and concludes early, before Thanksgiving break.
Although students are currently not required to own laptops, many students elect to use them in class. Most of Southwestern's classrooms have power outlets at every desk for convenient classroom use, and secure wireless internet access is available throughout campus. To connect to the wireless network, laptops must meet the general requirements detailed on MySouthwestern (log-in required). The initial connection by each laptop and mobile device requires authentication with a Southwestern email username and password.
Students may purchase parking online through MySouthwestern after they have registered for classes. Complete parking information is available online.
A photo for the Southwestern ID will be taken during Orientation and will be available for pick up the next day. This ID must be carried at all times on campus; it is the access card into the Bullocks Wilshire and Westmoreland main entrances, parking structure, Law Library and Fitness Center. The access card also provides entry to The Residences at 7th parking and pedestrian gates (for residents). Questions may also be directed to the Administrative Services Office. The entrance to the parking lot is on Wilshire Place, just north of 7th Street (see directions).
PEER MENTOR PROGRAM
The guidance and support that first-year students get from their peers is invaluable. The Peer Mentor Program (PMP) serves as a resource to support the professional and personal development of incoming first-year students. Peer Mentors are hand-selected, upper-division students whose role is to assist in fostering student development through mentorship, and introduce students to campus and guidance resources at Southwestern. Each first-year student will be assigned to a Peer Mentor, who is trained to give guidance counseling and who are committed to helping students shape their first-year experience. The main goal of the Peer Mentor Program is to provide support by helping students navigate through their first year of law school, directing them to the right resources, socially or academically, and to ensure each student is creating a great law school experience, starting with their first year.
REGISTRATION AND WEBADVISOR
Online registration will be available in mid-May/early-June, and students will then be able to register through WebAdvisor, which can be accessed on the Entering Student Portal. An email regarding registration information and instructions will go out before online registration begins.
WebAdvisor is the interface within the portal that allows students to view information, such as course schedules, grades and unofficial Southwestern transcripts, as well as submit address changes, change Student Directory Listing preferences, purchase parking and submit payments. Details on WebAdvisor and its full-line of features are available by clicking the "WebAdvisor Info" tab (second tab on the WebAdvisor module) on the portal.
The Student Directory, which includes contact information for all Southwestern students, is available as online. Students who have elected to be included in the Student Directory should ensure that their information is current. This information may be updated through WebAdvisor (see category above: Address Change).
All students will be given a copy of the Student Handbook at the start of school. The Student Handbook outlines Southwestern's academic policies and other pertinent information. Each student is responsible for its contents.
STUDENT LOAN DEFERMENT PROCESSING
Southwestern Law School participates in the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) located in Herndon, Virginia. Three times a semester, or SCALE® period, Southwestern submits enrollment status of students who receive financial aid to the Clearinghouse which, in turn, supplies verification of enrollment to lending agencies. All Stafford/GSL/Pekins/GradPLUS loan deferment forms submitted to the Registration and Academic Records Office will be forwarded to the NSC for processing. All other loan deferment forms are completed by the Registration Office.
The Clearinghouse asks that if a student receives a collection letter from a servicer, the student should do the following:
- Call the lending agency to see if a deferment form was received between the time the Clearinghouse supplied the information and the lending agency sent the collection letter.
- If, after calling the servicer, it still appears that the deferment has not been processed, the student may call the Clearinghouse at (703) 742-7791, and ask for a Student Service Representative. The representative will verify the date on which the deferment form was received by the Clearinghouse, the date the deferment was certified and mailed, the enrollment status that was certified, and where the forms were sent.
- If an emergency exists, and the student is being threatened with default, the Clearinghouse will intervene on the student's behalf by faxing another deferment to the servicer. Further, the Clearinghouse will work with the servicer to ensure that the form is processed on a high priority basis.
STUDENT SERVICES FEE
Southwestern has a Student Services Fee, which encompasses many fees associated with improving Southwestern's facilities and services for our students. The non-refundable Student Services Fee will be charged upon registration and automatically billed to each student's account.