King Hall on Top-Law-Schools.com
Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, Sep 8, 2009
If you're a prospective or current law student, you've no doubt heard of Top-Law-Schools.com. The site, commonly referred to as TLS, offers articles, advice for law school applicants, and exclusive interviews with law school deans - and the latest interview is with me! Whether you're an applicant or longtime member of the King Hall community, I encourage you to check it out and learn more about what lies in the future for UC Davis School of Law. Here are a few excerpts:
TLS: Can you offer any general advice to TLS members on succeeding in the law school application process, while in law school, and in their legal careers?
Dean Johnson: In the application process: Success in the law school admission process is much easier if you create a solid foundation for your success as an undergraduate. So if you're considering law school, maximize your grades and LSAT score. Hone your reading and writing skills. Learn what law school and legal practice are about. If you have the chance, work or volunteer in a legal setting so you have an idea of what you're getting into - and whether it might be a good career fit for you.
While in law school: Go to class. Have an open mind. Work hard - really hard. But try to achieve some balance between school and life. Act professionally and ethically at all times. Keep in mind that the relationships that you establish with faculty, students, staff, and administrators will be with you throughout your legal careers - the impressions that you leave are important ones that will follow you professionally.
In a legal career: The importance of professionalism and ethics has come up often in my discussions this summer with the managing partners of major law firms. Partners and recruiters were impressed with new associates' enthusiasm and intelligence. In their view, some junior associates, however, made a bad impression when they failed to dress professionally, engaged in personal internet use (including Facebook, e-mails, and text messages) on firm time, and did not accept constructive criticism well. My advice? Be professional at all times. Stay positive. Respect the law firm's rules. Take constructive criticism and learn from it.
TLS: Do you have any goals for the law school to achieve in the next 5 to 10 years - either large scale or small?
Dean Johnson: Our main objective is to keep building on our excellence and to get the word out from those "in the know" to everyone.
By many measures and in many ratings, we are regarded in the top 25 schools in the country. One goal would be to continue to improve the overall excellence of the intellectual quality and diversity of the student body and faculty. We want that to be obvious in any credible ranking. We want to be in a position to be consistently in the top 25 in all rankings, not just some.
We also want to keep connecting our scholarly endeavors with the real world. It is our goal to produce scholarship and leaders for government, private and non-profit sectors and policymakers who can ably navigate this new challenging legal world. In essence, we aim to make a difference.
TLS: What do you think students enjoy most about King Hall?
Dean Johnson: Students at UC Davis School of Law simply like studying law here. They enjoy their classes and they enjoy each other. They like the intellectual seriousness of the place and the camaraderie with other students, faculty, and staff.
Phrases that often come up when you talk to King Hall students and alums include: "intellectually rigorous," "a sense of community," "warm environment," "accessible and open." Talk to any alum of UC Davis School of Law and they will tell you about what I call the "King Hall difference," a true law school community dedicated to excellence and support for students. Unlike the alums of many other law schools, UC Davis alums look back fondly on their days here. This makes my job as a dean reaching out to alumni much easier than if, as is the case at many law schools, the student experience was negative, and law school memories are as well.
The full interview is long, but I hope readers find it informative and learn about all the extraordinary things going on at King Hall. Read the full interview here: http://www.top-law-schools.com/kevin-johnson-interview.html
Thanks to TLS founder Ken DeLeon for the opportunity to participate. I look forward to providing more content for TLS in the future!