First, recall what we said in response to the previous question and the overarching statement above about ours being a holistic review process. We attempt to put all of the pieces together in order to have a sense of the whole person. There is no work or internship requirement. But if you have worked or been involved in an internship, you should certainly include that information. It will be considered along with all of your other information. At the same time, applicants will not suffer disadvantage because they do not have work/internship experience. As with everything else, it is considered as a part of the whole.
5. What sets you apart from other schools? What can students gain from your school that they might not be able to find anywhere else?
There are a number of things that set us apart from other schools, but we should begin by saying that UC Davis School of Law is known for its humane and intellectual community that is deeply committed to academic excellence. Ask our alumni about the school, and they will invariably mention the people who comprise the law school, and the collaborative yet inquisitive spirit.
Because we are a relatively small law school, students get to know the faculty, staff, and each other quite well. When students walk into the financial aid office, for example, they will find a staff member who knows who they are, and they won't have to wait in line to speak with someone who can answer their questions. If students want to remain after class to speak with a professor or visit his or her office, they know that is encouraged. If a person is absent from class, other students will offer their notes. Every student is given a key to King Hall (the law school building named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), allowing access to the facilities around the clock— unheard of at any other law school in the United States. This sense of community is part of what makes UC Davis School of Law unique and enhances greatly the opportunity for students to take advantage of the excellent legal education available to them.
Another characteristic that sets our school apart is the outstanding faculty members who are nationally and internationally leading scholars in their fields. If you look at how often and where they publish their scholarship, and how often that scholarship is cited by others in the legal field, this scholarly leadership becomes apparent. But unlike many leading scholars at other top law schools, they also pride themselves on being outstanding teachers. They are approachable and realize that in addition to influencing the world with their ideas, their job is the training and nurturing of future lawyers and leaders. Indeed, for the UC Davis faculty, cutting-edge scholarship and the inculcation of skills and knowledge to students go hand in hand. We are extremely proud of our unusually accessible and dedicated faculty.
Finally, we should mention the fact that we are located on the campus of a major research university located in an extremely livable college town. The opportunities to enhance one's legal education by taking classes in other departments of the university, pursuing a joint degree, participating in various campus activities or simply utilizing the facilities of the campus are all very important to obtaining a well-rounded education. The city of Davis is a wonderful place to live. World-class speakers and entertainment are available on campus on a regular basis, allowing a sometimes much-needed respite from academia. The campus is beautiful, tranquil and conducive to immersing oneself in and focusing on the law. We are very close to the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe and the cultural and economic offerings of San Francisco, and the vibrant political atmosphere of the state capital of Sacramento is next door.
6. What do you look for in recommendation letters? How important is it that the letter's writer has worked regularly with the candidate in an office or school setting? Do you put much weight on letters from prominent public figures who may not know the applicant well?